It’s been more than four years since the death of Anthony Bourdain, but his legend has only grown since then. Since 2018, we’ve seen the high-profile releases of a travel book, a memoir, a controversial documentary, an unauthorized biography—across every medium, stories have been told and retold about the chef whose desire to learn about new places felt, above all else, urgent. But looking at a map of everywhere Bourdain traveled (and ate) on TV, you get a sense of the vastness of what he achieved.
According to credits listed on the site, the map is the work of Reddit user deannd and was built by designer Peter Keating. According to deannd, it took years of painstaking work, and it shows: the comprehensive world map is covered in an unfathomable amount of pins, listing every restaurant Bourdain patronized as well as what he ate there. The Cliff’s notes for each episode are contained within each pin on the map, detailing a meaningful life in food.
- In Breves, Brazil: “Tony stays here in this remote eco-resort. He goes on a boat and catches a huge pirarucu fish and the hotel staff cooks it for him over a grill with tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.”
- In Sharqiya Sands, Oman: “Tony camped out here in the desert and ate a meal with locals. They cooked the meal on the fire.”
- In Accra, Ghana: “Open 5pm to 2am. Food market selling many different foods. Tony’s guide buys different ingredients from the street food vendors and assembles a plate with roast pork, spinach, beans, and rice.”
- In Almeria, Spain: “Tony went to a moraga (a beach barbecue) with chefs Juan Andres Moria and Rafael Luca, and friends. They had dried tuna on toast with spicy olive oil, fish, cheese, pate, grilled octopus, sea bream, pork tenderloin, and morcilla (blood sausage).”
But there’s only so much time in a day, and only so much footage in a TV season. There are so many places here in the United States where Bourdain never ate (at least not on camera), locations we would have loved to hear him opine about. According to the map, here are all the states with no established Bourdain TV appearances:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
Despite never having visited 18 US states with his No Reservations and/or Parts Unknown camera crew, the cities Bourdain did manage to visit illustrate, in the aggregate, the awe-inspiring variation in the American landscape—its cities, its wildlife, its topography, its people, its food, its culture. And while I would have loved to watch footage of Bourdain encountering a maple creemee in Vermont or figuring out how to attack a giant pork tenderloin sandwich in Indiana, what he offered us instead was the chance to be won over by something entirely new to us. Seeing all the red dots on this map, I can’t imagine anyone has ever done it better.