Anthony Bourdain doesn’t have to travel far for the second episode of Parts Unknown‘s new season. Bourdain and the Zero Point Zero crew head to the Bronx where they meet the man who started hip hop, the borough’s culinary ambassador, a healer, and many other locals.
We’ve been watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown since season one. See all of our episode summaries here.
Bourdain confesses to knowing very little about the Bronx despite New York City being his home base between trips for several decades.
He is surprised to find, as many of New York-based viewers probably were as well, that within the Bronx exist distinct, thriving ethnic communities with their traditions and culture perhaps more intact than those still living in their ancestors’ country.
“I think that’s what keeps the Bronx so amazing. You have all these in-touch cultural enclaves,” says the Bronx’s culinary ambassador Baron Ambrosia.
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Ambrosia takes Bourdain to snack on Puerto Rican specialities at Cuchifritos and to meet members of the local Garifuna community, which includes descendants of West African, Central African, and Island Carib people, for coconut soup with fish and mashed plantains.
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Bourdain also dives into the origin of hip-hop. He meets with DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa who both are recognized for the instrumental roles in beginning and spreading the hip-hop movement. Bourdain also partakes in the popular ’80s activity of benching, which consisted of watching subway cars covered in graffiti rolling over above-ground tracks.
A man named Deezus talks to Bourdain about his growing appetite for quesadillas following an influx of Mexican residents and his family’s tradition of heading to City Island for lobster and clams for special celebrations.
Bourdain’s first and last guide is local historian Lloyd Ultan who has a breadth of knowledge about the Bronx’s past, but little insight into its future. Bourdain and Ultan’s final meal is at one of dwindling number of Jewish delis.