The chef, traveller and writer Anthony Bourdain was authentic before it was a buzzword. He embraced the unknown, whether an out-there destination or what-the-hell dish, and had an infectious enthusiasm for the world. ‘Tony encouraged a greater sense of curiosity, kindness and understanding,’ says his long-time assistant, writer Laurie Woolever. ‘It was about connecting with people through the sharing of food.’ Almost three years on from his death in June 2018, his last book, World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, written in collaboration with and finished by Woolever, globe-trots from momos in Thimphu to laksa in Kuala Lumpur, piri-piri chicken in Mozambique and meat every which way in Montevideo, mixing tips with Bourdain’s trademark no-bullshit wit and essays by his inner circle.
‘We only had one meeting to plan the book in spring 2018, but it yielded a long list of places that Tony wanted to include,’ she adds. ‘He had an impressive, comprehensive memory of where he’d eaten, visited, slept and played all over the world.’ Woolever’s favourite trip with him was to Tokyo: ‘On our first night he asked if I wanted a crash course in street-level dining. We took a cab over to Shinjuku and stuffed ourselves on low-key yakitori chicken, then crossed the road for ramen with pork belly. Afterwards we walked a few blocks to the Golden Gai area, where we peeked into dozens of unthinkably small bars, finally stopping at his favourite, the Albatross, for a whisky.’ Here’s to a final drink.
A LOOK BACK AT ANTHONY BOURDAIN’S ESSENTIAL STOPOVERS
‘This is a chef town. It’s a stay-up-late-and-have-a-good-time town. The Little Burgundy neighbourhood was once a divey, neglected part, but then came the magnificent Joe Beef. The menu is wonderful and unapologetically over the top.’
‘I’m constantly asked, “What’s the greatest food city in the world?” No one can say you’re wrong if you answer Hong Kong. Have lunch at Kam’s Roast Goose. I know I talk about pork a lot and how it’s, like, the best thing ever. But the best thing ever is actually goose.’
‘We all have national idiosyncrasies. Scotland’s is “deep-fried just about everything”. I want to go no deeper than the bottom of a bubbling cauldron of hot grease. Deep-fried haggis, at the University Café, is my favourite. There’s no more unfairly reviled food than haggis.’
‘World Travel: An Irreverent Guide’ was published on 20 April 2021(Amazon.com, £12.53)
Like this? Now read: