Longreads

Forget about four-star hotels or luxury spa treatments: Bourdain is on a mission to illuminate underappreciated and misunderstood cultures, whether it’s Myanmar or Detroit. He regularly takes viewers to the sorts of places–Libya, Gaza, Congo–that most Americans know only from grim headlines about political strife and body counts. Bourdain does all of this with vivid narrative reporting, stunning visuals, palpable empathy, and a relentlessly open mind.

As with Bourdain’s previous programs, A Cook’s Tour and the long-running No Reservations, the premise is simple: he goes somewhere interesting and hangs out with the locals. “We show up and say, ‘What’s to eat? What makes you happy?’” Bourdain says. “You’re going to get very Technicolor, very deep, very complicated answers to those questions. I’m not a Middle East expert. I’m not an Africa expert. I’m not a foreign-policy wonk. But I see aspects of these countries that regular journalists don’t. If we…

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