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A Visual Tour Of Anthony Bourdain’s Travels In Oman On ‘Parts Unknown’


Instagram/Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain has been hitting some seriously far-flung corners of the world this season on ‘Parts Unknown.’ All week we were wondering how or even if Bourdain could top his last episode where he trekked across Antarctica. Well, this week did not disappoint on that front.

Bourdain made his way to Oman for a beautifully shot episode that explored an often overlooked corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The show came with a fascinating primer full of Omani bullet points — giving us viewers a little purchase on what Oman’s all about. Then Bourdain dived into the food and culture of a country that’s not on too many people’s radars. What Bourdain shows us in this week’s ‘Parts Unknown’ is a country full of brightness, progress, and wonder.

Let’s dive right into the episode.

CNN

INTRO TO OMAN

Bourdain starts off with his cutting brand of exposition about the place. “Oman defies expectations; it shouldn’t, according to the cruel logic of the world, exist. But it does, and it’s incredible.”

Oman is indeed a fascinating place. It’s Arab, multicultural, Ibadi Muslim, and an absolute monarchy. It’s a broad mix of culture, religion, and society that seems to be functioning on a pretty stable and progressive level — especially given the tensions of Oman’s neighbors. Bourdain attributes this calm to the local people’s faith in the Ibadi branch of Islam that basically boils down to “be kind, be respectful, and leave politics out of religion and vice versa.” Or to put it more succinctly, “don’t be an asshole.”



MUSCAT

Muscat is an ancient city that dates back to around 6,000 BCE, a nautical crossroads between the west and east. The ocean and beaches provide some of the most striking scenery with huge rock outcrops peppering the azure seas. It’s a place of beauty surrounded by deserts, canyons, and a seemingly endless expanse of space.

Bourdain spends the bulk of the episode in Muscat and it’s surrounding communities. He talks to locals, eats food, and even finds an Irish pub to grab a Guinness with a former British soldier who fought in Oman’s Civil War. Bourdain sums his experiences in Oman with pure wonder for the beauty of the place and people: “There’s an unusual mix here — a very graceful, a very proud mix of cultures and languages.”


FOOD

CNN

Are the proverbial crossroads the best places in the world for food? Oman makes a really strong case for that being true. The mix of Arabic, Indian, Persian, and East African influences (with even some European flourishes sneaking in) makes Oman a spectacular food destination.

Bourdain loved the food he ate in Oman. So much so he even asked how to say ‘delicious’ in Arabic — lazeez or latheeth depending on the accent you’re going for. The biryanis, slow-cooked goat and lamb, rice, sauces, bright florals, fruits, and piping hot chapatis all looked delectable.


Some Specific Food Spots

Bait Al Luban

Bourdain dropped into one of Muscat’s most lauded restaurants for a banquet of local cuisines. The influences from around the world were evident with the Indian breads and fried bites and the Omani signature dish, shuwa (a slow, pit-roasted goat).


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A Visual Tour Of Anthony Bourdain’s Travels In Oman On ‘Parts Unknown’

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