Despite his rockstar image and bad-boy chef status, it was pretty easy to sense, one TV episode after another, that Bourdain was a softie. In his visit to the Philippines to open season seven of "Parts Unknown," we watch him fall hard for Filipino culture.
In his typical master storytelling style, Bourdain uses food as a secret password of sorts, gaining entrance into private worlds. Over lechon, what he calls the best pig in the world, and sisig, chopped-up pig head, he takes us into the lives of a traveling cover band, just one of many groups of overseas workers in the country who leave their families to make a hard living abroad.
During a shared meal of kare-kare, a go-to comfort food of oxtail stew, he reads an elderly Filipino woman a letter from one of his crew members, the man she raised while working as a nanny in the U.S. You are, like through so many of Bourdain’s offerings, laughing and crying at the same time.
This was Bourdain’s gift. He always found a patch of common ground that we could all stand on, no matter how foreign the place or the food.