Last season Bourdain traveled everywhere from the French Alps to Singapore, Lagos to Seattle, and still had time to make a trailer for the grind house film you never knew you wanted. Before the start of Season 11 we want to take a look back at all the #foodporn, epic skiing fails, and deep conversations that made Season 10 one of our favorite seasons so far. Here is your Season 10 recap of both the episodes and the Explore Parts Unknown stories from each destination.
Bourdain heads to the hawker stalls for Singapore’s signature mix of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine. The main topic of conversation with locals? How (and why) they trade their civil liberties for prosperity and stability. Also, he can’t believe his dining companions don’t know how to do their own laundry.
Among our favorite pieces on Explore Parts Unknown: a deep dive into a family of Singaporean farmers who ply a rare trade for a country that imports more than 90 percent of its food. Singapore native Kirsten Han asks whether young Singaporeans will take up the baton as a generation of hawkers prepare for retirement. And don’t forget Han’s advice for the perfect day in Singapore, touring the city and eating only the best foods. (Pro tip: Wear some stretchy pants.)
The French Alps:
Bourdain and his BFF Eric Ripert take to the slopes of Chamonix for Ripert’s revenge. Along the way they sample local delicacies (remember that crazy steamed potato dish?) and make an alpine wager on whether or not Bourdain can *actually* milk a cow.
There’s far more to learn about Chamonix, though, on Explore Parts Unknown. Meet the local families who host newly arrived migrants despite the risk of being arrested for doing so. Spend a day with the cheesemongers who make the rare and tasty Beaufort Chalet d’Alpage. And even though Bourdain is not a fan of the art form, have a listen to the various yodels of Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and France. Aside from being cheese heaven, Chamonix is pretty picturesque, so any day there, winter or summer, is pretty perfect.
Bourdain spends time exploring the many facets of Nigeria’s deeply fragmented megacity, including food, religion, and, most evident in this episode, some very righteous music.
On Explore Parts Unknown, read up on the legacy of Nigeria’s Biafran War, the birth of the menacing (or misunderstood?) Area Boys, and a damn good recipe for jollof rice. If the city that *actually* never sleeps hasn’t tired you out, head to the morning fish market at the Makoko waterfront. Bonus: We talk with Berkely “Ike” Jones, one of the creators of Nigeria’s psychedelic-rock movement, about how he came up with the idea for Blo’s trippy hit “Chant to Mother Earth.”
Bourdain explores the Steel City’s melting-pot history but also digs into local wrestling culture (after admitting he’s a fan of WWE?!) and spends a Saturday night at the demolition derby.
Here’s what Explore Parts Unknown can tell you about Pittsburgh: You can eat the entire world—or at least try the momos at Everest Ethnic Restaurant. Did you know the bittersweet history behind the Civic Arena? Regardless, there’s a lot of learning to be had from these iconic images of the city photographed by Elliott Erwitt in its industrial heyday. Hot take: What would really make your day in Pittsburgh perfect is taking a ride on the Duquesne incline, one of the last incline railways in the city.
Before Hurricane Maria, Bourdain takes a trip to learn more about Puerto Rico’s complicated past and politics as well as to eat local favorites: slow-roasted pork at a classic lechonera along with corn fritters and gandinga.
Explore Parts Unknown catches up with Finca Conciencia owner Ana Elisa Pérez Quintero and teacher Liza Fournier Córdova about rebuilding after Hurricane Maria. We also speak to chef Jose Enrique about cooking sancocho for thousands of people before help arrived and to chef José Andres about his evolution from cook to catalyst for first-response change on the island.
Bourdain finally takes the train from Colombo to Jaffna in an effort to understand Sri Lanka’s complex history and how Sri Lankans are still coming to terms with the consequences of their country’s civil war. Oh yeah, and he eats Jaffna crab curry. Lots and lots of crab curry.
For all you need to know about what’s behind the episode, read our firsthand account of the country’s violent past, spend a perfect day in Colombo, and check out our guide to Sri Lankan cuisine (including a history of the ubiquitous lamprais).
Bourdain tours the Emerald City with musician Mark Lanegan (the rock legend who co-wrote the show’s theme song), samples some grade-A kush, and gets a face full of flash-fried local smelt at Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar.
This destination on Explore Parts Unknown features one of Bourdain’s all-time favorite pieces: our illustrated guide to rolling a proper joint. After you’re properly lit, stick around to take a look at some of the women who run Seattle’s music scene or go find the city’s best sustainable seafood—or if what you smoked was sativa, you should have the energy to experience a truly perfect day.
Bourdain and Asia Argento travel to the “heel of the boot,” where she teaches him about the spider-obsessed tarantella ceremony, they dodge more local religious festivities, and Bourdain has lunch with Francis Ford Coppola (!!) at the filmmaker’s family estate.
To wrap up the season on Explore Parts Unknown, we find exactly where you should eat when you’re overwhelmed with great options and how you should take on Puglia in one perfect day. We show you how to make pasta like an Italian grandma and tell you why we decided that Godfather III is really worth revisiting.
Season 11 premieres with an extended episode (for the first time ever!!) Sunday, April 29, at 9 p.m. ET on CNN.