Anthony Bourdain has made a name for himself in the culinary world, not just for his bad-boy, no holds-barred attitude and foul-mouthed language, but also for his fearless appetite, iron stomach, and “I’ll try anything once” approach to food.
In fact, CNN colleague Piers Morgan challenged Bourdain’s adventurous palate when Bourdain made an appearance on Piers Morgan Live. “You once made the fatal error of saying you’d eat anything, and I wanted to test this theory,” Morgan said, presenting Bourdain with a variety of dishes, from bull penis to balut (a boiled fertilized egg) to maggot fried rice, the last of which Bourdain needed some red wine to wash down.
Piers Morgan’s hazing aside, for close to 15 years now, Bourdain has made a career of exploring the world through food. Bourdain has proved to an international audience that there is no destination too dangerous or dish too stomach-turning for him to try.
“Look, in 14 years of traveling this world, I’ve missed a day of work, a day of shooting, only twice because of food-related issues,” Bourdain said last April in an interview with The Daily Beast.
Bourdain is referring to the time he contracted food poisoning in Liberia while filming an episode of his former Travel Channel show, No Reservations, in which he was out in the bush eating bushmeat in conditions that were “definitely iffy,” from the hot sun to overall poor hygiene. Bourdain said he was “was crawling around praying for the better part of 48 hours.”
Yet such experiences haven’t deterred Bourdain from following his appetite in his pursuit of finding the world’s best meals, an honorable mission that many of us can only dream of accomplishing. Bourdain has experienced it all, from five-star restaurants to street food, and he has done so with a purpose.
"Just by virtue of showing up, just to see how people eat and drink, people reveal themselves to you in a way they wouldn’t to a hard news reporter. People let their guard down at the table,” Bourdain has said.
In his efforts to educate the world on global cuisine and foster connections across cultures, Bourdain has eaten strange delicacies from hákarl (dried shark), a dish he would rather not have again, to raw seal eye, and he’s not stopping any time soon. Here are the most bizarre foods Bourdain has ever eaten.
Balut, or fetal duck egg, is not for weak stomachs. In 2006, Anthony Bourdain ate balut while visiting Vietnam, though it is most traditionally beloved in the Philippines. In an online chat via The Washington Post, Bourdain describes balut as a “crunchy, delicious” food. Bourdain also ate balut on air during an interview with Piers Morgan. “It’s not one of my favorite things on earth,” Bourdain tells Morgan, “but it’s not that bad if you can get past the feathers.”
While a guest on Piers Morgan Live, Anthony Bourdain was challenged to eat foods without knowing what they were until after eating them. Among those dishes were bull testicles, which Bourdain remarked was “rubbery as hell” as he picked up a piece. His thoughts? “Not bad… Piers, penis — it’s so last week,” Bourdain joked.