Anthony Bourdain has made a career of traveling—and eating his way through—the world. Following tradition, the globetrotting continues with season four of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which kicked off Sunday with a delicious tour of Shanghai.
While lunching at Roy Choi’s pot last week, Bourdain talked about the new season, first trips, controversial storylines, the show’s aesthetic, and storytelling at large. Prepare for a severe case of wanderlust, and some serious food cravings, of course.
This season, Bourdain traveled to (in order of air date): The Bronx, Paraguay, Vietnam, Tanzania, Iran, Massachusetts, and Jamaica. There’s still unexplored terrain for Bourdain, who visited Paraguay and Iran for the first time.
“I got a definite sense that I was somewhere I’d never been, never seen, and knew nothing about,” Bourdain said of Paraguay. “It’s a big blank spot on everybody’s sort of awareness.” The episode will explore the history of Bourdain’s great, great, great grandfather, Paraguayan émigré Jean Bourdain, as well as the culture and local dishes, including bife koygua, bori bori, and sopa paraguaya.
Bourdain expects the Iran episode to be the most controversial of season four. With Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and his wife, Yeganeh Salehi as guides, Bourdain visited Tehran and Isfahan to see sites such as Imam Square and the Borje Milad, and sample foods such as dizi and biryani. [Rezaian was detained in Iran more than two months ago, and according to The Washington Post is being interrogated on unspecified charges. Salehi was reportedly detained at the same time.]
“It will be a very provocative, deeply confusing show,” he said, adding that a lot of the issues touched upon don’t translate as well through television. He also spoke of the way we know Iran geopolitically, and how different the country is when you’re actually there, on the ground. “I’m trying to think of a place we were received more warmly than Iran.” He was at a loss.