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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown


Aired September 28, 2014 - 21:00   ET


ANTHONY BOURDAIN, HOST: What are our expectations? Which of the things we desire are within reach? If not now, when? And will there be some left for me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China's younger generation is driving growth in...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is where the real power is, China.


BOURDAIN: If you love in Manhattan like I do and you think you live in the center of the world, this place, Shanghai, will confront you with a very different reality. Turn down a side street, it's an ancient culture. A century's old mix of culinary traditions, smells, flavors. A block away, this. An ultra-modern, ever clanging cash register, levels of wealth, of luxury, a sheer volume of things and services unimagined by the greediest most bushwa of capitalist imperialist.

The city is split by the Huanpu River, a tributary of Yangtze. In the older section which appears the Bund and a newer built-up section, the Pudong. The one thing I know for sure about China is I will never know China. It's too big, too old, too diverse, too deep. There's simply not enough time. That's for me the joy of China, facing a learning curve that impossibly steep. The certain knowledge that even if I dedicated my life to learning about China, I die mostly ignorant. That's exciting, it's too much and it's changing so fast.

China has a population of around 1.2 billion people, and the number of them who were joining an explosive middle class, demanding their share of all that good stuff, infrastructure, the clothes, the cars, the gas to fuel them, his wealth, it's the engine that might well drive the whole world.

ZHOU LIN: Do you like Chinese food?

BOURDAIN: Very much, yes.

ZHOU LIN: OK. What do you want?



BOURDAIN: Of course, yes some -- dumplings.

ZHOU LIN: (speaking in a foreign language)

BOURDAIN: Professor Zhou Lin is an economist and current dean of the College of Economics and Management at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I saw many people who live here who's Chinese but was educated in American universities. Has had taught at Yale, Duke, and Arizona State.

BOURDAIN: So you -- forgive me. Economics are not my area of expertise, I wallow in ignorance but China looks different every time I come. It's changing so, so, so quickly. How did that happen?

ZHOU LIN: China enjoy, you know, this long period of peace. No serious enemy, no major wars.


ZHOU LIN: So the manufacturing industry really took off. Internally is reformed (ph) an open door policy, every country willing to trade with Chiana.

BOURDAIN: There's certainly no doubt that at this point, we -- our destinies are inextricably bound up. We are hopelessly -- our economies are hopelessly intermingled. If one fails, the effect would be disastrous.

ZHOU LIN: Global impact.

BOURDAIN: We are -- to say the least.

ZHOU LIN: It's suddenly...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking in a foreign language)

BOURDAIN (on camera): So beautiful. This is what I was waiting for.

(voice-over): Xiaolongbao, literally small steaming basket buns, but I translate them on my head to pillows of happiness that will scald your tongue and throat if you don't know what you're doing.

Look, there are lot of reasons to come to China, and to Shanghai in particular. But these babies done right, these things alone are worth the trip. Ground pork and shrimp folded exactly and always 20 times inside freshly-made individual rolled-out dough. As they're steamed, the delicious, delicious fat renders, it was soup of the gods, which then if you're not careful, causes unforgettable maxillofacial damage, as it changes your life forever.

(on comera): So good.

(voice-over): In the China of the future, places like this, Foshan Jiaolong, will be even more packed by Chinese, by expats, by visitors looking for the deeply satisfying rush of screamingly hot goodness, the chewy, meaty, deeply savory, fragrant, perfectly shaped and folded ballistically-designed delivery vehicles for pure pleasure.

And the allure of Shanghai-style pork chop, zhu zhu pai (ph) served with lajiangyou, their local take on Worcestershire sauce. It's irresistible.

ZHOU LIN (on camera): So I really believe that the world is converging and China will again, will be privatizing more and more.


ZHOU LIN: But the difference -- nowadays, it's just the technology is so advanced, we don't really meet that many (ph) people. So two things that many (ph) use to do in which the population, 7 billion people, there was probably, doesn't need that many people working...


ZHOU LIN: So the question is that what should human beings doing, you know? How can you let them not doing anything and then still living a good life?


ZHOU LIN: I don't know. It's going to be a big issue at the face of the whole world.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): What is the future, I don't know. But to a very great extent, it is surely being determined here. Is there a plan? Probably not, only appetites. And increasingly, the means to fulfill those appetites, those dreams and aspirations. Who will drive the car that takes us to wherever we are going? They will be young whoever they are, and not unlike Yao Minji (ph), a 30-year old Shanghai native educated in the USA at Wellesley, currently a Features reporter for the Shanghai Daily.

She maybe the picture of modern China, but this is Minji's (ph) favorite restaurant, Chiong (ph). China and Shanghai in particularly might be transforming fast, but this place stays resolutely the same.

Mrs. Shu (ph) runs the place, serving classic home-style Shanghai meals. There's no menu, no waiting list. And you will only get a seat if she likes you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (on camera): Oh, I ordered too much. Sorry.

BOURDAIN: Oh that's -- it's fantastic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was trying to get all my...

BOURDAIN: No, I'm very happy.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): We're joined by Minji's (ph) friends, Hu Jing (ph), an artist, and Mathew Lei (ph), a restaurateur.

(on camera): This looks fantastic. How do you eat this? Whole?

MINJI (ph): I eat them whole because I really like this.

BOURDAIN: That was...

MINJI (ph): Good, yeah?

BOURDAIN: Oh they're good.

MINJI (ph): I think they cook it, you know, few seconds. That's the secret...

BOURDAIN (voice-over): You bao he xia are tiny shrimp, deep fried first and then quickly tossed in the wok with garlic, ginger, salt, and soy. What is classic Shanghainese food? What's distinctive about it? Well, this for instance, it's often black or dark and heavily inflicted with oil, soy, and sugar.

Shanghai is and has been for some time, a city if immigrants. And the food reflects that genealogy. A combination of people from neighboring Zhejiang province known for their liberally use of sugar, soy and vinegar, and from Jiangsu Province known for fresh ingredients in attention to preserving the aliveness of its dishes. It's the best of both of worlds, great sauces, great ingredients.

There's hong shao rou, braised pork belly in a deep red braise of dark and light soy sauce, cinnamon, sugar, and anise.

Hon jia chan yu (ph), a small fish poached first in rice wine, salt and light soy, then fried in ginger, garlic, oil or soy and sugar until the liquid's reduced to a gorgeous, sticky sauce.

Jion ya (ph), duck that's been marinated, blanched, then reheated, smothered in a sauce made from the reduced drippings lift in the wok with dark soy, salt, and sugar.

And this to round things up, yandi xian, a clay pot soup of bean curd base stalk with salted pork belly, tofu ribbons, and bamboo shoots.

(on camera): Oh, the flavor. This is a socialist country, supposedly.

MINJI: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: It was a communist country, supposedly. It is in fact from real (ph) evidence that I've ever seen, the most dynamic country on earth. What do you think about that?

MINJI (ph): I think a lot of my western friends come here thinking China is past immersion (ph) of non-career or the party (ph) can chose everything. But they come here, they're surprised. It's actually not that much. They do seem to be promoting the free market even more with the free trade zone just established in Shanghai. So, it's amazing.

BOURDAIN: From what I see everywhere I go, the world is becoming more Chinese. Chinese influence, Chinese food. If you've build a casino in Vegas or a hotel in Singapore, you have to consider what will the Chinese think. Is that exciting? MINJI (ph): It's exciting that we finally have a (inaudible) that we wouldn't, but China is full of -- in the spotlight, in the center of the stage now that we wouldn't have dream though of like, say, only a decade ago.

BOURDAIN: For me, I think, you know, the communist menace that we use to always talk about in America, I think the most terrifying scenario is that China becomes a completely free market, non-socialist, non- communist society, because you'd bury us.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): I love few things more than quoting that impeccable communist, Dang Xiaopeng, "To be rich is glorious." All - isms are -wasms, (ph), dig deep and it's always about the money.

Meet Tim Tse, a resident of Communist China, a man of impeccable taste. One of more than a 150,000 Shanghainese billionaires accustomed to the good life.

TIM TSE, PRESIDENT, ROOSEVELT CHINA INVESTMENTS (on camera): We take the seawater out, replace with champagne. We can have it all at once, hopefully you like it.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): He likes nice things and he makes Donald Trump's garnished (ph), ticky-tacky empire look like the back of Pauly D's (ph) van .

(on camera): Where this from? They're great.

TSE France.

BOURDAIN: France, fantastic. Wow, they were in good shape.

TSE Yes, yes.

BOURDAIN: It was good.

TSE We treat them happy. Every single one is flying from jet with (inaudible) belt so they were nice and happy and safe/

BOURDAIN: Apparently.

(voice-over) Tim is an investor into real estate, telecoms, and the newly expanding service industries of the new China. He's also the president of Roosevelt China Investments, a very old company with a long history doing business here, created by the Roosevelt family, maybe you've heard of them.

This is his clubhouse, really. The house of Roosevelt on the Bund, right in the middle of it all. Wine is big here now, the French chateaus, more and more they looked at China as the indicators of price, as the market maker. Tim alone stocked around 4,000 labels here. China in general bought 2 billion bottles of red wine last year alone. Think about that for a minute, they are now the leading market for red wine in the world. (on camera): It's pretty amazing here.

TSE: Well, I designed this place in five minutes. I look at this place for like six months, day time, night time, and finally (inaudible) interesting, I'm going to make a wine cellar will out of this.

BOURDAIN: Look so good.

TSE: Thank you.

BOURDAIN: Ice? Well, this is nice.

(voice-over): Tim has invited me to dinner alongside a few people that have taken full advantage of the blooming economy in China. Ms. Ida Wang (ph), an architect and designer, Daniel Jang (ph), a real estate developer, and Coco Shu, a party planner.

(on camera): So you eat like this all the time? Nice wine cellar...

TSE: Twice at night. Today, we're surrounded by Southern French wine and (inaudible) wines. And if you like here, you can eat in different district of wine country every night.

BOURDAIN: Isn't this supposed to be Communist China? I mean it seems like it was very...

TSE: Can I ask a question? Does anyone of our communist party comrades party member?

BOURDAIN: No, no, I'm kidding. I'm a bit of a red diaper baby but -- what I mean to say is it just seems that the realm of the possible here is very big.

DANIEL JANG (ph): Absolutely. It's a big stage. I mean, in New York City or in other places in the world, you can see that you may build a massive project, but that's probably the only one in the whole city. But in Shanghai, there's ten (ph) of market projects going on, and if there's ten (ph), more is coming up in the next couple of years.

TSE: You know, it is a big world, big city but a small village in the end. And I think food is the best weapon on earth to make peace, it's the food (inaudible) have better peace on earth. And you'll probably the United Nation Ambassador.

BOURDAIN: In time.

TSE: And this little shrimps are from South Pole, and only New Zealand has a way to find them. Try it with your wasabi if you like.

COCO SHU: A lot of Chinese restaurant in New York.

BOURDAIN: I grew up in the 50's and the 60's and even then, Chinese restaurant, Chinese food was really an essential part of being a New Yorker, I mean if you didn't know how to use chopsticks as a New Yorker, you are a terrible New Yorker. TSE: You know, I want to ask something, do you know how to speak like

a Brooklyn president?

BOURDAIN: It's a tough accent. Queens is easier, you know, it's a more of a -- I can't, I mean, I lived right next to it my whole life.

TSE: Can you say...

BOURDAIN: What I mean the accent.

TSE: We don't want to hear...

BOURDAIN: A Brooklyn expression.

TSE: I just want to hear...

BOURDAIN: Not for nothing.

TSE: What?

BOURDAIN: Not for nothing.

TSE: Is that best Brook (ph).

BOURDAIN: Not for nothing.

TSE: Best for nothing.

BOURDAIN: Not for nothing, but, you know, I can really use a little more wine.

TSE: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: Not for nothing, not at all.

TSE: Not for nothing.

BOURDAIN: Not for nothing

TSE: Not for nothing.

BOURDAIN: Not for -- all right.

TSE: Shanghai Chef Jacky Shu (ph) prepares a meal of a style that will become without a doubt, more and more typical and in demand here among those who can afford it. And more and more people everyday can afford it.

BOURDAIN: What is it?

TSE: So we have tomato and potato and that's it.


BOURDAIN (voice over): Australian Wagyu beef.

(on-camera): Nice.

(voice over): A massive perfectly cook tomahawk chop. Coming in the door at up to $150 a pound that includes bones and fat, this is about a thousand dollars worth of steak bitches (ph).

Even if Tim wanted a serve good all USA beef still the finest on earth in my opinion. He can't. China has banned imports of US beef over concerns about mad cow disease.

While they (inaudible), the quick trip behind the bookshelves.

TSE: And I want to show you a special place.


TSE: So you named your labels, the village of wines, I think most of the chance we have it.

And, so these sizes and so I will interesting wine that against (inaudible) Asian themselves.

BOURDAIN: This is the house collection.

TSE: That's correct.


TSE: And I want to show you the membership area to our newest members Anthony Bourdain.

And it's also about (inaudible) about collection of wines, please open it

BOURDAIN: Wow, cool. It's good being me. Thank you.

TSE: It's good to having you.

BOURDAIN: Thank you so much.

We will close that up now, wait a minute.

TSE: Close it up.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Here's the thing, even with the modern China rising out of the ground all around you even with all the things to save things you see for sale everywhere where people have these days. Even with all lack, there still this China. Shouning Road, just south of people's square. It's still happening. The good old stuff.

The China you first fell in love with walked down the street and look at any direction and there's something eat. I mean, I don't know what it is immediately, but chances are, it's good.

We talk about foodies (ph) and what the hell does that mean? By current definition, best I can understand that makes just about every Chinese person I ever laid eyes on, the foody (ph). Which is too say, a perfectly amusable person who enjoys and pays attention to where the good stuff is.

Look at this, one street, and look, stuffed oysters grilled over charcoal. Snake treat, oh yes, and yes, it does taste kind of like chicken.

It used to be a lot of streets like this, full of dai pai dong where you could look, shop around, and eat all out in the open. Happy, righteous (ph), delicious torrent (ph) of food, but the government as governments do, are tightening the screws. Old is bad, new is good.

Not everybody thinks this is a good idea though. Bill Wang was born in Shang and studied here at Tongji Universit. He began teaching English before he was out of college. He suggested me neither for a wonton and there are maybe wonton stalls all over Shanghai, but Bill says this one, this one is the one.

BOURDAIN (on-camera): So you're an English teacher.


BOURDAIN (on-camera): Most of it -- I mean, a Chinese background who speak English how their teachers were British, sometimes Australian or New Zealand and they have those expressions on that accent.

We need more and more of these days, I guess younger generation is more and more about sort of TV accent. Is that good or bad?

WANG: I think it's good, you know, TV series, especially American TV series already are so popular in China.

BOURDAIN: What are the most popular American shows in China?

WANG: Right now, House of Cards.

BOURDAIN: House of Cards.

WANG: Yeah, so popular.

BOURDAIN: House of cards.

WANG: Yes.

BOURDAIN: That's really interesting. Why do you think you appeal (ph) this year?

WANG: You know, in the show, you know, American didn't talk about president.


WANG: In China, there's no way you can't about those sense the day of topics. So maybe (inaudible) love that show, it's really, really good. BOURDAIN: Wow. That's really...


BOURDAIN: ... a surprise to me. Wow, these are huge.

WANG: Yes. Wonton.



WANG: Is it good?

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Minced pork, bok choy, some ginger, moistened with rice wine, soy. It all gets mixed up nicely and folded into the dough. Boiled till just right and sauce with a powerful mixed of soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, sesame oil and peanut butter.

So you kind of sweet savory, acidy, salty, spicy umami (ph) thing going on with every bite, you want this, believe me. You want this bad, in fact, you mean it.

(on-camera): What do your students want to do when they enter the professional field? What's the dream?

WANG: I think this generation, they are a lot of them are lost. They don't know that to do. If you ask like a university or what is their dream?


WANG: (inaudible) is to buy an apartment, (inaudible), buy car, you know, that kinds of things.

BOURDAIN: Are there enough jobs for everybody?

WANG: This is becoming more and more competitive.


WANG: And what he wants the best job but it's only very few of them among there. But I think there's like a huge gap between company and new graduates.


WANG: Company wants to experience the workers.


WANG: We need graduates also want a good job.


WANG: Yes, now. They are not ready for it. BOURDAIN: Right.

WANG: So they don't want to do some, you know, hard work, start from scratch.


WANG: So that's the problem against.

BOURDAIN: It looks to me, Chinese in general, Shanghai is particular is changing very, very fast (ph).

WANG: Very, very wild (ph).

BOURDAIN: Every time I come it's different. And in your reason, I mean last 10 years, what the most noticeable change to you?

WANG: Food like this is becoming more and more difficult to find. This is hand made, I think it's a real food is not very expensive and taste great, but a lot of food, you know, pasta is good right now.

And also, of course, it's (inaudible), it has suppose in (inaudible), the good part is that you can get information (inaudible)


WANG: The bad part is that people don't talk to each other even like to look good or restaurant, you know, like a couple, it's all pictures.

BOURDAIN: Right, right.

WANG: And uses cellphones and then talk to each other.

BOURDAIN: They're communicating with everybody else in the world about who's at the table.

WANG: They enjoy their life or what's point, right?

BOURDAIN: It didn't happened until you Twitted it as we say.

WANG: Oh my, God.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): What's clear very quickly here is the way China claims things are that way things is supposed to be as far as permissible social media at access information and the way actually are, two different things.

Meet Thomas Yao, hacker turned entrepreneur. He recently receives significant start up money to build what he calls an open source project sharing platform to connect Chinese college students with the world.

BOURDAIN (on-camera): And when you say hacking, what is -- what do you do when you hack? What is the intent?

THOMAS YAO, HACKER, ENTREPRENEUR: Actually it's start from IMG (ph), if you go to the computer science and entrepreneur intelligence during the IMG (ph), it will show you the definition of hack. It's actually a very positive one but it's pertaining the very negative words.


YAO: Sort of one hacker is to describe the people who are really -- they really like programming as -- say, the love to share information. It's just like cooking. You love to share recipes to other friends for live cooking and well.

BOURDAIN: Legally, there might be something one is it, but morally, you think there's anything wrong with like, but you're essentially breaking into an information based.

YAO: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: I'm not doing anything.

YAO: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: But I want to go in, I'm going to look around, I'm going to see how things work and I'll leave without disturbing anything.

With most hackers, say that's OK.

YAO: Yes.

BOURDAIN: It's in the service of knowledge that's...

YAO: It's OK for most of the hackers. Our communities -- I was so lucky, I got even you a very big, big hacker of community here in China and (inaudible) great mentors.

BOURDAIN: Started in this (inaudible) this 21.

YAO: Exactly.

BOURDAIN: Great (inaudible).

YAO: I didn't go to college.

BOURDAIN: You didn't go to college?

YAO: I didn't go to college.

BOURDAIN: Why not?

YAO: Most of professor (inaudible) behinds the (inaudible) speed of the communities.


YAO: Because... BOURDAIN: You're -- the country is so advanced in so many other ways. Why in this area?

YAO: And that's more problems here in China. We have (inaudible) a great firework, and it's (inaudible) unpleasant information websites. This is our China, and a lot of people they call against the (inaudible) technology...


YAO: ... which we don't teach in college at all. So the human resource problem in (inaudible) getting more and more serious here in China.

BOURDAIN: Because everyone is going to Silicon Valley.

YAO: Yeah, all for better, obviously.


YAO: All, (inaudible).

BOURDAIN: Are these the famous ribs?

YAO: Yes.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Maybe the number thing that the seriously food craze traveler coming back from Shanghai will tell you to eat other than the soup dumplings of course, ziran paigu or simply cumin ribs.

It takes two cooks working at once to make this dish, one deep fries the ribs in hot oil until just right. Another toast the ginger and other spices in a wok, and then in go the ribs. (inaudible) what's called (inaudible) close to the kitchen as possible.

To capture that elusive (inaudible) dissipating breathe flavor of the wok itself.

Toss it around, coating those bones with all that good stuff then serve.

And because we like to burn, Thomas orders some (inaudible) a spicy chicken dish.

Hei (ph) means energy, bite force or breath. And that's what you're looking for, the (inaudible) flavor the essence of a very old carefully seasoned cooking vessel.

Oddly enough, Thomas (ph) tells me there's no Mandarin or at least Shanghainese word for wok. It's simply called a cooking pot. To which I say I really do know nothing about this country.

(on camera): Wow, fantastic. Wow.

YAO: It's (inaudible) also.

BOURDAIN: Yes? No, you're not loving that?

YAO: Muscle, not too good, but it's not bad.

BOURDAIN: To me -- and I've eaten a lot of food, but this is spicy, fresh, great, vibrant.

YAO: After this, I will take you guys to somewhere -- I will take you somewhere better.

BOURDAIN: So, are you a foodie?

YAO: Yes, I eat a lot.

BOURDAIN: Were you born here, you're from Shanghai?

YAO: Yes, I was born and raised in Shanghai.

BOURDAIN: At least in modern times, it's hard to imagine that any place has changed as profoundly and is changing as quickly as it is changing here.

YAO: Where there's no problem. Our quality of life is improving really, really faster.

BOURDAIN: With a poll of 85 percent of Chinese who are asked the question, "Do you feel that your life will be better next year," 85 percent said, "Yes, it will be better next year." This is an extraordinary--

YAO: Number.

BOURDAIN: Number. I don't know a lot of other countries that would say that.

YAO: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: Well, that looks great. The famous--

YAO: That's chicken.

BOURDAIN: Chicken. It's so good.

YAO: Not bad.

BOURDAIN: You know, I'm finding this food really, really delicious. And you're saying it's just--


BOURDAIN: I'm finding it wow. Yeah.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Shanghai is one of the biggest cities in the world right now, a global financial center in transportation hub and the world's busiest port. You can smell the money. But maybe the real story is the newly emerging participants in global capitalism. The middle class, the working class, who also want flat screen TVs and cars and vacations and the promise of better for their kids.

Take this couple, typical working-class Chinese from the worker's paradise, Mei-ming (ph), a bus driver, and Dong Yeon Yang (ph), his bride to be. Today is their wedding day and custom must be observed. When it comes to weddings, the Chinese have always gone big, and these days, bigger still, lots of food, lots of booze, lots of people getting crazy. That's why Thomas (ph) and I have become wedding crashers. The Constellation bar for a pre-wedding drink, the classic Chinese cocktail, the Moscow Mule -- OK, maybe not Chinese.

(on camera): This are good.

YAO: Yes. This is the reason why I love this place.

BOURDAIN: Are you married?

YAO: No.

BOURDAIN: No, not yet.

YAO: I'm not a big fan of marriage.

BOURDAIN: You've been to weddings, yes?

YAO: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: Have you ever crashed a wedding before?

YAO: No.

BOUDAIN: It's going to be a little weird. I mean we don't know anybody there.

(voice-over): How do you do?

(on camera): Well, I hope the food's good at this thing. They probably have a lot of drinks.

YAO: It's going to be really crazy.


YAO: Yeah, yeah.


YAO: We drink a lot.

BOURDAIN: Really? So, ready to crash a wedding?

YAO: Yeah, let's do it.

BOURDAIN: All right.

YAO: Cheers. We can go across around here.


(voice-over): The Chinese wedding is not cheap. You need a banquet room. In this case, the families rented out this place, the historic Park Hotel, Shanghai. Chinese weddings, generally speaking, mean the presence of a number of formalities. First, meet the bride and groom upon entering. Red envelope, also known as the hongbao, like in good fellows, it's a little something for the bride and groom to help them get started in their new life.

(on camera): Thank you. It's awesome.

(voice-over): OK. Table setting, often with some must-have's present, booze, whiskey, smokes for the guests.

YAO: This is (inaudible) like our traditional Chinese wedding. They will rent a hotel and--

BOURDAIN (on camera): I know. I do this every week. I go from hotel to hotel and I crash weddings.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Roast duck, that, I will have. Of course with some (foreign language) or beef tripe in garlic sauce, Kona crab shelled and then sauted in garlic and ginger before being stuffed back into the shell, steamed turbot with scallots.

YAO: Weddings in China, so just kind of meal for whole two days, whole weekend.

BOURDAIN (on camera): So tell me, we should do this every week. I'll come back, I'm going to move to Shanghai. And you and me, twice a week, we'll just go to weddings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).

YAO: They'll make it so bright.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


BOURDAIN (voice-over): And there is of course drinking, much drinking.

(on camera): When I first came to China, it's for business. And one after the other, everyone at the table came up and said, "Oh, Mr. Bourdain, I would like to do a drink with you," and they -- all of it. I didn't know how to politely say no. I can't. I just kept doing it and doing it and it's super. I ended up going like the karaoke. I ended up singing Billy Idol songs. I think I sang, "White Wedding."

You're making the personal issue--

YAO: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: -- and seriously. I'm just wondering how you got out of that. When I sat down and I looked around the table and I find that, "OK, who at this table is going to try really hard to get me drunk," I wouldn't have guessed it was going to be her.

YAO: They're drinking this white wine all day long. I can drink a lot but I will just more likely to taste all day.

BOURDAIN: Look, we have to get this straight. That is not wine. That's like grain alcohol. That's what we call liquor.

YAO: Yes, something like that.

BOURDAIN: OK, at least we're clear on that.

(voice-over): Now, this is a small wedding by most standards, about 100 guests. But just booking the room took two years. A toast followed by many more toasts to the bride, to the groom, to happiness, to prosperity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).

BOURDAIN (voice-over): There is a place, there is always a place where something delicious in a bowl is waiting just for your. Down a street, down an alley, there's a place like this one where locals would tell you the good stuff list.

They call this stuff long-leg noodles, because they say the woman who runs it is tall. Noodles for me are a solitary pleasure between me and my bowl. Fen Li (ph) and her husband, Chi Fon Wang (ph), understand this I think. Now, this is a deceptively good business. What used to be a typical, low-cost, working class stall of the Dai Pai Dong's meat variety has in fact blown up along with the rest of the economy.

Rich kids or TV guys like me want to eat here, and they do. How do you make a bowl of perfect happiness? Cook noodles in boiling water, liberally flavored with chilies and lard. A mercier (ph) cooked noodles at a soy inflicted bath of deeply sinister, deeply pleasurable pork stock. A little bit of baby bok choy, heat for a few seconds, simmering, simmering, then garnished with a bit of slowly cooked, heavily reduced, almost candy pork. Then suck those noodles loudly and enjoy.

Where are we going? Who will drive us there? What will it be like when we get there? I think it will look like this.