A Cook's Tour


A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines is a New York Times bestselling book written by chef and author Anthony Bourdain in 2001. It is Bourdain's account of his world travels — eating exotic local dishes and experiencing life as a native in each country. The book was simultaneously made into a television series featuring Bourdain for the Food Network.

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Episode Description


A Taste of Tokyo

Tony travels to Tokyo where he discovers a radically new cooking attitude with a delicate respect for ingredients. He begins in the Tsujiki market, Tokyo's largest fresh fish market. and then is introduced to the sophisticated techniques involved in preparing edomae sushi. Finally, Tony is introduced to the hefty, yes sophisticated, culinary diets of Sumo wrestlers.


Dining with Geishas

Moving on from Tokyo, Tony decides to look for a more relaxing, traditional Japanese culinary experience in the countryside. Aboard the ultra fast Shinkansan bullet train, Tony travels to an old-style Japanese inn that specializes in kaiseki cuisine, ancient tea ceremony, and local ingredients served by women in traditional geisha attire.


Cobra Heart-Food That Makes You Manly

After taking a cyclo ride through Ho Chi Minh City and trying various foods from roadside vendors and markets, Tony enjoys a unique dining atmosphere where sizzling hot rice cakes fly overhead. Later, Tony tests his might with a few shots of snake wine and a live cobra heart.


Eating on the Mekong

Tony soaks up the intoxicating beauty upriver of Ho Chi Minh City as he samples the wares of the Cai Rang floating market. Further upriver, Tony shares laughs, sings, and drinks a lot of Mekong moonshine with the welcoming owners of a duck farm. Although thoroughly seduced by his Vietnam experience, Tony is not sure the royal dish "Bird's Nest Soup" is all it's cracked up to be.


Wild Delicacies

With a friend along for the ride, Tony travels to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he explores a food culture that is both pleasing to the palette and slightly frightening. Scouring the local outdoor market for delicacies, they experience a sensory overload, finding everything from deep-fried crickets to flourescent Jello-like substances and steaming containers of tripe and tongues.


Eating on the Edge of Nowhere

Taking his obsession with the film Apocalypse Now a little too seriously, Tony sets out of Pailin-reputed to be one of the most dangerous towns on earth. On his journey, Tony experiences nameless waterways, landmine infested roads, unwelcomed guests, and road side delicacies. Arriving in Pailin, Tony realizes the city may be much different than he imagines. After completing his journey in Cambodia, Tony returns to Japan to reacquaint himself with civilization.


Cod Crazy

Portuguese cuisine holds a dear place in Tony's culinary heart. Not only is it the first type of food he learned to love as a young chef, but his boss, Jose Meirelles, hails from Portugal. With Jose, Tony travels to Porto, home of the famous Port wine, where he is immediately exposed to the codfish and the almost mythical place it holds in Portuguese cuisine and culture.


San Sebastian: A Food Lover's Town

In San Sebastian, Spain, Tony explores the food-crazed Basque culture. Tony's guide, Chef Luis Irizar, takes Tony into the exclusively male underworld of Basque gastronomic societies. Later, Tony explores the tapas bars that reflect the city's finest example of everyday Basque delights.


Childhood Flavors

Arcachon, the birthplace of Tony's father, is where Bourdain first learned to love food as a child. Returning for a trip down memory lane, Tony enjoys childhood staples, including steak frites, gaufres (waffles), soupe de pecheur (fisherman's soup) and fresh oysters. Tony's sentimental journey ends with French bread and garlic sausage-a simple tribute to his father.


Stuffed Like a Pig

Visiting his boss's family farm in Portugal, Tony helps slaughter and feast on a pig the family has been fattening all year. Having had enough pork, Tony heads to France to experience the rich delights of a foie gras farm. Finally, Tony revisits Arcachon with his brother Chris, where he attempts to devour a veal's head.


Desert Feast

Chef Tony Bourdain arrives in Morocco with a mission: to eat a roasted sheep in the desert. As Tony journeys through the Sahara, he observes the slaughtering of a sheep, eats meat pies with blue-robed Berber men, rides a camel and, finally, experiences the flavors of mud-oven-roasted sheep.


Traditional Tastes

Tony is invited to experience the culinary heart and distinct walled medinas (districts) of the Moroccan city Fes. Tony's meals revolve around the family's home kitchen, where the cooks show Tony the preparation of the region's most beloved dishes such as pigeon bastilla, cous-cous with steamed vegetables, and a variety of exquisite salads.


The Cook Who Came In From the Cold

Tony plays spy in Russia when he receives instructions to seek out a man holding a torn newspaper in front of St. Isaac's Cathedral. Once contact is made, Tony and his new partner (Zamir Gotta) set off to locate the best blinis and borscht St. Petersburg has to offer, but first the two spies enjoy a country lunch of pickled salads and braised reindeer. Tony concludes his mission with a trip to St. Petersburg Market and a hearty home cooked meal of borscht, meat filled dumplings and large amounts of vodka.


So Much Vodka, So Little Time

Tony continues his mission in Russia with a tour of local working class specialities. The first stop is the frozen Neva River, where he tries his hand at ice-fishing-an exercise in stamina and vodka drinking. Following the workout, Tony feasts on Russian foods, including the rare koulibiak, a baked fish pie formerly eaten by the Czars. After so much food and vodka, Tony takes a break at a Russian bath. He steams, eats smoked fish and ends the outing with a dip in the outdoor cold pool.


Tamales and Iguana, Oaxacan Style

Chef Tony Bourdain explores the exotic and colorful indigenous zone of Mexico's Oaxaca region. Here he tastes toasted grasshoppers, tripe soup and a local red-oil sausage, while observing the making of the regional variation on tamales. His adventure ends with dinner on the street, mariachi music and, of course, lost of tequila.


Puebla, Where the Good Cooks Are From

According to Tony, the best line cooks in NYC come from Mexico, and with this in mind, he travels to the Puebla, the heartland of Mexican cuisine, and enjoys numerous mole sauces, toasted ant eggs, fried worms, and the legendary pulque (a slightly hallucinogenic drink made from cactus sap).


Los Angeles, My Own Heart of Darkness

New York chef, Anthony Bourdain, descends into the culinary underbelly of his metropolitan nemesis, Los Angeles, where he experiences the trials of celebrity fame and the joys of West Coast cuisine.


The French Laundry Experience

Marooned in San Francisco, Tony tastes local shellfish and durian ice cream before embarking on a pilgrimage to experience the genius of Thomas Keller, chef and owner of The French Laundry.


MY Hometown Favorites

Passionate about his city, Tony gives us an intimate tour of the New York City foods he knows and loves-sturgeon and bagels, fluke ceviche, pan-seared foie gras, braised veal cheek, authentic cheese and, of course, a hotdog at Papaya King Frankfurters and Juices.


My Life As a Cook-NYC

Experience the formative moments of Tony's career as he revisits his first job, the culinary institute that taught him the basics, a normal workday at Les Halles Brasserie, and his mysterious mentor, Bigfoot.


Highland Grub

Adventuring to the outer reaches of the United Kingdom, Tony insists that Scotland is a place of extraordinary cuisine. Beginning in Glasgow, Tony experiences the heart-clogging glory of a deep fried pizza, deep fried mars bars, deep fried pickled eggs, and deed fried everything! Moving on to more traditional fare, Tony tastes a classic haggis and learns to hunt and fish for his food.


A Pleasing Palate

Tony lands in London on a mission to dispel the myth that all English food is disgusting and over-boiled. Trying Nose to Tail Eating, Tony enjoys a meal of kid liver salad, whole roasted pig head, grilled ox heart, and breaded pigtails. Tony also explores traditional fare at Pie and Mash Shoppes and then visits a predominantly Indian community and indulges in a home-cooked London Punjab meal.
Episode Description


Food Tastes Better with Sand Between Your Toes

In an attempt to escape the stress of city life, Tony visits the island of St. Martin. In this Caribbean paradise, Tony eats a healthy Rastafarian meal with a freedom fighter, helps prepare grub for a food caravan, discovers foodstuffs not available at American supermarkets and, finally, relaxes at a beach bar.


No Beads, No Babes, No Bourbon Street

In New Orleans, Tony catches a Bayou alligator, cools off with a world famous sno cone, gets in trouble with the law, eats jambalaya with a dancing chef and, finally, relaxes to some local jazz.


A Mystical World

Known as Brazil's capital of happiness, Salvador da Bahia offers fruitful local markets and rich Bahian cusine: fried shrimp, palm oil, chili peppers, and coconut. Here, Tony takes part in a traditional ceremony and experiences the culinary talents of the famous Bahian, Chef Dada.


How to Be a Carioca

What is a Carioca? These natives of Rio are lovable scamps who somehow find ways to avoid work altogether, preferring the beach, flirting and hanging out at restaurants and bars. Tony, under the tutelage of an exemplary Carioca, gives the lifestyle a try, enjoying a savage tan, Brazilian barbecue and one too many caipirinhas!


Elements of a Great Bar

Join Tony on his quest to characterize the perfect bar. With him, discover the importance of a "maniacal bartender", the proper chemical makeup of drinks, the joys of seedy dive-bars and the need for late night snacks.


The Struggle for the Soul of America

Tony travels to the grain belt capitol, Minneapolis, to inspect the conflict between creative independent operators and generic franchises. Beginning in the food nightmare within the Mall of America, Tony vows to find good cuisine within the city.


The BBQ Triangle

Which style of BBQ reigns supreme-Kansas City, Houston or North Carolina? Tony journeys to all three, judging the secrets behind sauces, wood pits, and slow smokers.


Mad Tony: The Food Warrior

Chef Tony Bourdain embarks on a pilgrimage through Australia so he can indulge in a meal made by one of the world's best chefs, Tetsuya Wakuda. When Tony's car breaks down in the outback, he is found wandering about by a veteran of the bush who feeds him a slap-up meal of bush tucker, including kangaroo and wattleseed-bush tomato. Days, miles and many Australian meal later, Tony finds himself unable to describe Tetsuya's delicious and well-earned meal.


Down Under: The Wild West of Cooking

Melbourne boasts a bunch of hard-living, good-natured and eccentric food-lovers-Tony's kind of people. In search of the outlaws of food, Tony explores a pasteurization-free cheese factory and an old-world cured jamon workshop. Alas, no trip to Australia is complete without an authentic "barbie", so Tony settles down with new found friends for an afternoon meal of surf n' turf.


Singapore: New York in Twenty Years

Chef Tony Bourdain decides to find the real Singapore with its multicultural restaurants and markets. He samples prescription food dishes, explores the Geyland Serai Market, rides the clean and efficient subway and sees Singapore's diversity in the "Little India" neighborhood.


Let's Get Lost

Jumping into a Thai tuk tuk taxi, Tony attempts to soak up Thai culture and get lost in the cuisine of Chiang Mai. From spicy soups and noodles in the busy city marketplace to the hospitality and delicate salads of the countryside, Tony learns to appreciate all things Thai.


My Friend Linh

Tony returns to his beloved Vietnam to visit his friend, Linh, for the Vietnamese lunar New Year holiday, Tet. Together, the friends enjoy the holiday and indulge in all the exotic delicacies Vietnamese culture offers.


Thailand: One Night in Bangkok

A spontaneous layover in Bangkok leads Tony into the city, where he tries strange meals of deep fried frog skins and pla rah-a fish paste that has fermented for three months to a year.