12 Foods That Anthony Bourdain Loved

Anthony Bourdain is one of the most beloved modern food and travel writers. He crossed the globe on his shows "A Cook's Tour," "No Reservations," and "Parts Unknown" to try dishes that much of his American audience had never encountered, and he inspired multiple generations in the process. Largely because of him, many of us have visited places we never thought we'd go and have eaten foods we never thought we'd get a chance to try.

Audiences watched Bourdain eat an array of delicious-looking foods on his TV shows, but of course, he had his personal favorites. These were the dishes he was really wowed by, the foods he wanted to go back to again and again, and the plates he always requested seconds of. We decided to take a deep dive to get a better look at the foods that Bourdain couldn't get enough of, and we compiled this list so you can give all his favorites a try too.

Some of these dishes are location-specific, and others are so commonplace that you've probably had them before in your lifetime. But if you want to follow in Anthony Bourdain's footsteps (er, taste buds), you should work your way through this list to get a taste of the dishes he loved.

1. Ceviche

On a hot, humid day, there's nothing more refreshing than ceviche, an iconic raw fish dish from Peru. Bourdain visited the country with his friend, chef Eric Ripert, on an episode of "Parts Unknown." In this episode, the pair visits Lima, the nation's capital, and learns that one of the secrets to delicious ceviche is how the fish is cut into pieces. Instead of dicing the fish into small pieces, it's better to cut it into large chunks, Bourdain learns, because the larger chunks can better hold up to the acidic juices that "cook" the fish.

After Bourdain learns how the best ceviche is made, he digs into a plate full of octopus and flounder speckled with slices of red onion and citrus juice, which provides that mouthwatering flavor ceviche is famous for. "This is good," Bourdain says earnestly, tucking into the plate of fresh fish. Of course, if you got the chance to eat ceviche cooked by a legendary Peruvian chef, you'd probably enjoy every bite too.

2. Sisig

Anthony Bourdain was no stranger to the Philippines. He actually went twice to film episodes of his shows. In 2009, he filmed an episode of "No Reservations" there, and the food star returned in 2016 to film another episode of "Parts Unknown." Bourdain seemed to savor just about everything he tried in the Philippines, from the lechon to one of the country's most famous desserts. But it seemed like there were few dishes he loved more than sisig, which he referred to as "possibly the best thing you could eat with a cold beer."

This dish starts with minced pork and chicken livers, which provides a fatty, flavorful, and filling base for the other ingredients. Oftentimes, chefs will include chopped pig ears and cheeks, which adds an interesting textural element to the dish. The combo of the chewy ears and the soft, silky chicken livers is unmatched. The meat is then generally combined with onions and vegetables and served in a flavorful sauce.

Sisig is slowly getting its due in the U.S. as more Filipino chefs introduce it to their menus. But Bourdain was lucky enough to visit the source and eat the dish in the place where it originated. In fact, the food personality even called sisig his "single favorite Filipino street food."

3. Les Halles french fries

Most people now know Bourdain as the TV personality behind his hit shows, but before he ever made his debut on the screen, he worked for years in restaurants. At one point, he was working at Les Halles, a restaurant in New York City, and Bourdain claimed that the fries coming out of the kitchen at the time were the best in New York. Is that a bold claim? Yes. Admittedly, though, he got a lot of praise for them. Apparently, Bourdain used a three-step process to make the fries. First, he would blanch them, and then he would fry them twice in a row. Let's be honest — twice-fried anything is bound to be delicious. He would serve the fries with steak, which is generally how the French enjoy their fried potatoes.

Although Bourdain made his way up in the fine dining world and got to enjoy some of the most impressive restaurants in the world, he still lovingly tended to the most basic of foods, like fries, giving him an air of unpretentiousness that seemed to resonate with his audience.

4. Sandwiches from Salumi

Bourdain got the opportunity to travel to cities across the planet, but there was one U.S. city that he seemed endlessly impressed with. No, it wasn't New York or LA. It was Seattle. He was quoted by the Seattle Times as saying the city was "one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting areas of the country to eat."

There are plenty of restaurants to frequent in the Seattle area, but Bourdain had one favorite in particular: a sandwich shop named Salumi. He was so enthusiastic about the shop that he once said, "That is a holy place for me. I love that place. I've jokingly said, but I'm half serious it should be a UNESCO site. It should be a landmark."

Mario Batali's parents founded Salumi, and it quickly became known as one of the best places in town to find Italian cured meats like mortadella and, yes, salami. The restaurant is no longer in the Batali family, but it continues to serve up legendary Italian sandwiches featuring pancetta, prosciutto, and more. If you're a real lover of cured meats and you happen to find yourself in the Seattle area, you have to visit so you can understand why Bourdain was such a huge fan.

5. Halo halo

Here's another Filipino dish that Bourdain once fell for —  halo halo, a delicious dessert that hails from the archipelago. But it was actually in LA that Bourdain tried halo halo while filming an episode of "Parts Unknown" in 2013. He was touring Koreatown, but decided to stop at the Filipino fast food chain Jollibee. It was there that he tasted halo halo, a dessert that consists of a variety of ingredients including flan, chickpeas, coconut, shaved ice, and red and white beans. If you haven't had the pleasure of trying halo halo before, you may be skeptical, but it's actually a fantastic way to end your meal.

Bourdain said of the dessert, "It makes no goddamn sense at all. I love it," and he also called it "oddly beautiful." He then posted a picture of the dessert to social media. There are so many people who have watched Bourdain's shows and wish they could visit the places Bourdain ate, but for most of us, a life of travel like Bourdain's is out of the question. Luckily, because this dessert comes from a fast food chain, it's probably easier to get your hands on it than many of the other dishes he tried.

6. Popeyes mac and cheese

Just because Bourdain visited Michelin-starred restaurants all over the world doesn't mean that he only liked the fanciest food at the table. In fact, the CNN star once sang praises about a fast food dish that you may have tried at some point. No, it wasn't fries, and it wasn't even a burger. It was fast food mac and cheese from Popeyes. We've tried the mac and cheese before, and we didn't necessarily think it was anything special — it just tasted like any random fast food mac and cheese we've ever tried. But Bourdain was a big fan, so maybe he was onto something that we just didn't catch on to.

However, Bourdain wasn't necessarily proud of his infatuation with the fast food dish. In fact, the told The Boston Globe that it was a "really disgusting, shameful pleasure" and that he would hide under the hood of his sweatshirt whenever he ordered it. After all, Bourdain was not quiet about his distaste for fast food. But if you ask us, there's no shame in enjoying even the most questionable foods from time to time. Will we be ordering the mac and cheese from Popeyes anytime soon? Maybe not. But we appreciate a food personality who's humble enough to enjoy a fast food meal.

7. Roasted suckling pig

Cultures across the world roast pigs, allowing the skin to get hot and crispy and the meat to get nice and tender. And if you've ever had a roasted pig before, then you know why it's so popular. It's meaty, it's juicy, and it's full of flavor. Therefore, it's not a huge surprise that Bourdain was a big fan of roasted pig. However, there was one country in particular where he tried roasted suckling pig and declared it the world's best: Bali. I was here that Bourdain tried the life-altering spit-roasted pig dish called babi guling. This dish gets much of its flavor from a spice mixture that's spread on the pig's skin before it's roasted.

But Bali isn't the only place Bourdain visited to try the roasted pig. He also enjoyed lechon in the Philippines, and he wasn't shy about heaping on the praise there either. In fact, he even declared that it was the "the best pig ever."

So, which roasted pig did Bourdain actually prefer? Did he love the sauce-smeared pork from Bali or the MSG-seasoned lechon from the Philippines more? That's a question we may never know the answer to. But one thing is for sure: Both of these countries can make a delicious suckling pig, so you know where to go when you want to get your hands on some ultra-flavorful pork.

8. Blood sausage

For some people, the thought of eating blood is a less-than-appealing prospect, so blood sausage is something they avoid entirely. For others, it's one of the most flavorful ways to eat a sausage. It should be no surprise that Bourdain falls into the latter camp. The chef tasted some blood sausage when he was filming an episode of "Parts Unknown" in Cologne, Germany, and he enjoyed it with the classic German accouterments, including onions, mashed potatoes, and yes, even applesauce.

Bourdain loved blood sausage so much that he called it "heaven on Earth" in the episode as the viewer watches a chef dip the speckled sausage flour and then fry it. He says if you don't like this dish, he probably won't save you from drowning. That may sound a little extreme for those who don't love blood sausage, but the true believers completely understand where Bourdain was coming from.

Never tried blood sausage before? You may want to give it a try if you've written it off in the past. In reality, you can't really taste the blood — the only thing that gives away its contents is the dark color of the sausage. Rather, you're more likely to pick up on the mixture of spices blood sausage often contains. Bourdain tried the delicacy in Germany, but other cultures have their own versions of the dish as well.

9. In-N-Out Burger

It should come as no surprise that there is no shortage of incredible restaurants in LA. It's one of the biggest cities in the whole country, and it attracts people from all over the world who bring their food with them, so it makes sense. But you may be surprised to learn what Anthony Bourdain's favorite restaurant in the city is. It's not a place that usually has a line out the door or that requires reservations months in advance. In fact, there's a good chance you've eaten at this restaurant before too. That's because Bourdain once said his favorite restaurant in LA was In-N-Out Burger. He lamented that In-N-Out the iconic restaurant chain hadn't made its way to New York, the city he called home.

Bourdain said that "it's the only fast food chain that I actually like and think is reasonably good for the world." That's high praise, considering how Bourdain often slammed fast food establishments. He claimed that he would visit the In-N-Out Burger at the airport as soon as he arrived in the city. So, if you've been hungry to try some of Bourdain's favorite restaurants, all you really have to do is go through the drive-thru.

10. Eggs

Anthony Bourdain's viewers might assume that the CNN star, with his access to some of the world's most incredible foods, wouldn't like the simple dishes that most of us eat on a regular basis. After all, if you're friends with some of the world's best chefs, there's no reason why you should be eating buttered noodles on the regular, right? But that's not necessarily true. After all, Bourdain was just a normal person like the rest of us, which means that sometimes, he undoubtedly wanted to enjoy his favorite simple comfort foods.

One of those comfort foods was hard-boiled eggs, which Bourdain called "the perfect food" on the final episode of "Parts Unknown." He was in his hometown for the episode — Manhattan's Lower East Side — and his friend John Lurie fed him the simple dish. "I am grateful and honored," Bourdain said.

Sometimes, it's not the fanciest, most lavishly prepared meals that make us the happiest. Sometimes, the dishes we love most can be as simple as a well-cooked hard-boiled egg.

11. Gray's Papaya hot dogs

If you've ever been to New York, then you know that hot dog stands abound. It's just one food that's incredibly easy to get in a city where it's incredibly easy to find most of the foods you could ever crave in a lifetime. But Bourdain wasn't likely to settle for just any old hot dog. As a New York native and a true food lover, the chef had a favorite hot dog spot: Gray's Papaya. So, what did he get his dog topped with? Sauerkraut, of course. We approve.

Gray's Papaya was a nostalgic spot for Bourdain, one that he regularly pined for when feeling homesick during his travels. He even went so far as to call it his second home. That's high praise for a place that offers "meat, starch, and veg all in a few mouthfuls." If you're visiting New York and want to get a taste of one of Bourdain's favorite meals, you don't have to book a reservation at one of the hottest new restaurants around town. Just make your way to Gray's Papaya.

12. Uni

One year, at the Tribeca Film Festival, Bourdain told his fans about how he approached dating — and how he avoided spending too much time with someone who he was incompatible with. His method may not be conventional, but it sounds like it must have worked for him. "When I was single, I would take people to sushi [on a] first date. And if they didn't eat the uni, there was really no chance of a relationship."

What's uni, you ask? It's sea urchin roe, or eggs. The clump of eggs is an orange color, and it has a soft, velvety texture that's slightly mushy. Many seafood lovers adore uni and consider it a delicacy, but it can definitely be a polarizing food.

The word "uni" comes from Japan, where sea urchin eggs are often served with sushi. However, other cultures around the world enjoy sea urchin roe in their own way. Bourdain also tried the roe in Italy, where it's called ricci. In the Mediterranean country, he didn't eat it with rice, though. Instead, it was mixed into a luscious pasta dish.