Season nine of Anthony Bourdain’s eclectic travel and food show ‘Parts Unknown‘ came to an end last night. Bourdain found himself in Porto, Portugal with his former boss from his Les Halles days, José de Meirelles. It was a show that exposed the beauty of Porto while also offering catharsis, as Bourdain circled back to his first TV show.
For forty-odd minutes, Bourdain wandered the ancient streets of Porto eating and talking, as he’s known to do. He spoke with locals about Porto’s fight against gentrification and highlighted the ideals that make Porto a truly unique city, even in Portugal. Naturally, there was an incredible amount of great food and wine accenting every scene. There were seafood towers! There was cheese porn! The port flowed freely!
Bourdain then spent some time with his old boss, Meirelles, at another family pig roast. The echoes of Bourdain’s early days on A Cook’s Tour were evident as yet another porcine feast got started with the ritualistic slaughter of a pig.
“A traditional pig feast, which in cultures all over the world—cultures as disparate as Sicily, Borneo, Romania, and rural Louisiana—is a cherished celebration involving whole communities, a joyous occasion where people come together to cook and eat and drink. It invariably involves the killing of an animal. And I will tell you: It was a deeply unsettling experience,” Bourdain laments in his voice-over as a pig makes a ruckus in the background and a priest says a prayer.
It’s a scene we’ve seen on Bourdain’s shows again and again. And its importance remains the same as Bourdain is “unsettled” to this day with actually having to confront the mortality of his dinner.