Anthony Bourdain 1956-2018

Taiwan Scene is deeply saddened by Anthony Bourdain’s passing. Bourdain was more than a celebrity, more than a chef, and certainly more than just a travel show host. He was a humanist of the first order and a friend to the world. His eternal quest for the perfect meal was merely a vehicle for bringing the world closer together.

Bourdain’s ongoing journey brought him to Taiwan several times, most notably to film an episode of The Layover. His affection was apparent from the very first lines of the show:

“It’s far from the best looking city on Earth, but it’s a deceptively wonderful one. I can’t claim to be an expert on Taipei. but it’s a place that runs deep. I’ve only been through a few times, and only for a few days at a time. But I’m always happy to come back. ”

~ Anthony Bourdain, The Layover: Season 2, Episode 8 Taipei

Taiwanese people watched with special pride as Bourdain slurped sea urchins and oyster omelettes at the Keelung Night Market,  waxed philosophical over bowls of beef noodle soup at Jin Chu Fa, and endured cheerfully the obligatory travel show meal at Modern Toilet. You’ll still find his photograph hung with pride at many of the restaurants and stalls he visited during that shoot.

Anthony Bourdain in Taiwan
Anthony Bourdain in Taiwan

Had his whole trip just been about food, he’d still be remembered fondly as a friend of Taiwan. But like everything Bourdain did, the show wound up being about so much more than just travel and food.

He practiced Taichi in the park, visited a traditional apothecary, and took a trip to the National Palace Musem, bringing his audience of millions along on his 72-hour Taipei tour. And he spoke to people; people in shops, on the street and in parks.

Most importantly, he gave the people he spoke to the chance to speak to his audience, in doing so giving them a voice to speak about Taiwanese customs, history, and culture. Anthony Bourdain gave Taiwan a global platform from which to demonstrate our hospitality.

His passing is a loss to the world. We mourn him as we would a dear friend.

The Layover: Taipei Can be viewed below courtesy of Daily Motion