tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN January 15, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
motor bike exhaust, fish sauce, incense, the far-away smell of something? is that pork grilling over charcoal? vietnam. it could be no place else. [ bicycle bell dings ] ♪ [ horn honks ] >> anthony: listen to me. listen to me. there is no other way to see this city, hanoi, than from a motorbike or a scooter. to do otherwise would be to miss it all. [ horns honking ] ♪
>> anthony: it is one of the great pleasures of my life to join the river of people rushing through the streets. ♪ [ horns honking ] ♪ >> anthony: vietnam. it grabs you and doesn't let you go. once you love it, you love it forever. i've been coming here since 2000, the first time i'd been in this part of the world, and it's held a special place in my heart and my imagination since.
i keep coming back, i have to. [ bells ding ] vietnam has changed since last time i was here. it's changing every minute. [ horns honk ] but some things, for now, anyway, remain the same. important things, like this stuff. that's going to be good. bún oc. first meal in hanoi, and it's something they do here better than anywhere else. okay, i'm officially in hanoi now. mm. magic. a spicy, wonderful broth with tomatoes and herb and noodles and fresh snails.
plump and delicious. look at those beauties. come to me, plump little love muscle. mm. hanoi -- capital city of vietnam. seven and a half million people live here. in the winter it's chilly and damp. in the summer hot, humid, subtropical. the boulevards and many of the buildings are french, but its heart and soul is always, always vietnamese. [ laughter ] >> anthony: americans coming here as tourists for the first time, especially veterans of the war, are shocked by how friendly the place is. people are genuinely happy to see you. this is hanoi's old quarter, but it's looking less and less old these days. man, this area's changed, though. the irish/czech-themed pub next door.
vietnam is a young country. almost half of vietnamese are under the age of 30. fewer every year even remember what they call here "the americanar." those years were a defining time for just about everyone, vietnamese or american, who lived through them. and though there are still a lot of conflicted feelings back home, for most vietnamese these days, the war has become an abstraction, not even a memory. vietnam is still a poor nation, but the standard of living has improved a lot with the relaxing of hard-line communist economic policies. more and more foreign tourists every year, western chains, inevitably, are everywhere, and president obama is visiting for the first time, taking another step on the long path toward normalizing relations between the two countries. that is good. ooh, hot. ooh, i hit that chili hard.
♪ [ bells ding ] ♪ [ horn honks ] [ thunder crashes ] ♪ >> tao: nice to meet you. >> anthony: yes. >> tao: it's such a pleasure. >> anthony: oh, and we have a beer ready to go, great. >> tao: yes. so, we are doing by bottle or we are going to pour it in a glass? >> anthony: how would you do it if i wasn't here? >> tao: i would pour it in the glass. >> antho: okay. >> tao: in vietnam, in particular in the north, it would be very improper for a woman to drink straight from the bottle. >> anthony: oh, really? oh, really? okay, well, i'm glad i know this now. cheers. tao is an eisenhower fellow and a fulbright scholar. she's devoted her career to help strengthen the bonds between vietnam and the u.s. today we drove to the outskirts
of hanoi. cranes, tall buildings, people moving from the country to the city, marc jacobs, prada, i mean, this is a very young country now. >> tao: oh, very much a young nation. they like to eat, uh, kentucky fried chicken. they like to spend a lot of the time on the internet. the history of our country is a history of a war. we had a thousand years under the chinese, and then we had 80 years under the french, and then the japanese came in, and when the americans left, finally, in 1975 we got involved with cambodia. so, we only have peace since 1989. just in the matter of a few decades the entire population will be those without any war experience, and that's a great thing. >> anthony: and what are we eating today? >> tao: well, we are going to have a bánh cun. >> anthony: and that means? >> tao: rice roll. very thin. >> anthony: like a crepe, uh -- >> tao: yes, it's like a crepe.
and inside ground minced pork and wood ear mushroom. >> anthony: ah. >> tao: you dip it in and then you go. >> anthony: mm. oh, that's very good. everything we do inteationall someone refers back to the vietnam experience. >> tao: mm-hmm. >> anthony: you know? "let's not do that again." or -- >> tao: "let's not repeat vietnam." >> anthony: but i find it interesting that the people who had, perhaps, the most painful experience were among the first to reach out. i think the john mccain story is particularly interesting because here's a guy who had an atrocious experience here in prison and yet he has been among the most vocal supporters of normalizing relations. >> tao: it took several trips to vietnam. and so he could see vietnam in a different light. it's no longer a war. it's a country with people.
>> anthony: have you been out with returning veterans from -- >> tao: oh, yes. all the time. >> anthony: did they often want to go to the area that they served? >> tao: oh, yes. >> anthony: did they often even meet with the people they fought? >> tao: yes. >> anthony: b-52 pilots come to the areas that they unloaded their bombs. >> tao: yes. >> anthony: what is that experience like? what do you see when they come? >> tao: extremely emotional. extremely emotional. people burst into tears. the memory i kept of you 45 years ago was an enemy. i did anything and everything to protect my life and to protect the people in my platoon.but, t again,ot as an enemy, as a person, everything just disappears. all the bad feelings disappear and now you actually get to know
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[ speaking vietnamese ] >> anthony: hanoi in the morning. the usual high-pitched whine of thousands of motorbikes. people, and the things they carry, coming out to work, to set up shop, the sound of commerce, of a wildly free-market economy in a system that's decidedly not. ♪ [ clapping ] ♪ >> anthony: when i first came here, it was tai chi at dawn, and that's still here, but there's also this. good to see you. >> ha: it's nice to see you too.
this is anh, my friend. >> anh: my name is anh, nice to meet you. >> ha: she's also my zumba instructor. >> anthony: ah. no zumba for me. breakfast, though, sounds good. how often a week do you think the average person cooks and how often do they eat out? >> ha: mostly we just cook at home for dinner because that's the only meal in the day that everybody can be together. but for other meals, normally we eat out. ♪ >> anthony: i meet my old friend ha in the edge of the old quarter, a place known as "cussing noodles." >> ha: this is my favorite, favorite restaurant. >> anthony: this place? >> ha: yes. >> anthony: the name comes from the owner, this lady, known for the free and frank way she communicates with her customers. i hear she yells at people. >> anh: yes. [ laughter ] [ speaking vietnamese ]
>> ha: if you go to her counter and order something and then if you're indecisive, like, "uh, can i have this? oh, no, no, no, no, no. no, maybe i have this instead." she's like, "i don't have a lot of time for you. so, just get out of here." >> anthony: really? >> ha: yeah. [ laughter ] [ owner speaking vietnamese ] >> anthony: and what's the specialty of the house here? >> ha: bún -- heo. means pig knuckles. >> anthony: pig knuckles. we know that's gonna be good. you put up with the abuse for this glorious, steaming bowl of rice noodles with spicy chilies, a rich, hearty, porky broth, with pig's knuckle and snout. it's the only item on the menu and it's good. >> ha: you know taro? >> anthony: yes, ah. >> ha: so, this is the stem of the taro plant. and to prepare this you have to be very careful because if you don't do it right then you get itchy mouth. >> anthony: toxic.
>> ha: no, no, no, not toxic. you won't die from it, but it makes your mouth really itchy, so -- >> anthony: interesting. mm. wow, that's delicious. >> ha: when people talk about vietnam they always say about spring rolls or pho. but i think this should be in, in the list. >> anthony: in the mix. >> ha: yeah. >> anthony: i'm easy. give me some spicy noodles, some pork, i'm happy every time. [ owner speaking vietnamese ] ♪ [ horns honking ] ♪ [ horns honking ] ♪
>> anthony: it's a maze of narrow streets and alleyways behind the old french cathedral. vendors set up stools and it's happy hour in hanoi. [ crowd chatters ] ♪ >> anthony: every doorway, every window, a little slice of life. ♪ a story all its own, lives lived, being lived, caught for a second, a moment, then gone.
>> lin: in vietnam, sometimes, to be truly friend -- to be friendly -- >> hai: yeah. >> lin: -- we have to drink until we are drunk. >> anthony: oh, well, okay. we must, we must. >> lin: cheers for friendship. >> anthony: lin din. my oldest friend in vietnam from the very beginning. many happy memories, my friend. we've been to saigon, can tho, a ang -- was my original minder for vietnam's ministry of foreign affairs. we became, in spite of his official responsibilities, fast friends. >> hai: one, two, three -- ba, yo! welcome back. welcome back. cheers. >> anthony: lin has brought me to a great and proud and uniquely hanoi tradition -- bia hoi. bia hoi refers to the roadside joints where locals gather to consume keg-dispensed, freshly brewed draft beer. ah, that's good. >> lin: it's not strong at all, my friend. just like between 3 to 4%.
>> anthony: ah, so we need to drink a lot. >> lin: yeah. >> hai: yeah. >> lin: cheers for hanoi beer. [ horns honking ] it was something luxurious 30 years -- >> hai: yeah. >> lin: -- ago. >> anthony: right. >> lin: and now it's for everyone. >> hai: yeah. >> lin: it's not expensive. ten thousand dong. >> anthony: so, that's -- >> hai: 40 cents. >> lin: 40, 45 cents. >> anthony: 45 cents a beer. >> both: yeah. >> anthony: i'll have another. i can afford that. ♪ the country's changed so much. when i first came, bicycles and motorbikes. now lot of cars. >> lin: more cars. >> anthony: you know, look, money. >> lin: yeah. >> anthony: people are making money. business is good, right? >> both: yeah. >> anthony: i mean, much, much, much more tourism every year, yes? >> hai: yes, yes. people also enjoy life more. ♪ [ engines rev ] [ horns honk ]
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ha long means "where the dragon descends into the sea" and legend says that this is where a great dragon charged, protecting vietnam from foreign invaders. war is a constant theme in vietnamese mythology and history. the chinese, the french, the japanese, the americans, the cambodians, again the chinese -- ♪ [ boat horn blows ] [ engine roars ] ♪ >> anthony: ha long bay has become, for better or worse, one of vietnam's most visited destinations.
fortunately, this time of year, anyway, you don't have to go too far to lose yourself in the past, find a quiet place where you can still imagine the great dragon's tail thrashing and churning and kicking up these great karsts of rock. [ boat horn blows ] chosen mode of transportation -- "the emeraude" -- an old french-era steamer refitted for more current-day needs. a big freakin' boat. and it's all mine -- along with friends and crew, of course. [ engine roars ] [ boat horn blows ]
♪ >> anthony: i like this boat. we're living a little larger than last time. last time the boat was not this nice. all the modern conveniences but the charms of the past. it fits perfectly with my over romantic delusions and, in general, it does not suck. ♪ hello, gentlemen. >> min: hi, tony. >> anthony: how are you doing? >> lin: we're having some gin and tonic.
>> anthony: gin and tonic, traditional vietnamese drink. well, not really, but all right. >> min: this is my first time trying this. >> anthony: yeah? >> min: yeah. >> lin: his first time. >> anthony: how old are you, anyway? wait a minute. you were 5 years old last time i was in ha long bay. >> lin: yeah. it's fine, he's 20 now. >> anthony: wow. tourists. >> anthony: all of this is protected, right? you can't do anything with -- on these rocks? >> lin: no. >> min: no. no. >> anthony: no. and how many of these islands? it's like 1,900 of these rocks out there? >> lin: 1,969. [ chuckles ] and this is a good number, you know? >> anthony: it's a lucky number? >> lin: six is for fortune and nine is for forever. so fortune forever.
>> anthony: a drink or two on the top deck, check. now for the rest of the day -- try to do a little as possible. a nap, sunset, maybe some more drinks. and what about dinner? >> lin: one for you. >> anthony: oh, thank you sir. >> lin: cheers, my friend. >> anthony: cheers. so, we're eating some squid. >> lin: tons of squid. >> anthony: tons of squid. >> lin: we tried to get as many tons as possible. >> anthony: cue the majesty of the squid. at night this time of year the bright lights of ha long bay's fishing boats are unmistakable. >> lin: they can only caught the squid in the evening. the light attracts the squid, so they can catch them. >> anthony: right. they say that because of global warming all the fish are dying but that the squid and cuttlefish populations are increasing. so, soon the whole sea will be filled with plenty of squid.
we'll be eating it every day. ♪ >> anthony: oh yeah. those are cute little squid. oh, those are going to be tender. whoo. mm oh, yeah. the tentacles are the best. >> man: to catch the squid is a very hard job. >> lin: they work all the night. >> man: all the night. >> lin: they work all the night. the light it turn on all the night. >> anthony: right, and then sleep all day? >> lin: yeah. >> anthony: it's got to be hot out there, man. sleeping in the day. >> lin: cheers for the day. >> anthony: cheers for the day. [ bottles clink ] the microsoft cloud helps us
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>> anthony: a morning swim, a bowl of spicy noodles, and a view. perfect. ♪ [ motor running ] how many in the family? >> ha: six. a young couple and their three kids. and then the grandma is living with them. the oldest kids they go and she was sent into the -- with some relatives to go to school because they have no school in here. >> anthony: right. floating fishing villages like this used to be found in nearly every sheltered cove or corner of ha long bay, but as vietnam becomes a more popular tourist destination, authentic fishing villages are starting to disappear. the government has been relocating fishing families inland, hoping to minimize their ecological impact. [ dog barking ]
>> ha: the people that are living on floating villages, they're just generally nice and willing to open their home to others and -- >> anthony: they basically farm oysters. >> ha: yeah, yeah. >> anthony: a lot of pearls for sale in ha long bay and in vietnam. they come from places like this. it takes over a year to grow each pearl, and there's no guarantee an oyster will even yield one. ♪ water spinach, i think that's called, right? >> ha: water spinach. that's the most common vegetable for vietnamese people in summertime. >> anthony: yes. mm-hmm. >> ha: yeah. >> anthony: what kind of fish are these? little fish. [ laughter ] >> ha: yeah, ha long fish. >> anthony: ha long fish. >> ha: yeah. >> anthony: it's delicious. good fish. this is a pretty prime piece of real estate.
they've lived here how long? >> ha: for many generations. this old grandma is 78 years old and she said that her grandparents lived here before this all became, like, a big tourist attraction. >> anthony: is their situation protected by the state? they're allowed to live here by special, because they've been here so long? >> ha: actually, the government now is in fact reaching them to move back to shore because that's better for the children's education. [ woman speaking vietnamese ] >> ha: they said that they're happy to move back because it's better for their children, but they've been living here for many, many centuries and all they know is fishing. >> anthony: right. [ thunder crashes ]
♪ >> anthony: just another day in paradise. a tropical downpour in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of hanoi. the lady selling vegetables and gum and cigarettes taking a nap under a piece of corrugated tin has no idea what's about to %-p around for me, sir? [ horns honking ] thank you, sir. ♪ one, two, get down ♪ [ whistles blowing ]
♪ look at me know what you see ♪ ♪ you see a bad mother [ cheers and applause ] ♪ look at me know what you see ♪ ♪ you see a bad mother >> anthony: mr. president. >> president obama: good to see you. >> anthony: good to see you. mr. president, how do you like it in vietnam? >> president obama: love it. markets like these, i grew up with. when i was a kid in jakarta, these were basically the only markets available. you would buy pretty much everything in stalls like this. you know, i wouldn't mind going in there and haggling and seeing what i can find. [ laughter ] >> anthony: this country, when i first arrived here, it smelled like a place that i would like. certain countries just pheromonically, they just smell good and i know they're gonna be good. it -- do you kinda smell that? >> president obama: you know, there's certain spices that you can smell in certain countries
that you just don't smell back home. now, you know, there are some smells that aren't as appealing as well, but that's part of the mix. so -- >> anthony: it is indeed. >> president obama: yeah. ♪ how are you doing, guys? how are you? [ cheers and applause ] ♪ known for its perfect storm of tiny bubbles, it has long been called the champagne of beers. ♪ if you've got the time welcome to the high life. ♪ we've got the beer ♪ miller beer
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[ horns honking ] ♪ >> anthony: there's something magical about the smell. the minute you touch down here, it grabs you, captivates you, and chances are, it holds you forever. i'm not the first to feel this way. ♪ there is no better place to entertain the leader of the free world, in my opinion, than one of these classic, funky, family-run noodle shops you find all over hanoi. dinner and a beer costs about $6. i'm guessing the president
doesn't get a lot of state dinners like this. [ dog barking ] ♪ [ bottles clink ] how often do you get to sneak out for a beer? >> president obama: very rarely. [ laughter ] well, first of all, i don't get to sneak out, period. >> anthony: right. >> president obama: but the -- once in a while, i'll take michelle out on a date night. the problem is, part of enjoying a restaurant is sitting with other patrons and enjoying the atmosphere. and too often we end up getting shunted into one of those private rooms in the back. >> anthony: well, i'm glad i could help and to many more cold beers. >> president obama: i appreciate it. absolutely. ♪ >> president obama: all right. you're going to have to -- >> anthony: i will walk you through. >> president obama: you're gonna have to walk me through this. >> anthony: we're about to eat bún cha. and it is about as typical and
uniquely a hanoi dish as there is. these beautiful little pork patties, grilled pork belly. bun cha is served in a broth of vinegar, sugar, and the ubiquitous nuoc cham, or vietnamese fermented fish sauce. chilies to taste. i mean, if you have an important state function after, you might not want to go too heavy on the garlic. >> president obama: you know what, i'm going with this thing. you know? we're gonna do what's appropriate. >> anthony: a little vinegar. >> president obama: all right. >> anthony: and then you just hack off noodles, you just drop them in your bowl. >> president obama: yeah, that's not too elegant, but i managed it. >> anthony: and dip and stir and get ready for the awesomeness. >> president obama: i'm ready. now, is it appropriate to just pop one of these whole suckers in your uth or do you think that you should be a little more -- ? >> anthony: well, slurping is totally acceptable in this part of the world, but -- [ laughter ] it takes some skills, by the way, to handle these sticky, cold noodles. but whatever your opinion of the man, the president has those skills. >> president obama: mm.
>> anthony: i gotta say. >> president obama: this is killer. this is outstanding. >> anthony: oh, so good to hear. >> president obama: it's really good. >> anthony: and we share, apparently, sentimentality about asian street food and southeast asia in general. >> president obama: one of my favorite meals of all time -- there's an area between jakarta and bandung, another city in indonesia, called puncak. and it's up through the mountains. so you'd have these roadside restaurants overlooking the tea fields, there'd be a river running through the restaurant itself, and there'd be these fish, these carp, that would be running through. you'd pick the fish, they grab it for you and fry it up, and the skin would be real crispy, and they just serve it with a bed of rice and it was the simplest meal possible and nothing tasted so good. >> anthony: now, as a chicagoan, trickier question fraught with peril. is ketchup on a hotdog ever acceptable? >> president obama: no. [ laughter ] no, but i mean that. that's one of those things, like -- well, let me put it this way.
it's not acceptable past the age of 8. >> anthony: my daughter's 8 and she put ketchup on eggs the other day. and i, i real -- i didn't know what i could, what good parenting called for at this point. >> president obama: an intervention. >> anthony: i think so too. >> president obama: i think you just gotta say, "you know what? that's not acceptable. i'm sorry." ♪ >> anthony: we are at a point where we seem to be turning inwards. i mean, we're actually talking about building a wall around our country. and yet, you have been reaching out to people who don't necessarily agree with us -- gaza, iran, cuba -- i mean, i just wish that more americans had passports. the extent to which you can see how other people live seems useful, at worst, and incredibly pleasurable and interesting at best. >> president obama: it confirms the basic truth that people everywhere are pretty much the same. the same hopes and dreams.
and when you come to a place like vietnam and you see former american vietnam vets coming back, when you see somebody like a john kerry or a john mccain, two very different people politically and temperamentally, but who were able to bond in their experience of meeting with their former adversaries. and you don't make peace with your friends. you make peace with your enemies. ♪ >> anthony: as a father of a young girl, is it all gonna be okay? it's all gonna work out? my daughter will be able to come here. in five years, ten years, she'll be able to have a bowl of bun cha and the world will be a better place? >> president obama: uh, yeah. i mean, i think progress is not a straight line. you know? there are gonna be moments at any given part of the world where things are terrible. but having said all that, i think things are gonna work out. >> anthony: thank you so much. >> president obama: cheers.
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>> anthony: you used to be a tour guide. >> ha: yes. >> anthony: for how many years? >> ha: 15 years. >> anthony: 15 years. i know you have bring people over to the museum, the american war museum, what, every time, right? >> ha: yep. >> anthony: in your lifetime, is there going to be a time when that's not gonna have to be a stop? it won't be necessary. it won't even be important. no one will remember it. or should people always remember? >> ha: i think it's good to remember so we don't make the same mistake, you know? some people choose to be angry, to hold a grudge, but then some people choose to let go and, for the peace inside themselves. that's up to the person. and, i think it's good that, that -- it's important that we know about history.
>> ha: for vietnamese, we have so many legends. but the majority of legends related to our traditions of fighting against foreign invaders and to protect our country. over the last 20 years of my life, i've seen a lot of changes. and we know that there's still a lot of shortcoming. [ bells ringing ] but everything needs time. we need to be patient. we can't rush because we really don't want another war. >> anthony: general william westmoreland, who commanded u.s. forces here in the mid-'60s, famously said, "the oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a westerner. life is plentiful. life is cheap in the orient."
it was an extraordinary grotesque and wrongheaded observation from a guy who, if nothing else, was expected to understand his enemy on the battlefield. he could not, it turned out, do even that. maybe, i hope, we are a little bit smarter now. ♪ [ horns honking ] ♪ [ horns honking ] ♪ [ horns honking ]