October 30th, 2013
10:12 AM ET

And the best city in the world for food is...?

Fareed speaks with Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef, food critic and host of Parts Unknown, for his take on the world's greatest city to dine out in. Watch the Tokyo edition of Parts Unknown this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.

You go to Tokyo, you have been many times. I think most will be surprised to know that the city that gets the most Michelin three stars is not Paris, is not New York, but Tokyo. Do you agree with that?

Yes.

Tokyo is the great...

If I would ask ten great chefs that I know around the world what city in the world would you like – if you had to be stuck in one city and eat every meal there for the rest of your life, where would that be – nine out of ten would say Tokyo. There’s a level of perfectionism, attention to detail, quality ingredients and tradition and technique that's really unlike any place else.

It's endlessly deep subject and with the show that I did there most recently, we tried to draw a direct line between that excellence and attention to detail – that fetishism, really, for food and quality with the sort of subterranean repressed ids of the Japanese male. So it's probably going to be a parental advisory type show.

Uh-oh.

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Topics: Food • Japan

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soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. Emmanuelle

    The best is: PARIS, FRANCE. French cuisine are best in the world. No, not Tokyo.

    October 30, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply
    • DRNY

      Have you ever been to Tokyo, or are you speaking without experience?

      October 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • scottw

      except you have to put up with french people to be there. i'd rather not.

      October 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • per se

      Paris is near the top, for sure. But Tokyo has many different styles of cuisine which make it just a little better.

      October 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • zaglossus

      You French are so defensive nowadays. Europe's prime has passed.

      October 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Reply
    • driranek

      In my experience, the 'French Riviera', the southern coast from roughly Cannes to St. Tropez simply blew Paris away. Try the towns of St. Raphael or St. Tropez for starters.

      October 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Reply
    • jonusb

      I've been to Tokyo as well as Paris. Both cities have their "delicacies" that I find unappetizing, such as sushi and frog's legs. But they do have plenty of interesting and delicious dishes too. But I'm a NYer, and I'll say you can get the best of both words (and about a few dozen more) right here in Manhattan!

      October 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
      • kiyyik

        If you consider sushi to be an unappetizing "delicacy" you really shouldn't be commenting on food articles. Have a seat in one of Guy Fieri's greasehouses.

        October 30, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
      • KneeGrow

        Definitely agree with kiyyik. Learn your cuisines, or accept your inferiority.

        November 2, 2013 at 2:41 am |
    • Jay in Florida

      I'd rather eat mexican than french food.

      October 31, 2013 at 6:26 am | Reply
      • Jim

        Go ahead with your Mexican. Just bring plenty of GasX and Imodium D.

        October 31, 2013 at 7:51 am |
      • denim

        But would your Mexican cutie enjoy it?

        October 31, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Patrick

      French arrogance is an ugly thing. French food sux. French people suk even worse.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Reply
      • BobPitt

        And you think Americans are any better? the most egocentric chauvinistic people on earth. not to mention rude..

        October 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • james mack

        Totally ignorant comment-you sound like a dumb hick

        October 31, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Au Contraire!...I've been to both...and both are good....But NOTHING compares to Tokyo. You can eat at DENNY'S and walk out talking about the meal. Even the little "hole in the wall" restaurants, down the street, were "to write home about". EVEN compared to Hong Kong, or Korea, or China, or Singapore or Thailand....ALL are GREAT!...but Tokyo is the BEST!

      November 3, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  2. matslats

    Of course when you say food you mean rich people buying high value prepared food with money which benefits the economy.
    You don't mean smart people growing organic food in a way that makes them independent or healthy.

    October 30, 2013 at 11:00 am | Reply
    • per se

      The handling and preparation of food is just as important as how it was grown and raised.

      October 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  3. Lisa

    Raw fish? No thanks. Best food city I've ever been in – Hanoi. All of it, every meal, every little hole in the wall or sit down restaurant or street stall..... best food ever.

    October 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • P. Downer

      Did you ever go to Tokyo? Or Osaka? There is WAY more than raw fish. And every hole in the wall ramen/tempura/soba place is amazing there.

      October 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • per se

      Yes, Hanoi is great, but associating Tokyo with raw fish alone is like associating London with fish and chips alone.

      October 30, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Reply
      • Normal in NH

        San Francisco...the one and only positive thing I have to say about this city is its food!

        October 31, 2013 at 11:23 am |
      • Patrick

        What else is there in London? The only thing worse than French food is English food.

        October 31, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • per se

        Look up The Fat Duck, rated best in the world several times. There have been many years of great food in London, and the fish and chips idea is still there, but not the main image of English food anymore.

        Also, if you say French food is bad, then you have no idea what you are talking about.

        October 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Gelli

      I was wondering how long it would take for someone to mention "Raw Fish" after Sushi was discussed!

      October 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Reply
    • denim

      Sushi isn't raw fish. There's raw fish in SOME sushi, but hardly all of it.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
      • Gelli

        That was the point I was trying to make. Most people think 'Sushi' means 'raw fish' , it actually means 'flavoured rice'.

        November 1, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  4. Mesfin

    First, my sincere appology for being biased. The best food to eat is An Ethiopian Enjera Bewet. It is a food for the ultimate gostronomist. If there was such thing as a deity food that would be an Ethioian cuisine bare none.

    October 30, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply
    • kiyyik

      Ethiopia is not a city.

      October 30, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • mickey

      i ate at an Ethiopian resturant once. after an hour waiting to be served, they announced "We are sorry there is no food." then they lead us out into the parking lot and a helicopter dropped some rice. It was just ok.

      October 31, 2013 at 9:38 am | Reply
      • Luke

        *wins best comment of the article

        October 31, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  5. fishbone5000

    Phoenix,AZ

    October 30, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  6. Paul DeGarie

    MONTREAL CANADA is the best known Gastronomic Secret..... The food simply just taste better....

    October 30, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  7. ARGENTINA

    ARGENTINA, South America – there you will find best food and restaurants.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Reply
    • kiyyik

      Argentina is not a city.

      October 30, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Reply
      • Gelli

        You have to allow for the lack of geographical knowledge on these threads as many who post here are American! 🙂

        October 30, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  8. per se

    People need to realize that opinions are a small factor in what is considered good food. Quality is not an opinion, it is a fact based on standards.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Reply
    • Roozer

      Really?

      Whose standards, yours?

      Quality is subjective, just like the notion that Tokyo has better food than Paris or anywhere else. I mean, come on, have you seen some of the 'food' that these chefs actually eat?

      October 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
      • per se

        Food quality has standards, good food is good food regardless of whether you like it or not, same goes for bad food being bad food regardless of your opinion.

        It's like cars, some like the design of a Mercedes, and some hate it, but to say it is poor quality is just ignorant.

        "Cooking is at once art, at once craft, at once science"
        – Grant Achatz

        October 31, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  9. Brune

    I would have to go with New Orleans..... food from all over the world there due from its' history.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  10. Matthew

    The food in Tokyo is good, maybe great, but to enjoy it you have to be in Tokyo. I go there only when I have to, on business, and get out of Dodge as soon as I can. Let's focus on places where the food is good AND where you'd actually like to be. Here's my list, in no particular order: Rome, Paris, Lyon, Quebec, Montreal, Barcelona, Marrakesh, New York, Sicily, Istanbul, Madrid, Vienna, Los Angeles, London.

    October 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
    • per se

      Factoring in the city itself alongside the food, is another topic entirely, and one that depends on personal wants and not just quality. I agree with Bourdain about the food aspect, but I also agree with you about the city, it is loud and busy, and frantic at times, while I'd prefer Venice or Paris.

      October 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • kiyyik

      Sicily is not a city. I could do this all day.

      October 30, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
      • KneeGrow

        Neither is Istanbul. It's just a terrorist takeover of Constantinople.

        November 2, 2013 at 2:47 am |
  11. CNYGuy

    Utica, NY

    October 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  12. skarnaud

    We all know that the red states of the US have the best cuisine!

    Whatever it is deep fry it!

    October 30, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Reply
    • VladT

      I am surprised it took this long for some Nimr0d to make this a political topic

      October 31, 2013 at 3:44 am | Reply
  13. Roozer

    None can compare to Oldham, Lancs.

    October 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
    • Gelli

      Ay! Reet lovely are them mushy peas!

      October 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Reply
      • BobPitt

        I like Mushy peas...

        October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  14. Zo

    New York City of course.. why? There are people from EVERY country/nationality/religion/etc. living there and you could find the most authentic of each type of food from all over the world. Really can't say that about Tokyo.

    October 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Reply
    • Philo99

      uh Yes you can.

      Tokyo cuisine blows NY out of the water. Plus it's a clean safe city. I wouldn't even rank NY in the top of the US. It is so filled with chains and corporate owned restaurants these days. NY has been on a steep decline since the 70's.

      You can find French food in NY, but in Tokyo you will find French food prepared by

      October 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  15. Sherry

    The best food is and always will be food from home with family, friends.

    October 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  16. Pablo

    Lima, Peru. Waaayyy above all others for sure!

    October 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • BobPitt

      You can get Peruvian just about anywhere anymore. fantastic cooking...

      October 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  17. Rick McDaniel

    I assure you, the U.S. is way, way behind, in that category........and indeed any place that even begins to approach really good food in America, is simply outrageous in price!

    October 30, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Reply
    • BobPitt

      You can get the best of the world has to offer in New York, I don't like new Yorkers, but the restaurants and incredibly good, just about anywhere you can get fantastic food from anywhere in the world, just don't do as I did ""order a beer on a Pakistani restaurant""

      October 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  18. Bosnian Master Chef

    Nothing beats Bosnian cevapcici and burek. Those other places you mention are nothing compared to Sarajevo and Tuzla.

    October 30, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  19. are122

    It depends on what you like. I have been to Paris and London but my favorite foods are in good ole USA...New Orleans.

    October 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  20. Adam

    Tokyo? Ha ha. If you can put up with racism, horrible manners, inflated costs and unbelievable amounts of cigarette smoke...then sure, enjoy seafood, seafood and more seafood. (Even better if it has suffered in some way during capture and preparation!). After 20+ years of living here, I can say that judging food in Tokyo as the best or using the Michelin system as a benchmark is a complete joke.

    October 30, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Reply
  21. NorthVanCan

    Cheese Burgers from McDonalds are best bought in bulk, stored in the freezer and re-heated at your convenience.
    Hmmmm, good eats.

    October 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  22. raju

    Jamaican or carribean is the best

    October 31, 2013 at 7:13 am | Reply
    • BobPitt

      If you are from there I could understand, but Rice and beans, everyday plus Pull pork is hardly what I call a good meal...

      October 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  23. akahn90

    Why wouldn't Tokyo be at the top of the list. Why the hell would Paris even be mentioned in that list to begin with other than a joke. The Asian cuisine is far superior that that of the rest of the world, and so much more diversity and flavoring. This was an easy decision to make Tokyo the top of the top. But Paris? You have to be freaking kidding me...

    October 31, 2013 at 9:03 am | Reply
    • per se

      Of course Paris would be near the top, it has some of the best food in the world. Every chef that has ever approached a cutting board with a knife is indebted to the French.

      October 31, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  24. clark

    5 Guys Anywhere in America Someone has to tell it like it is.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
  25. VVVVV

    I guess if you got the cash, but if your not loaded and want many examples of variety I prefer Singapore.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • MicMooger

      Singapore?..... Nah.... Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. They are better.

      October 31, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  26. Gatorfanatic

    Singapore......

    October 31, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • MicMooger

      See above.

      October 31, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  27. HarpAttack

    I don't know where the best city for food is, but I know who the best food photographer is. smithphoto in Houston

    October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  28. LostInTheFog

    Tokyo #1 for precision and creative use of ingredients. Most cities' restaurants just throw many items together in a fusion fashion, but Tokyo makes it an art form with real taste.

    San Francisco #1 for availability of ingredients. You can grow anything in the Bay Area at any time. Everything is fresh. Large refrigerators aren't needed as the number of farmers' markets and home gardens and local butchers make daily food a truly "just picked" experience.

    Palermo #1 for alfresco street food. Just fantastic and without the worry of potential illnesses one might get from street stalls in other cities and countries.

    Portland #1 for food trucks. Other cities also have trucks, but the Rose City really makes it work.

    Paris has changed. Ingredients not as fresh and it's become more suburban.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • D

      Most intelligent comment on the thread. Makes me want to visit Palermo and Portland. If I do, I will keep your recommendations in mind. I am originally from NYC but to me SF has better food quality overall. Just tastes better! NYC may have SF beat when it comes to cuisine variety though.

      November 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  29. Steve

    Did someone really mention Bosnia in a nonjoking manner? im pretty sure nyc has the best restaurants in the whole world.

    October 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  30. New Yorker

    New York by far is the best city in the world for food, we have it all here, the most authentic cuisine from ever art of the world, from Jamaica to China and every place in between, restaurants galore all over the city, try that in Tokio or Paris, New York has both of these 2 cities beat hands down in cuisine variety

    October 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
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