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?


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.


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Topics: Food • Japan

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soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. mike johnson

    ...well ... Tokyo is good ... but I would have to say that Bangkok is just as good ... maybe even a straw sharper

    October 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • calmamater

      Problem is Michelin Stars are overrated and western biased. Just because you use a humongous plate, ridiculously small portion, and "supposed to be fancy" dribbling of sauce around the edges of the plate cooked by some dude with an accent does not make your food good.

      November 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Reply
      • Ryan in Texas

        They also have no concept of value – which is if what you get is worth what you pay for.
        Tokyo is extremely expensive. If you are paying $200 a meal, it better be top notch.
        If the real question is where can I get the best, highest quality meal for $50 a plate – Tokyo might have some of the WORST eating options in the world.
        Let's compare apples to apples: you can buy some of the same great wines worldwide. So what kind of bottle of wine will you get for $40 in Tokyo? Now compare that to what you get for $40 in other places.
        Doesn't make Tokyo look like the best place.
        Someone can always make a great meal for hundreds of dollars a plate. What's the great achievement there? The trick is making excellent food that is affordable. That takes a great chef. That takes skill and artistry.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • ironic

        I'd rather be drinking a crappy $40 wine in Tokyo, than a good $40 one in any Texas city.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
      • Ryan in Texas

        Jealousy is never pretty.
        I didn't even mention Texas, but good luck to you. I hope you work through your issues.

        November 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • they had it coming

        RE: "If you are paying $200 a meal, it better be top notch..." or what Tex... a lynching?

        November 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
      • Lone Startled

        Ryan, yew maht like the buffet trough at the "Texas Roadkill Cafe". They put on a purty good feed.

        November 2, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  2. Sivick

    i'd still go with Rome. Italian food is the best in the world.

    October 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Reply
    • jim

      Italian food is great, but its one of the easiest in the world to prepare well. Because its based on simple ingredients prepared simply. That's the beauty of it.
      A lot of the worlds other great cuisines (Indian, Thai) are very difficult to do well, which, in my opinion, gives them a slight advantage over Italian.
      But I love them all!

      November 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply
      • BuckTurgidson

        If Italian is so easy, why are we so bad at it?

        November 12, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  3. anony

    It's that little pinch of caesium-137 that gives it a kick.

    October 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • calmamater

      Not to mention the water with some half-life uranium, gives it a nuclear taste explosion.

      November 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  4. bobcat2u

    And the beat goes on. Everybody has a favorite cuisine. To say that any one type of food is better than another totally depends on the individual.

    October 31, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Reply
    • bobdouglass

      No, it doesn't "totally depend on the individual". There are metrics for food. That's the point here. I've never been to Tokyo but I have been around the world, and there are places that are meccas for good food.

      November 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Reply
      • bobcat2u

        Actually bobdouglass it does have a great deal to do ones tastes. Just because one person finds a certain cuisine appetizing doesn't mean that everyone likes it. For example, I don't like green peas or peanut butter while the majority does. I have eaten many different types of food around the world and I as everyone else has their favorites. So as you can see, a persons tastes are highly subjective.

        November 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  5. Kevin

    For being a war-torn shell of it's former self, the cuisine in Baghdad I consider second to none.

    November 1, 2013 at 2:09 am | Reply
    • KneeGrow

      I hear it's the Bomb.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:05 am | Reply
      • Crybaby


        November 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  6. J.R.

    New Orleans was the best, before Katrina. Don't know if it is still good now.

    November 1, 2013 at 4:55 am | Reply
    • Maureen

      New Orleans is back, better than before, that includes the food! More restaurants than before Katrina! We just hosted. Super Bowl. Come down for a visit and see for yourself!

      November 2, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
    • bobcat2u

      Rest assured, the food in New Orleans is as good as it ever was. Nawlins is only about a hours drive from here, so I go there quite often.

      November 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  7. EntoyDaDragoN

    Chinese cuisine!!!

    November 1, 2013 at 4:59 am | Reply
  8. Adele Roveglia

    Rome is the best !!

    November 1, 2013 at 5:48 am | Reply
    • ironic

      I remember getting the Italian varietal of Montezuma's revenge in Roma.

      November 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • BuckTurgidson

      For Italy – I'll take Bologna over Rome.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
  9. Barack Hussein Mohamed Ali-Obama

    Islamabad has the best Halal soul food!!!!

    November 1, 2013 at 8:34 am | Reply
    • KneeGrow


      November 2, 2013 at 1:00 am | Reply
  10. george

    One thing that makes Tokyo top-notch is that they have high quality restaurants in all of the cuisines. There are Italian restaurants that are as good as any in Rome. Chinese restaurants as good as any in Beijing or Canton. French as good as any in Paris. etc.

    November 1, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • Hans Zarkov

      I lived in Tokyo for ten years and while I love the food it clearly does not have the depth and range of a city like New York. In New York you can easily find 8 or 10 really good, moderately priced restaurants in a very wide rage of cuisines. In Tokyo you can't do that.

      November 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • BuckTurgidson

      Tokyo also has the best Italian and Spanish outside the respective countries. New York is great, but Tokyo is superb. Wish I could afford to go back.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
  11. Lotiq

    Delhi by far for the sheer diversity and depth of flavor.

    November 1, 2013 at 9:49 am | Reply
  12. danyboy

    Singapore has to be in the top three! Great international selections, preparation second to none. You'll never find better pepper crab than on the eastern shore!

    November 1, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • SingaporeExExpat

      You have to be joking. Singapore has some ok food but is far inferior to many international cities. Just doesnt have the breadth of cuisines or quality of ingredients on the whole to give it a top city rating.

      November 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Reply
      • BuckTurgidson

        Singapore is awesome for the 7 native cuisines they have. The Korean has improved, but not so great for European food. Can't touch Tokyo for that.

        November 12, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • KneeGrow

      Yes, and you can go to U.S. 7-Elevens and fine the same stuff! Usually a day old and kind of crusty though...

      November 2, 2013 at 1:02 am | Reply
      • KneeGrow

        Sorry, that comment was meant for my friend Lotiq from Delhi-catessen.

        November 2, 2013 at 1:03 am |
      • ashvik

        Clearly, you've never been to Delhi. Or if you have, you only ate in slums or food that was thrown out in garbage by cosmopolitan restaurants.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:38 am |
      • Maira

        Clearly, you've never been to Delhi. Or if you have, you only ate in slums or food that was thrown out in garbage by cosmopolitan restaurants.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  13. D

    All food is good it just depents on what you are looking for or like but I would suggest yo go to Puerto Rico and taste their original dishes, lots of variety and flavors for all kind of tastes; meats, poltry, fish, vegetarian you name it and you will find it.

    November 1, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • KneeGrow

      Puerto Rico has great tacos and margaritas. They also like to pretend they're not Mexican, which always provides humour.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:07 am | Reply
  14. kalleberg1

    doesnt seem like this guy Anthony Bourdain knows what he's talking about....the sushi alone should put St. Louis in concideration

    November 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • KneeGrow

      Yes, and it makes the city remarkably more attractive, considering it is now only the 3rd most dangerous city in America (compared to #1 in 2010).. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate

      November 2, 2013 at 1:29 am | Reply
  15. joe anon 1

    bourdain, thanks for your trip to gaza and the view of the WALL. of course, some jews still call it a small security fence.

    almost makes up for your state dept scripted visit to libya.

    an earlier commenter mentioned baghdad. no arguments. though DU and shock and awe by barbarians have had an effect.

    nyc has lots of rats. same with DC.

    November 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • KneeGrow

      you are correct. nyc city has lots of rats. it also has lots of jews. coincidence? i think not.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:31 am | Reply
  16. steve

    turkey only

    November 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  17. Fss

    Do they got chili dogs over there?

    November 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  18. vj

    NY is the best !!

    November 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Reply
    • KneeGrow

      Yes, I love their sausage guys on the streets. The smell of the homeless nearby makes it that much more delectable.

      November 2, 2013 at 1:04 am | Reply
  19. bearitstrong

    my comment won't get posted

    November 2, 2013 at 1:03 am | Reply
  20. karen14217

    omg, I love to eat no matter what city I am in!

    November 2, 2013 at 7:19 am | Reply

    FUDDRUCKERS – the world's best fast food restaurants.

    November 2, 2013 at 7:59 am | Reply
  22. Dean

    Obviously he has never been to Luverne Alabama.

    November 2, 2013 at 11:08 am | Reply
  23. Daniel Daronda

    How come nobody is even mentioning good ol' San Francisco??? They have over 4000 "Zagat" rated restaurants, many of them have really tasty food at very affordable prices......... I have recently tried Burmese food and Ethiopian food in SF that was to die for......... Tony Boudain's opinions are just the opinions of ONE human being, that got off drugs a few days ago, and is trying to make an honest living, at last.......... forgive him for his ignorance....... rehab must be really hard......... Ha! Ha! Ha!

    November 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • J

      San Francisco is terrible. Also, Zagat rated restaurants don't mean anything. Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city in the world, which are amazingly difficult to get.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  24. funzo

    i love their fried ox testicles

    November 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  25. Big Tex

    I only chew whut used to moo... if thar gonna make soo-she fer me... it better be made with beef.

    November 3, 2013 at 4:44 am | Reply
  26. Stukazz

    The best food is the one that I cook myself. Great ingredients + passion + love.

    November 3, 2013 at 10:22 am | Reply
  27. yem

    If Anthony Bourdain said Tokyo is the best, I believe him. He has travelled and tasted food around the world more than anybody that I know off.

    November 3, 2013 at 10:36 am | Reply
  28. Dr. Jantz

    What about Fulushima?

    November 3, 2013 at 11:39 am | Reply
    • Gravee

      Uncle Si??

      November 3, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Reply
  29. maison harte jr

    I have dined around the world, including many times in Toyko, and I respectfully disagree. The single best food city in the world is right here in the USA. I speak of New Orleans, Louisiana.

    November 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  30. Gravee

    What a great place to advertise other CNN programs! How about Zakaria having Bourdain talking about a delicious "Blackfish" a l'orange?

    November 3, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
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