Anthony Bourdain’s abiding love for the Philippines

Photo via Zero Point Zero Production

By Eric Atienza/CNN – Food travel shows often have a really bad habit of just being a chance for a milquetoast host to vacation through other peoples’ lives, talking a lot while eating their “weird” food.

Said host then seems to meander through a city or town’s TripAdvisor highlights while reading factoids from Wikipedia, all of which provides about the same level of insight as a quick trip to Epcot Center.

With food TV, we viewers are practically trained to be standard-definition tourists, experiencing a place superficially, with maybe a dash of local history framed shallowly and even sometimes stereotypically.

And then there was Anthony Bourdain.
In a sea of shows featuring replaceable episodes mining worldwide food culture for content following what often felt like the same plot every week, Bourdain chose to be different.

He chose to highlight actual human beings in the places he went, trying to understand their histories and treating them like the fully realized people they were. He was a guest — in their homes, their restaurants, on their land — not just a consumer and definitely not a tourist.

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