The Countries Where Andrew Zimmern Was Dying To Visit On Bizarre Foods

Throughout 12 seasons, 350 episodes, and 13 years, Andrew Zimmern, host of "Bizarre Foods," took viewers around the world to more than 170 countries, per Forbes. The four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality embarked on a journey to feast on foods that would make the average American's stomach churn. Some of the absolute worst foods Zimmern ate for the show over the years included larvae in Peru, fermented shark in Iceland, jellied moose nose in Alaska, and 3,000-year-old bog butter in Ireland.

But the best foods Zimmern ate left a lasting impression on him, according to his exclusive interview with Mashed. He said some of his best meals came from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as well as Chengdu, China, and Paris, France, cities he called "real temples of gastronomy." During his stint on television, one of his favorite foods came from his time living with the Ju'hoansi in Botswana. There, he witnessed the hunting of giant desert porcupines, weighing 80 to 100 pounds, which he joked to The Takeout looked like the "rodent from 'The Princess Bride.'"

"Bizarre Foods" faced some criticism in the past due to perceptions of it as "a show about a fat white guy that goes around the world and eats bugs," as Zimmern said in an interview with Men's Health. But these were not his intentions. Instead, he said it was his attempt to "preach about patience, tolerance, and understanding."

Czech Republic, Afghanistan, and Uruguay make Zimmern's list

While there are several countries Zimmern and his crew never reached, he told viewers in a recent Q&A session that there were three main places he wishes he'd visited. While the celebrity chef and TV personality traveled across Europe, tasting fried calf brains, Italian tripe, fish meatballs, and stuffed pig heads, he never made it to the Eastern European nation of the Czech Republic on "Bizarre Foods." Zimmern did, however, spend an episode in Prague for the spinoff series, "Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations." He tried hearty comfort foods like pork knuckles marinated in lager, mushroom soup, and sweet plum pastries.

The Taliban-controlled country of Afghanistan also made Zimmern's list. He told fans the reason why he hoped to visit the war-torn country at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia was because he "believes in the power of food to make positive change in the world." Zimmern said he would generally like to travel to places where stories involving food could "make a positive impact on how we see the people there on the ground," which he claimed was a huge takeaway from his episode in pre-civil war Syria.

Finally, the celebrity chef revealed that Uruguay is the final place he has yet to travel in South America. "One of the most important ways to learn about another culture," Zimmern told Forbes, "is through its food."