tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN December 24, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
hue in central vietnam is someplace i've never been before, but it's still vietnam with all the things, the smells, the sounds, the details i love so much. first night in country, it's like sliding into a warm, deeply comforting familiar bath. i've been all over vietnam, a place i feel a special connection to. my first love, a place i remain, besotted with, fascinated by. so back in vietnam, one of my favorite places on earth. and all of the things i need for happiness. plastic stool, check, tiny little plastic table, check. oh.
something delicious in a bowl, check. in this case a local specialty, com hen, clam rice, sweet clams out of their shells, tossed with a wild swirl of mung beans, spicy green chilies, crunchy roasted peanuts, fried pork rind andsy leandro. and a similar variation with rice noodles. that fish sauce with chilies in it, and, oh, that'll just singe your eyebrows off. throw some chilies in. hit with hot clam broth, and you're on your way. i'm back. back in vietnam. shit-eating grin for the duration. a giddy, silly, foolish man beyond caring. and a cold local beer.
my preferred brand. whenever in hue. ah. clams with pork cracklings. how could that not be good? this is the way so many of the great meals of my life have been enjoyed. sitting in the street, eating something out of a bowl that i'm not exactly sure what it is. scooters going by. [ horns honking ] so delicious. i feel like an animal. where have you been all my life? fellow travelers, this is what you want. this is what you need. this is the path to true happiness and wisdom. ♪
[ singing in foreign language ] ♪ >> located on the north and south banks of the perfume river in central vietnam, mountains behind, sea ahead, an arrangement determined by criteria both military and spiritual. for 143 years, hue was the seat of power for the dynasty which ruled the entire country until the late 1800s when the french started taking power and land under their control. the french allowed the imperial throne to rule nominally the center of the country until the end of world war ii in 1945.
hue has been celebrated for its dynastic architectures since the early 1800s, vast palaces, pagodas, and tombs. the center is wealth of the intellectual, artistic, culinary and religious life of the country. ♪ oh, yeah, that's tempting. it's around here somewhere. this is dong ba market, and deep inside, somewhere in there is what i want. in my way of thinking, in the
hierarchy of delicious, slurpee stuff in a bowl, this is at the very top. he is an author and journalist that spent much of his childhood in hue. >> if i'm going to die, if i'm going to go to prison and they give me my last meal, this would be it. >> this will be it. >> let's do it, man. >> here he creates an elaborate broth of mixed bones scented with a lemongrass, spice, and fermented shrimp paste. at the bottom, rice noodles garnished, heaped with tender slow cooked beef shank, crabmeat dumplings, pig's foot, and blood cake. garnished with lime wedge, cilantro, green onions, chili sauce, shredded banana blossoms, and mung bean sprouts, it's a wonder of flavor and texture. the greatest soup in the world. look at that, man, that is just unbelievable. blood cake. >> blood cake.
>> the sauce. i want to see how much he put in there. >> you have to make it look really red in there, it has to be blood red. >> and the broth is wonderful. people are put on earth for various purposes, i was put on earth to do this. eat noodles right here. >> when i was a kid, we used to tell each other, do not take a date to go out to eat the stuff. if you start sweating, your hair will stick up. >> really? i would definitely bring a date to this, if she doesn't like this, there's no hope of a relationship. >> exactly. >> if she said i don't know, there's icky stuff in there, that would be a relationship-ender for me. i'm not kidding. >> i mean, here you are having it in a market like this. but if she makes this in a place like new york or paris, it would be a real cuisine. >> it's just as sophisticated a bowl of food as any french restaurant.
it really is just the top of the mountain. how long has she been here? >> she started out when she was 12. >> you live in a great country, man, any country that could produce this is a superpower, as far as i'm concerned. i'm getting down to the pepper residue at the bottom. how long does that broth have to simmer to get good? [ speaking a foreign language ] >> it's an hour. >> wow, really? i would have guessed like 14 hours. yum. happy. nice burny feeling on my lips, flop sweat, check. happy. so, we can pretty much cancel the rest of the show. i've achieved the -- my happy zone. it's really all downhill from here.
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♪ my oldest friend in vietnam. lin. originally assigned to translate, to guide, to escort, and to report on me back in 2000 when i first came to this country. lin, how are you, brother? >> my brother. >> good to see you. his responsibilities to his employers have never been an impediment to our friendship. we meet where you pick your own seafood out of the tank, and you cook it yourself. you really do look exactly the same. you look good. >> yeah? >> oh, yeah. >> you look the same. no trace of time on your face. >> my hair is white, i have the pictures. i look completely different in 2000. >> people told me the seafood is from the lagoon over here.
it is one of the biggest ones in southeast asia. >> i'm going for some eel. seasoned with lemongrass, green chile and pepper and drizzled with house special sauce. grill over charcoal and dig in. >> i have the picture with you. >> oh, you have some old photos. oh, look at me, come on. i look like my young son here. look at this. i look like i'm 30 years younger. >> my son. ming. >> he's now 17. >> oh, my god, he's going to college soon. wow. oh, this is the island of mr. sang. >> dong cho island on hanoi bay. >> hanoi? >> by the west lake. >> oh, my god, look at that. we look cool. we totally look cool here. but does everybody fall in love with the country like i did? i came here, and it stole my heart. you know. >> i think it's a very good meeting point.
between vietnam and america. but in the past, it was over, and now is a new time. >> mm-mm. wow, that's great. dude, that's pretty spicy. perfect with beer. >> we need more drinks. >> lobster from the south china sea. give it a nice haircut table side, and it's perfect. >> mm-mm. >> sweet? >> sweet, just like i remember. >> yeah. >> yep. i'm a sentimental guy. >> sometimes at work i try to be serious, and i just think about work, but i don't know why, when i meet you, i just think about drinking and getting something good to eat. one more cheer. >> good to see you again, my friend.
its been a long time since my old friend and i met. a hell of a lot of road with this guy. ♪ one of the great joys of life is riding a scooter through vietnam. to be part of this mysterious, thrilling, beautiful choreography. thousands upon thousands of people, families, friends, lovers, each an individual story glimpsed for a second or two in passing, sliding alongside, pouring like a torrent through the city. a flowing, gorgeous thing. as you ride, you not only see, but overhear a hundred intimate moments in miniature.
you smell wonderful unnamed things cooking issuing from storefronts and food stalls. the sounds of beeping, laughing. announcements from speakers, the putt putt and roar of a million tiny engines. hue's place in history long regarded as the heart of the imperial dynasty changed forever during the vietnam war. ♪ in 1968, hue became the site of some of the most bitter fighting of the war. during the lunar new year, the tet holiday, usually there was a
cessation of hostilities, more than 100 cities all over south vietnam were attacked by the north vietnamese and vc. hue quickly fell. you have seen these images. it was footage like this that turned finally a great part of the american public against the war. ♪ the u.s. marines fought house to house to retake the city. a vicious 3 1/2-week-long battle. eventually, artillery and air support were called in. the city was saved. and, of course, largely destroyed in the saving. the civilian population caught in the cross fire were equally devastated. the north vietnamese to their
enduring shame had while controlling the city rounded up anyone seen as a potential enemy and either disappeared them away to unknown prisons or killed them outright. most notoriously when they massacred almost 3,000 people, rolling them, many of them still alive in mass graves in and around hue. duk knows full well the horrors and heartbreak of that time. in his memoir, "where the ashes are: the odyssey of an american family," he captures the terror of a nine-year-old boy, the son of a high ranking south vietnamese civil servant caught up in the nightmare of war. where were you in 1968? >> i was at the place where it's now a hotel. my parents were staying there, we were staying there, we were surrounded during the night, we didn't even know. my father looked out the window and just thought it was south vietnamese soldiers. everybody was surprised. in those days we thought the war was something happening out in the battlefields in the
mountains, out in the countryside, and all of a sudden, we come here, and there's the flag of the national liberation front, and to see that was just complete shock. so we stayed for a week in the basement, and the american soldiers came. by that time they had marched my father away, the north vietnamese soldiers, we didn't know where he was taken to and we had no idea whether he was alive or not. my mother went out to the mass graves when they were discovered and she saw the bodies and she said, i can't go there and look for him. ♪ >> a lot of people died here. >> you cannot help thinking about these people who died when they're young, who died for no reason, who just got caught in the firefights. we have the day of the dead here, the day of the wandering souls.
we honor those who are not buried within their home village, and are not taken care of, their spirits are not taken care of. there are families here who don't have a death date which is huge, a death anniversary in the vietnamese is when you do the ceremonies, you pay attention to the dead. you can't do that if you don't know when they really died. you just assume those people are just never liberated spiritually, that they are stuck in that space. it was like that for my father because he was in prison, we had no news from him. you couldn't set up an altar. you just hoped that he was alive. 10, 12, 15 of your friends are going out and doing things, you just had that weight on you that your father is somewhere imprisoned or in the jungles. and that stuff stayed with me for 40 years in my mind. i don't know how many vietnamese have that kind of experience. at the same time, i come back to
hue, my hometown, my family's hometown, i'm glad people are alive, people are living, things are happening, things are changing. we need to let the country open up and let the people have a moment of enjoyment, have a better life. >> i mean, obviously i'm an outsider, but it just seems to me as a casual observer, you can pretty much survive anything. >> that's what my brother reminds me when i used to get all upset about things happening in vietnam. he said, look, it survived 4,000 years. it will do okay. when you ask me to be hopeful, i am hopeful. because it's a young country. it's a young population. it's energetic, and that drives me, that gives me hope that makes me young, that makes me to want to believe in this country and this town. such a wonderful place to be. coughing...sniffling...
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something of a throwback, an anomaly, a creature from another earlier time in the life of the one time imperial city. she lives in an area called the tian hill, in a magnificently restored compound. these traditional wooden houses were once part of the regal style with slope grooves to handle all the rainy hue weather. but most importantly, they feature a garden at the center, which follows the eastern philosophy that all things originate from a single source and expand in all directions. since the loss of her beloved son, she's lived here. surrounded by her garden and her art. occasionally, she invites guests and friends. there's duk, writer and food blogger, lon, art collector, jean-francois uber and phillipe. >> your home, this is also a gallery?
>> yes, i design and my people work. >> she also cooks, magnificently from a repertoire of imperial hue dishes numbering over 100. back in dynastic times, the emperors demanded variety in wives of whom sometimes they'd have over 100, and in food. the menus of the 19th century imperial palaces boasted new dishes every night. small, flavorful, and beautifully presented. and that culinary tradition which gave hue the reputation of a food capital continues today. how much of that persists? those imperial roots, that need for variety? [ speaking a foreign language ] >> translator: yes, the tradition has stayed and it will stay forever here to cook all these different things all the time. >> we start with bird's nest soup. a delicacy to which i am usually immune.
this one is unusually flavorful. these are swallow's nests from high up on cliffs. near natrang. they're soaked in water, cooked in chicken stock, and served with crab meat. lotus seeds, a symbol of purity, nobility and patience from a nearby lake steamed. crab row is mixed with red onion, pepper, and seasoning and added to the soup and simmered. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> the symbolic and health aspects of many of these dishes not to be overlooked. this is fantastic. lovely. how does hue differ from the rest of vietnam? >> a wonderful architecture and
very quiet people. if you stay some time in hue, after some day you feel quiet, you take your time. [ speaking a foreign language ] [ speaking a foreign language ] >> goi hue is a traditional dish that's seldom made these days because of the complexity and the time needed to do it right. a fish stock is made from the fish of the perfume river. pineapples, onion, chilies, shallots, and coriander. a salad of quickly cooked prawns, rice noodles, ginger, red chili, garlic and galangon.
layer of rice noodles, banana flower, then the prawns and garnishes. the strained fish stock is brought to the table with the salad in separate bowls and combined just before eating. ♪ >> spicy for you? >> no, it's good. i love it. >> it is very spicy. >> oh, no, i like it. what i found when i first came to this part of the world, vietnam in particular, my palette changed. i needed an elevated level of chilies and heat. much of vietnamese cooking abided by principles of ying and yang. heat and cold. this one, a lobster dish with five spices, balances the coldness of the lobster with the heat of the spices. red onion, ginger, lemongrass
and chilies are added to the boiling water to cook the lobster. once the lobster's cooked, it's presented in a bowl of lime leaves. and the stock is poured over it. whoa. that's beautiful. we're getting into this with our hands, i'm guessing. i like this. >> the winter here is unbelievable. it's very cold and wet and that's why we have chili to keep us warm. >> boitron spoils all of us with a succession of dishes. but the past as it often does in a place like this intrudes. >> its dealt with a lot of suffering. the people are very withdrawn in some ways.
smiling, but off course as they remember everything. they have to remember the war in 1968. >> i was visiting my grandfather's house, and i got goose bumps because i knew during the war in 1968 lots of people were killed, and they were buried on all the sidewalks there, and i'd walk around there and i feel it. it's dark, it's somber, and the history is there. >> they say every meter of hue is a dead person. my ma'am, she never wanted me to go home after like 10:00. she'd get angry if i go home at 11:00 or something. must scare me so i go home at 9:00. i tried to go home very early. >> riding a boat along the river, you sort of feel there are things living in the water and in the trees and in the darkness out there.
what are they willing to endure in the furtherance of their cause? these one would think are simple questions, useful in any conflict. meet the enemy. okay. he was only an infant during our nine-year-long war, but his experience should be instructive. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> in 1965, the united states initiated a sustained bombing campaign called rolling thunder hoping to destroy an elusive enemy in villages like this one. vinh moc which was less than 20 miles from forward u.s.
marine fire bases just south of the dmz. this is where he was born. as the target of frequent bombings, the village of vinh moc moved underground up to 100 feet down into darkness. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> the villagers carved over 5,000 feet of tunnels out of the earth creating a complex that would house all 90 families of vinh moc. 13 entrances and exits leading from the inland to the beach. showing me through the labyrinth is this kum tok. born in hue during wartime, she since moved to the dmz to work as a guide. how did they dispose of all of this earth and rock without reveelg the tunnels? >> the craters, the craters were everywhere on the landscape of
the moon, and you know, the dirt of the craters are so fresh, look new, so they just left them there. >> this was the maternity ward where ton was born. >> where did people sleep? >> they have sleeping places. just like this, but smaller. two square meters only, just enough to put a bamboo bed. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> how long did it take to build? >> 20 months of digging. >> 20 months of digging. >> by hand. >> by hand. with hoes and -- you know, the farmer dug with their tools. >> right. >> under the bombing. >> while the bombing is going on, they're down here digging this out. [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> wow. how many children here? [ speaking in foreign language ] >> how did they play? [ speaking in foreign language ] >> so much of the time you were in total darkness. >> yeah. >> you don't even -- you can't see your mother. >> some people say that even when the parents, you know, fit the children, they need to touch their face and find their mouth and feed them. >> wow. children played here. but people also emerged from these tunnels to kill or cripple americans, to shoot them, to plant booby traps, and that's what they did. six years in darkness.
and at the end of the war, the people of vinh moc emerged from that darkness. and what did they do? ♪ what was that like after living in darkness for so long? what was it like to come out and be able to spend the rest of his life in the sun? [ speaking in foreign language ] [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> thank you, wow, ready. >> thank you. >> looks kind of like a mackerel. mm-mm. good. >> good? >> yeah. >> really? >> yes. >> last question, hypothetical, if the french or the japanese, or the americans, suddenly decided they wanted for some reason to come back, would he fight? [ speaking in foreign language ] >> that's different.
>> they're all welcome if they're tourists. when i booked this trip, my friends said i was crazy. why would i stay in someone else's house? but this morning, a city i've never been to felt like one i already knew. i just wanted to thank you for sharing your world with me. it felt like home. airbnb. belong anywhere. and this year, look at whate he put in our driveway. the lexus december to remember sales event is here. lease the 2016 es350 for $349 a month for 36 months
at tanzang lagoon, however, early morning is the up end of a workday, as fishermen who have been out on the water all night come in and sell their catch in the early mist. ♪ i'm meeting up with lon for what she's promised will be a very tasting afternoon snack. kwon bonaulait is set back from a quiet lane in the outskirts of town. it's a neighborhood place
specializing in this. banh bao, little pancake-like things made of rice flour, steamed in molds, and topped with crispy fried shallots and crumbled fried shrimp. show me how you eat this. >> i have this when i was a little girl. so you try to pick it up like this. >> right. i got it. just cut around the edge here. >> i feel so clumsy. its been a while. >> fold it over. oh, it just -- mm-mm. this is great. >> this is so nostalgic to me. when i was younger, i'd be noon -- and my mom would ask me to take a noon nap and if i took a nap she would buy me some banh. and i would sit there in front
of our house waiting. >> waiting. >> waiting for her, with a dish, empty dish waiting for her. she would come and my mom would say who eat the most? >> a stack. ooh. what are they eating in the banana leaf? are we having one of those too? >> we have everything. >> oh, good. okay. i don't want to leave anything out here. >> it's made of tapioca with pork and shrimp from the lagoon, wrapped like a tamale in banana leaf, then steamed. >> so, you can open. it's an art in vietnam. we learn how to wrap the thing and unwrap the thing. you learn how to unwrap the thing, it's an art. >> oh really. i'm watching you. let's get this right. >> you do it perfect. i think you an expert. maybe the life before you were born here. >> in a past life. >> yeah. >> yes. so this is shrimp. >> uh-huh. >> pick it up and dip, right?
mm-mm, very nice. they're pretty too. look at that. >> it's very honest. you can see what's inside. >> you call this type of eating an-choi. >> an-choi. is like for fun or playing. >> recreational eating. >> yeah. >> so it's not a main meal. it's snacking? >> yeah. >> banh ram meat is a delicious marriage of fried and sticky rice dumplings. it starts with frying the paste in cooking oil. then unpeeled shrimp are stuffed into dough. place the chewy part with the crunchy part and sprinkle with chopped, fried shrimp. oh, wow, oh, that is awesome. what is underneath? >> a rice base. >> right, oh, okay. >> but on the top is thin. at the back is fried. >> oh, that's great. oh, it's nice and crispy and
greasy. i love it. anybody would love this. it's just amazing. >> it's a combination between the soft and -- >> the soft and the crispy, crunchy. delicious. ♪ i use what's already inside me to reach my goals. so i liked when my doctor told me i may reach my blood sugar and a1c goals by activating what's within me. with once-weekly trulicity. trulicity is not insulin. it helps activate my body to do what it's supposed to do release its own insulin. trulicity responds when my blood sugar rises. i take it once a week, and it works 24/7.
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i'm meeting my friends for a country lunch. what's the specialty at this restaurant? you're saying chicken baked in clay? >> yes. >> another friend from the past, ha pham, lin, of course, lon and a new friend tan. a last meal, some good-byes. >> i have a question. what make you stay so long? because normally travelers come and stay only one or two nights. what's your impressions about it? >> it's very laid back. >> uh-huh. >> the food's great. it's pretty. there's a lot to see. it's a perfect place to go if you want to take your time. it's beautiful to me. ♪ food's coming.
>> out here, there are a lot of dishes like this. fill a chicken with lemongrass, wrap it in banana leaves and cover it with clay from the rice paddies. cook in a burning pile of straw, if you like. unwrap carefully tableside. section with shears. >> smells so good. make me hungry. >> serve with a little lime and salt, maybe some chili sauce. [ laughter ] >> squash, bitter melon and morning glory greens for veggies. >> looks good. >> some unexpected last words. >> on behalf of people of hue, thank you for you coming. >> thank you for having me. >> we wish you would have a blessed trip, safe and sound and success. >> thank you. >> i learned many things from american. i still remember some poems. on snowy evenings.
i can sing it. >> please. >> sometime drink a lot of beer. ♪ this is house is in the village. you're going to see me stopping here. [ indiscernible ] clear to stop without a farmhouse near [ indiscernible ] he gives a second to ask if there's some mistakes. the only other sound [ indiscernible ] and something else -- >> bravo. [ applause ] >> so we wish you have a good trip, a good fly. will you come back after you return to new york? >> i'll come back to vietnam, always. cheers, everybody, and thank you, all of you, for all of your help. >> cheers one more time.