Anthony Bourdain's Secret To Avoiding Food Poisoning When Traveling

It's been nearly three years since Anthony Bourdain, famed chef, travel writer, and host of Parts Unknown and No Reservations, died (via Independent). But Bourdain is still teaching the world how to eat, both with a posthumous book (World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, co-written by his assistant, Laurie Woolever, and due out later this month) and through the words and works that he left behind.

In an interview with NPR in 2017, Bourdain dispelled the notion that food-borne illnesses must come with the territory: "I've lost three days of work in 16 years. [...] only three days that I've been, you know, down for the count and confined to bed and desperately, horribly ill." For a man who has eaten local food all over the world in his travels, from spoiled shark in Iceland to unwashed warthog rectum in Namibia, just three measly bouts of food poisoning is pretty impressive.

Bourdain says if you eat like a local, you can't go wrong

"I eat what locals eat," Bourdain explained to Newsweek in 2016. And indeed, shows like Parts Unknown, his CNN travel and food show, were centered around the chef's fearless approach to food, travel, and exploring the world outside of his own comfort zone (via CNN). "I've long found that the person on our crew most likely to get sick is the one who is sort of wary of street and local food. They always get sick from eating the breakfast buffet at the hotel," Bourdain told Newsweek.

Bourdain went on to tell Newsweek that the meaningful relationships he forged around the world were anchored in his willingness to try things because to reject someone's food is to reject their culture and their desire to connect. Overall, Bourdain said he and his crew don't often get sick with this approach. "When someone does get sick, it's always because in Lahore they just couldn't resist a Caesar salad or cheeseburger or wrap. That's always the fatal error," he said.

On a more pragmatic level, eating street tacos from the guy on the corner just makes sense: "They're serving food to their neighbors," Bourdain told Newsweek. "They rely on the repeat business of their neighbors. Poisoning neighbors is not a good business model."