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ANTHONY BOURDAIN PARTS UNKNOWN

Parts Unknown: Brazil

Aired June 8, 2014 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST: In Bahia, you find yourself in the heart of the heart of Brazil, where the magic comes from. If you want to get there, just follow the sound of the drums. This is Salvador De Bahia, city of three million people. First capital of Brazil. The wellspring for everything African and spicy, where things seem to just sway and move constantly. It's a place where everybody is sexy, where even the ugly people are hot. Unsurprisingly, this is where artists come from. African spiritualism, cult magic, Candomble, Capoeira. And caipirinhas, did I mention caipirinhas? They do those here, too. I like them. I like them a lot.

What's magical about this cocktail is the first taste, it's like I don't know, man, it's a little too something. Then like that second sip, it's like oh, that's kind of good. Then the third sip, it's where are my pants. Fortunately, food in these parts tends to be, shall we say, hearty. For instance, a delightful meal of fried meat with plenty of absorbent starch product like baropha(ph), the perfect accompaniment to many, many caipirinhas.

Oh, excellent. Now we're talking. It's a tough town for vegetarians. Oh, good. I'll have six more of these, please. People are staring at me, they looked at me. Even hump of American, how much he's eating. Line them up, my friend. Oh, yeah. So, nice walking around here. The party and the components are really amazing. There's always drums somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Salvador my friend.

BOURDAIN: Good to be here, again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yeah?

BOURDAIN: Love it here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please. One cup for you, men. Welcome to Salvador.

BOURDAIN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a good seat.

BOURDAIN: This is Claudio and Maurelia. It's good to have friends in a place like Salvador. In fact, you're pretty much lost without them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE.

BOURDAIN: Tuesday night in (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, man. And then Tuesday nights are very impressive. Many people come to church first, next they go drinking around. Try something, listen to go amused(ph) and you call it here, man.

BOURDAIN: You have to work tomorrow, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: I guess that's Brazil, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Brazil, but you have this kind of behavior here, not in whole city.

BOURDAIN: So, how different is Salvador from Rio and Sao Paulo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Men, Salvador is a modern, you know, (inaudible). This is amazing area.

BOIRDAIN: It is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's amazing. Eat, drink, history, memory, anything.

BOURDAIN: Pelourinho, Pelo for short, was Salvador during the Portuguese colonial period. It's almost always a party, a series of parties, actually, but tonight is special.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at this, man.

BOURDAIN: Smells good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

BOURDAIN: Oh, that's good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't that good?

BOURDAIN: Where to next?

(INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to bring you here today because coming here, people everywhere, it's free party. You can dance, you can drink in here everywhere. It's amazing. Do you want to try that?

BOURDAIN: What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Caramio, mix of honey and lemon.

BOURDAIN: Alcohol?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. BOURDAIN: Alcohol of unknown original in dispensed from atop the head

of a stranger? It's good. Mama always said that was a good idea. I don't know if it's the booze or the music or the tropical heat, but after awhile bouncing from place to place, wandering down old cobblestone streets, different music issuing from everywhere, a different party, people flowing out of buildings, one gathering, commingling with another, the music mixing, it really does seem that everybody is moving to some mysterious unknowable pulse, some unheard throb that moves people to constantly touch each other, stroke hips, necks, limbs. It is useful to know that of over 12 million Africans dragged, ripped and kidnapped from their homelands, nearly five million ended up in Brazil. 1.5 million of them in Bahia alone.

Pelourinho became the locus of a vast infrastructure of plantations and the slave trade that powered them. Making this city in Northeastern Brazil the most opulent in the new world. Pelourinho, it's worth pointing out, gets its name from the whipping post. A hundred years after slavery was outlawed in Brazil, Pelourinho had been forgotten. But of course, the neighborhood had its charms. If you were an artist, a musician, a writer, you could afford to live here. Cheap rent for long-time locals or shiny new art galleries at hipster cafes, we know which way the current of history runs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE

BOURDAIN: Here, though, one man stands alone. Jayme Figura a poet, sculptor, painter, musician, now perhaps his own greatest artistic creation. He's chosen to hide his face from view and to stand in opposition, an eyesore, a rebuke, a defiant war-like embarrassment to the occupiers. As he dresses now, this is for protection but as I understand, also protest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

JAYME FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a kind of protest but also protection. You know?

BOURDAIN: Who's the enemy?

FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone. You see face, you see heart.

BOURDAIN: How long have you been wearing the armor? How long?

FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 46 years.

BOURDAIN: 46 years. That was a long time ago. You ever been on the beach?

FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. Only shadow.

BOURDAIN: Are you Goth, dude.

FIGURA: Whiskey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whiskey and coco. It's about not sun. No sun.

FIGURA:(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not water, not sun.

BOURDAIN: Just down from where we're sitting, Gymez(ph) Pelourinho studio. His water and power have been shut off but he insists he's going nowhere. Brazil is supposed to be about what, music, dancing, sun, hot women. Does he reject those things? Does he think that's bull?

FIGURA: (SPEAKING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am the wrong country.

BOURDAIN: Where would the perfect place be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rock city.

BOURDAIN: Rock city. That's Detroit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Detroit.

FIGURA: Detroit.

BOURDAIN: Detroit, rock city. What music inspires him?

FIGURA: Iron maiden.

BOURDAIN: Iron maiden. I think they're touring, actually.

FIGURA: Nirvana.

BOURDAIN: Metallica?

FIGURA: Beethoven.

BOURDAIN: Beethoven.

FIGURA: Metallica, Beethoven.

BOURDAIN: What do you think about all of this? Anybody who comes here recognizes immediately that this is a really uniquely extraordinary and despite many problems, a uniquely wonderful, magical place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a magical place but also for us, for me and for him, here is a place where many people have, black has suffered. That is still one kind of karma of this old history here, you know?

BOURDAIN: So, what is the real Pelourinho? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREING LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are. (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREING LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

FIGURA: (SPEAKING FOREING LANGUAGE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOURDAIN: I don't like Pina Coladas but I like walking in the rain. I like wandering through markets as much as the next guy, but what I really like are neurotoxins. In Japan, they call it Fugu. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's eyes, ovaries and internal organs are just packed with varying amounts of toxins and some hysterical mini's(ph) will tell you the tetrodotoxin present in the blowfish is 1200 times more potent than cyanide and they'll tell you how if it's consumed, you remain conscious while your muscles gradually become paralyzed and death, like a slow-moving freight train, moves closer and closer. And whatever you do, just make sure you cut out that liver. I say bull. So, we're eating blowfish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's an adventure.

BOURDAIN: Like the Japanese, they like the poisons?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I know, I know, yeah.

BOURDAIN: But they remove the liver and the skin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's supposed to be removed properly.

BOURDAIN: Right. Properly, right. I saw a Simpsons episode, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy makes it great.

BOURDAIN: Poisonous blowfish will take a recipe. Add to said fish, lemon, coriander, onion, tomato, coconut milk, dende oil, cover and simmer. I am confident in this cook I don't know. And in this man, Bel Borba(ph) my host and an aficionado of this dish. Smelling good.

BEL BORBA, ARTIST: Bon appetite.

BOURDAIN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a lot of pepper, huh?

BOURDAIN: Oh, yeah. Good pepper. Nice and spicy. I can't feel my legs. Is that a bad thing? Bel is an artist, after all. A very famous one. So, he knows about neurotoxins. He comes from a long tradition of artists who have found inspiration in Bahia. Is there something about Salvador you think that's conducive to an artistic sensibility? There is so much color here and music.

BORBA: The light here is beautiful.

BOURDAIN: The light is really special. I mean, just the colors of the city are amazing. The colors of the people are amazing, and the way they move.

BORBA: They move.

BOURDAIN: I don't know, when I first came here, I thought everybody in this city looks like they just got or they're on their way to go.

(LAUGHTER)

BOURDAIN: So, this was the central market back before supermarkets, this is where everybody did their shopping, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. You know what, this is the real Brazil here. The real Bahia.

BOURDAIN: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This place is fantastic of the city. They sell shrimps and stuff, oil and stuff, this kind of oil, they called dende, palm oil.

BOURDAIN: Oh, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: However you want to call it.

BOURDAIN: And I love the dende oil. You know, it takes some getting used to. The first time I was here, you know, you eat it, you ship like a mink for hours afterwards. But now, no problems. I've been eating this all week. Love it. You spend time in Brazil...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You develop resistance.

BOURDAIN: There you go buddy. Hope you like spicy. He's a Brazilian cat. He's got to like spicy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: A little cachuchas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.

BOURDAIN: Told you. That will set you right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that will protect you from the poison.

BOURDAIN: Right. We're coming up to the world cup and I know a lot of people will be reading about crime and all that. How do you think it's gonna go, the world cup? Disaster or it's going to somehow work out?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it will be a success.

BOURDAIN: You think it will be a success.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure of it.

BOURDAIN: Salvador is one of the host cities for the 2014 world cup. A huge stadium has recently been completed, but a lot of people are worried, concerned, if Brazil is ready. I've been told thousands of prostitutes are studying tourist-appropriate languages in preparation, so probably a lot of people are gonna get laid, a lot of people are gonna get robbed, a lot of people are gonna get laid and robbed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been here in carnival?

BOURDAIN: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world cup is that carnival.

BOURDAIN: And that works out, right? That's not a slaughter fest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a breakfast.

BOURDAIN: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things happen but it works.

BOURDAIN: I think Salvador in particular is a place where...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I?

BOURDAIN: No, buddy, thank you. No matter what, people should come. Even people who are afraid to travel, who say oh, well, but I hear. No, you know what, this is, live your life, man. You should not miss a place like this, because there aren't a lot of places in the world that even come close to this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at we're today, I invited you to have this dish. We are not going to die. Because...

BOURDAIN: Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we're not going to die.

BOURDAIN: I'm pretty sure Mr. Muffin stuff over here is gonna suddenly going to jump on, he start clawing my face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the poison was active, she's dead.

BOURDAIN: I didn't think of that. We call you canary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not born for dying.

BOURDAIN: No.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) BOURDAIN: The bay of all saints, a vast natural harbor allowed Salvador to prosper. Tucked along its shore, if you look hard enough, you'll find a small grouping of shacks roofed in corrugated tin. This is where a local fishermen's association brings their catch to sell to wholesalers, and then relax after a long day on the water. Catch of the day, the prized big red snapper. Rub with sea salt, lemon, olive oil, grill over charcoal. Enjoy view. So, everybody here is fishermen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Meet, Maloca, a very special guy. He's been working as our head of security and as for reasons that are immediately obvious, he enjoys respect and reputation on the streets. But he also comes out of this neighborhood and these guys are his friends. How's business now? I mean, lot of fish out there? Fishing business good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Lunch wouldn't be complete without a delicious spicy salsa of garlic, tomato, onions and peppers. On the side, some deep fried little smelts. Don't forget the beer and the Cachaca and enjoy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Yeah. That will work. Looks like a big grouper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a big redfish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to advise you that it's spicy.

BOURDAIN: It's spicy. What do they drink, beer or Cachaca?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Both.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Still working?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He work more than all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: They use a line or net?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: A line.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My secret is just the hand around a piece of wood like that and take like that.

BOURDAIN: They don't cut the hands?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Always cut the hands.

BOURDAIN: Fishing anywhere is hard and the way these guys do it, particularly hard. Mostly hand lines from small boats. Just look at these hands. OK.

(LAUGHTER)

BOURDAIN: You're a hard man. Literally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Yeah, that's what I want, right here. Oh, yeah. Jackpot. That's -- you'll pardon the expression, some good head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fisherman loves the head.

BOURDAIN: It's awesome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the best part for them.

BOURDAIN: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Looking good. Take him to slow him right on the (inaudible). Good piece of fish. Beautiful.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOURDAIN: In Rio, if you're anything less than perfectly cut, you feel terrible going to the beach. You never want to go to the beach. Here, you can frolic in a Speedo and feel pretty good about myself. Let it all hang out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: Caipirinha?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Caipirinha.

BOURDAIN: Ah, the Caipirinha man. This indispensable icon of Brazilian beach culture is known to start with fresh lime, muddle and mash with more lime juice, sugar, ice, the magic ingredient, Cachaca. That's basically the distilled liquor of the sugar cane. Shaken, not stirred, and you've got yourself one of the world's truly great cocktails, the utility beverage good for any time of day or any social occasion. Very satisfying. (Inaudible) toasted cheese things here, awesome.

BOURDAIN: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: If there's anything better than cheese, it's semi-melted cheese. And what's the best part of French onion soup? It's the little burned bits of cheese around the edge. Oh, yeah. Just as good as it looks. Look at this line. These guys are famous. Acaraje, I've had it before. I have had it here, in fact. These ladies make it good. Really good. The clothes go back to the newly freed slaves who now were able to practice their religion and began selling the Acaraje to support the (inaudible) community. What is Acaraje? Behold. A paste, a batter, a falafel like wad or smooched up black-eyed peas, seasoned with brown brine (ph) shrimp and onions, deep fried to crispy and golden with some chili spike in dende oil. Already if you're a rookie, you're guaranteed some quality time on the porcelain bus real soon. On the top, you got you're (inaudible) which is sort of a shrimp curry paste. And your tomato salad, your fried shrimp, Camarao frito, a must. All right. Beautiful. Don't forget the hot chili oil and prepare for lift- off. Really good.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOURDAIN: When millions of Africans were taken by force to Brazil, the traditions, the musical roots they had, instruments they played, their gods and their food came with them. In the days of slavery, you would hide that stuff, whether it was your religion or your self-defense skills. So, tell me about capoeira.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a kind of martial art but in the beginning of the 19th century, capoeira became more like a game and the music instruments were associated to the finest.

BOURDAIN: No hats, right? Both feet and head (ph)? Why no hands?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We use the hands in just a few movements.

BOURDAIN: Where did that come from and why do you think that became...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people say that this is inspired by the animal movements.

BOURDAIN: In a recent study observing the comparative destructive power between kicks from various martial arts, of karate, muay thai and taekwondo, it was Capoeira that packed the most ferocious impact. The colonial masters knew this and made it illegal for much of Brazil's history. Today, maestros like Chanja (ph) and (inaudible) teach capoeira in classrooms and on stages. Originally it was a male- dominated activity. When did that change? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since the '60s. Masters (inaudible) -- we start

our process in the beginning of the '80s and nowadays, we have hundreds of women practice capoeira.

BOURDAIN: What was it like in the beginning, the very first women who did it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mothers or fathers or the family...

BOURDAIN: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, sad that capoeira is not for women, why do you decide to do this.

BOURDAIN: Afro Brazilian cuisine is the result of many, many years of cooks experimenting with African and Portuguese dishes combined with local ingredients like seafood, chillies, coconut milk. This is Angelica's house. Open one day a week as a restaurant serving her unique style of Bahian dishes. Beautiful. Wow. Look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Looks very good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: How has being a master of capoeira, how has that changed the rest of your life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think changed it a lot. Women in general, they don't learn to fight. Learning how to be involved in real fights, game and fight at the same time, we became more prepared to be involved in symbolic fight and in our society, the women -- they are not so well prepared like men.

CROWD: (SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

BOURDAIN: It was purely African in the beginning, and now it's Afro- Brazilian form, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the instruments are African instruments.

BOURDAIN: Right. They're singing. A lot of singing, and it's important.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Yeah. And in Portuguese -- that we in our group, and in a Capoeira, we start to include music from multi- cultural African cultural traditions including lyrics in African language.

BOURDAIN: All the things that we look at as Brazilian from outside looking in, the cuisine, samba, all of these things are very African in origin. This is kind of where that all started, yes? I mean, I don't want to say it's the real Brazil. Everyone looks at Rio as the postcard Brazil, but here it's really -- you feel it, those things. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has to do with this big concentration of

Africans since the beginning. It's different.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOURDAIN: If you, say, found yourself in Brazil and had a chance to hire a boat, head for the beach with a bunch of new friends, bring along a skilled mixologist, expertly trained in the fine arts of caipirinha making, why wouldn't you? Charge across the water, headed for a nice, quiet island, order up some sun to come out from behind dark clouds right about now. Sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason. Because they're good ideas to start with, which is why people keep looking for them and doing them over and over. In a perfect world upon reaching said enchanted island, you jump into the warm Atlantic waters, and if you could, you would have a classic soundtrack to this adventure, like samba, for instance. Splash around for a while, maybe enjoy a nice cold beer or two. You truly have not taken a beach until a man has set up the caipirinha station. Then you know the LZ is secure.

I love nature and caipirinha. Oh what's going on here? Caipirinha. Please. Sweet. This alone is an argument for the greatness of this country. And what goes great with caipirinha is on the beach? How about some barbecue? (Inaudible) would show here by the way. Someone take it. Please, (inaudible) don't eat me. Look in your heart. Don't eat me. Oh, no. Not my head. To complete the picture, make a large fish. Maybe some crab.

You know, anytime you get your Chinese, your Brazilians and your Italians all agreeing on something, it's pretty clear it's a really good idea. Everybody agrees that this complicated looking creature with all those troublesome shells is worth the work. So, you tear off the little limbs. We'll get to you a little later, my friends. Rip out the tail. These are the lungs you don't want them. Now, you've got all this nice fat in there. Oh, yeah. Now, we're getting to the claw. Look at that. Let's poke him out of there. Oh, yeah. This should do that that little melon of goodness. Like a celestial nibble.

When people started demanding boneless stuff like chicken without a bone or crab meat without the actual crab, or lazy lobster, that was the beginning of the erosion of our society as we know it. If you're not willing to work for a payoff like this, how do you expect us to, like, fight al Qaeda if you can't suck the meat out of a crab? Character builder, and delicious. And if your perfect day really did happen, you would probably let yourself be swept away. By liquor and good food and gin clear water, all around you, horny Brazilians, casually fondle each other, get all dozy and fall asleep.