The season premiere of Parts Unknown uses reverse chronology to tell the story of the host's return trip to South Korea after a 10-year absence. Bourdain experiences the nuances of hyper-modern Seoul which has its sights set on becoming the world's top exporter of popular culture. Food options include Korean fried chicken, and a vintage Korean "army" stew, budae jjigae, with Spam, canned baked beans, frankfurters, ramen noodles and Kimchi.
"Curiosity pays unexpected dividends", observes Iggy Pop, legendary rock musician, Miami resident and one of Bourdain's local guides in this multi-faceted, seductive city. The host visits favorite haunt Club Deuce bar, the B&M market in "Little Haiti" for cow foot soup, Islas Canarias with chef Michelle Bernstein for a different take on the Cuban sandwich, and explores "The Miami Sound" with Questlove and Willie Clark (founder, Deep City Records).
Bourdain visits one of his favorite cities in Europe, Glasgow. He makes his first stop at the Old College Bar for a pint, learns knife defense techniques from instructor Mark Davies, and tests his physical endurance while stalking red stag with writer A.A. Gill in the Scottish Highlands. Along the way Bourdain indulges in some surprising Scottish fare including deep-fried haggis, roasted grouse with bread sauce, and fresh venison.
Unspoiled paradise or microcosm for the end of times? With acclaimed film director Darren Aronofsky as his travel companion, Bourdain explores this island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa. Starting the journey in the chaotic, crowded capital city Tana, Bourdain samples the cuisine of legendary Malagasy chef Mariette Andrianjaka, including a goose specialty and and broth with chicken and ginger.
Bourdain travels to his childhood home state with his brother Chris and rekindles memories at classic roadside joint Hiram's, known for its fried hotdogs, and Barnegat Light in Ocean County. He heads further down the shore to Atlantic City and stops by the Knife and Fork, Docks Oyster House with local reporter Brian Donohue, the Baltimore Grill to see husband and wife comedians Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane, and tours Asbury Park with none other than famed musician Southside Johnny.
Drawing inspiration from iconic Hungarian born cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, Bourdain explores the beauty, culture, history, architecture and food of Budapest. The culinary dishes sampled during his journey include goulash, fisherman's soup, blood sausage, stuffed cabbage and, during a stop at restaurant Pleh Csarda, a golden brown pancake heaped with chicken liver and bone marrow, fried schnitzel and venison stew.
In this episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain explores the other Hawaii, the one that those 8 million tourists don't see when they descend on the islands every year. Tony meets with travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux, Chef Andrew Le of Pig and the Lady in Honolulu, talent manager Shep Gordon and communes with residents of Molokai for a meal at an ancient oceanside fish pond.
The season five finale takes the host back to Beirut. Nicknamed "The Paris of the Middle East", its nightlife is infamous, the population beautiful, and its cuisine legendary. During his travels, Bourdain meets up with freestyle artist Double A The Preecherman in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood, has a classic Lebanese meal with writer, publisher, activist Joumana Haddad, and visits a Syrian community in southern Beirut with CNN correspondent Nick Paton Walsh.