For the latest episode of “Parts Unknown,” everyone’s favorite celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain traveled to one of the spiciest places on planet Earth, Sichuan, taking along with him French three-star Michelin chef Eric Ripert, a newbie to China who couldn’t handle the heat.
“Coddled by years of foie gras, runny cheeses, flaky pastries and the subtle notes of many fine wines, the searing burn of the Sichuan dried chilies and the numbing, delightfully disorienting effects of the Sichuan peppercorns were a challenge,” Bourdain gleefully writes.
Watch the teaser for the episode below:
So, Bourdain appears to have spent most of his time in Sichuan torturing the sensitive Frenchman by also getting a public ear cleaning, munching on rabbit heads and even taking him out to a baijiu-fueled banquet.
To make it all up to him, Bourdain also took Ripert to the less traditional Chinese eatery — Hooters. “I did not have the heart to take photos of what I saw that night. I saw many terrible things,” Bourdain writes.
To whet your appetite, here’s another clip from the episode featuring the two chefs attending a culinary class to learn how to make the delicately-flavored dish of yuxiang rousi (鱼香肉丝).
It all sounds like good fun. The episode aired on Monday morning over here, but we didn’t happen to catch it. However, Eater.com did watch the episode and picked out some of Bourdain’s best quips about Sichuan cuisine:
Bourdain, on the infamous heat level of Sichuan’s food: “It’s the spicy, sensualist heartland of all the things I love about China… food that can burn you down to a charred, smoking little stump.”
Bourdain, on the two elements of flavor in Sichuan cuisine, ma (Sichuan peppercorns) and la (“facing-heaven chiles”): “If you imagine Ilsa, she-wolf of the SS tormenting you with nipple clamps as the la, the ma, provided by the pleasantly deranging peppercorns, would be like the naughty nurse with the ice cubes.”
Bourdain, on lazi ji, a Sichuan spicy chicken specialty: “The dish, in practical terms, is a game of finding the bits of chicken in the mountain of ass-burning goodness. C’mon, it’s fun for the whole family.”
Bourdain, on mapo tofu: “And if you ever have a hangover — and you will, my friend, you will — this will scare the evil right out.”
And on eschewing train bathrooms: “I don’t like to roll around in my own shit in a moving bathroom. That’s elitist?”
[Video via CNN]