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Bizarre Foods host on new program

Updated: 2017-08-04 09:11

Bizarre Foods host on new program

Andrew Zimmern samples Taiwan noodle soup and pork roll at Happy Stony Noodle in Elmhurst, Queens in New York. [Photo/Agencies]

Andrew Zimmern, host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods, thinks he's misunderstood.

He says he's known as "fat guy runs around world, eats bugs". But he adds, "I don't think I've eaten a bug or an organ in Bizarre Foods in years."

"I purposely set out to make a show that's entertaining," he says. "At the same time I try to be very thoughtful and thought-provoking."

The show's current season focuses on American destinations, along with their history and social context. And a new show, The Zimmern List, debuts early 2018 showcasing his favorite places, "where I actually go when the cameras aren't rolling."

Zimmern, a chef who's won four James Beard awards, invites reporters to follow him in Queens, New York, for a glimpse of what The Zimmern List will be like.

In the Astoria neighborhood, he samples cured meats and pastries at Muncan Food Corp, founded by an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia. Then he has a goat dish called katakat at Kababish, which serves Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi food in Jackson Heights. He finishes with Taiwan noodle soup, pork roll and minced vegetables at Happy Stony Noodle in Elmhurst.

Here are some excerpts from the wide-ranging chat with Zimmern.

Finding good food

"I google local food writers. ... I look up who are the most famous chefs on the Eater Heatmap but I also look on the Michelin guide and see who are the three-star Michelin chefs."

"People forget that if you go onto Instagram or Twitter, you can actually click on someone's feed and look at their timeline and you can flip back and back and back. So if I want to know where's great to eat in Italy, I'll look and see where Michael White and Mario Batali and all these other chefs have eaten when they've been in Italy last year."

Most bizarre food

"In Samoa, we had a coral worm that swims up from the bottom of the ocean, thousands of feet, and dies in the sun and then falls back down and fertilizes the coral.... To eat that worm when it floats to the surface with the natives, I can't think of something stranger. Enset, which is a bread, made from pounded palm roots that's buried in the ground for months and fermented before it's baked, that some of the tribal Ethiopians still make in that country... that's certainly strange.

"People always ask me, 'What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?' and I'm just like, 'None of it is strange to the people who are eating it there.' I've not eaten any of those foods in America."


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