True Films

Bizarre Foods


Cooking show meets travel show. The gimmick works. Balding fat chef goes on a quest to eat the weirdest, strangest, most bizarre foods in the world. He’ll try anything twice, and then give his “review” of it. Humans somewhere will consume anything that moves, or is grown, so there is plenty of material. Strict vegetarians may want to avoid watching. Not only is any animal, insect, fish, invertebrate eaten, every part of it is gobbled down, as well.

The host, Andrew Zimmern, is plain spoken and enthusiastic. Sort of the opposite of a food snob. While there’s adequate background on each exotic host country and culture, the main emphasis is on Zimmern simply understanding and trying out bizarre foods. I’ve given my kids the DVDs in order to encourage them to eat outside the box. I think we owe it to ourselves to explore the world’s cuisine and outer boundaries of food. You don’t have to like it, just try it. Better than several books on the subject, this series will make you rethink your food limits. It’s comparative foodology 101. All weird foods have a good story behind them, as revealed in these upbeat documentaries.

There is a competing cooking/travel show hosted by another globetrotting chef, Anthony Bourdain, but this series, No Reservations, is more about the chef himself than the food. I found Bourdain smug, self-centered, prissy, and uninteresting, but your mileage may vary. Some like his snarky style. For a fun journey to somewhere different stick with Bizarre Foods.

— KK


Bizarre Foods
Andrew Zimmern
2007, 338 min.
$2 per episode, Amazon Instant Video

Official website

Read more about the film at Wikipedia

Rent from Netflix

Available from Amazon

Posted March 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm | comments
| in category Culture

  • Estebahn

    Yeah, Zimmern is kinda pseudo-gay creepy. Anthony Bourdain is a kick ass, old school NYer who doesn’t talk bullsh!t, is not PC (which is refreshing these days), but respects the culture, and the people. Zimmern just wants to eat balls.

  • mace

    The Madventures show also has a section on all sorts of fascinating foods. The two first seasons are in finnish, but the third is produced in english. Nom nom.

  • TrvlChnl Dude

    I love the travel channel no reservations with Anthony Bourdain being my favorite show as well as bizarre foods probably in my top 10. I personally think that Bizarre foods would be Much better though with a different host. Just my personal opinion

  • willibro

    Bourdain is “smug”? Good god, man, he makes jokes at his own expense all the time, in every show. Would that more of the people operating some kind of public spokespresence — including people with the initials KK — made fun of themselves as often as Bourdain does.

  • Anand

    My issue with ├â┬╝berfoodies is that they generally promote a culture of eating rare and exotic. The desire for bush meat is destroying animal populations in Africa. We’ve had experiences with accessible foods such as orange roughie a fish that was pushed to the brink of extinction in a few years because nothing was known about its breeding cycle.

    I’ve been offered all sorts of weird food over the years, mostly in the Far East; even (and though I declined before seeing it, I trust that the offer was genuine) human foetus.

    I’ll take Anthony Bourdain’s adventures anytime.

    • @Anand: Yes, we should pay attention to endanger species for food. And the ecological consequences of what we eat. I am not aware of Zimmner eating any species that were endangered, nor of Bourdain eating one, nor of his turning a chance down. I suspect both are responsible eaters. As I said, some like Bourdain’s style and some don’t. I prefer Zimmners.

  • Moon

    I like Andrew Zimmern, but he is overexposed now. Every time I turn on the Travel Channel, he’s on! What’s up with that?

    I prefer Bourdain. A little snark with your food.

  • Alex M. Thompson

    Zimmern, for all his ‘enthusiasm,’ is a typical first-world food xenophobe. I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode of his show where he hasn’t been all like: “Hey, check out what weird stuff these crazy natives eat! It’s so wacky! Har Har!” LAME.

  • cyr

    Little late to the commenting, but I’ve tried many of the things Zimmner has tried, and he’s fairly picky – just as an example, note his and Bourdain’s reactions to durian – anthony eats it (it’s fairly good if mealy food) – and Z just talks about how exotic it is and strange, and then minces like a girl scout when actually eating it. As mentioned,he’s a first-world food xenophobe, and would do well to read Said’s seminal work on Orientalism and the other. He eats out of context, like a cruise-ship Grandma, and he petulently dismisses the locals for their “disgusting” food habits, makes jokes at their expense, and looks at them expecting them to agree with how weird they are. He’s a little abrasive, and while to each his own, one would do well not to emulate his behvaior in public or when dealing with strangers.

  • jesse

    I found the opposite was true with Bourdain / Zimmer~ Bourdain is much more into the ‘culture’ and meaning of a place~ he even changed the course of the show during filming in Lebanon. Whereas the Zimmer guy seems like he just wants to eat lots of testicles and gross people out. Why does he always need to eat testicles in every show?

  • Daniesza