Yesterday, Anthony Bourdain unveiled Explore Parts Unknown, his new food, culture, and travel website drawn from the widely-adored show of the same name. The new site is a partnership between digital behemoth CNN and Roads & Kingdoms, Bourdain’s other pet digital project.
It’s something of that latter site’s spiritual sister—the minds behind Roads & Kingdoms, Matt Goulding and Nathan Thornburgh, are its Editorial Advisors—with a cogent mission of its own. Explore Parts Unknown wants to expand upon what the show’s done for its eight seasons by providing immersive, interactive travel guides, informed by Bourdain’s own experiences in each city.
It’s a sleek, handsome site, split into four sections—eat, drink, know, go—with guides to 16 different locations across the world, from Montana to Manila. The site promises more featured locations to come, to be rolled out each week every Thursday. But these current city guides are nothing to sneeze at; they’ve got written and video dispatches, field notes from Bourdain himself, 24-hour dining guides, and stories about certain dishes (much of this written content is drawn from Roads & Kingdoms' archives).
I’ve been clicking around the site since the news broke yesterday, and, well, I've found it hard to stop. There’s just so much there. It should go without saying that Bourdain, and the businesspeople who surround him, have done a pretty terrific job of mounting these digital ventures for years now. Roads & Kingdoms is one of the more exciting food and culture publications to come out in recent memory, running such stories as this dispatch from Food52 contributor Saba Imtiaz on a cattle slaughter in Karachi right before Eid, or this story on the dog meat industry in Vietnam. (Full disclosure: I’ve written for them once, an eternity ago, and had a positive experience). I've never read anything boring on that site.
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It remains to be seen how this site will distinguish its editorial voice from Parts Unknown and Roads & Kingdoms, but I'm pretty hopeful. Poke around the site today and see what you think.
Season 9 of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown premieres April 30th.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.