Food critic, lifelong line cook and best-selling author Anthony Bourdain is back in Manila. And one of his first stops? Jollibee.
In September, ABS-CBN correspondent Yong Chavez broke the news about Bourdain’s plan to return to the country. On the Emmys red carpet, Bourdain told her about his plans to shoot an episode in the Philippines for his CNN show, “Parts Unknown,” where he samples culinary and cultural delights from different corners of the globe.
“We’ll do better than the last time…,” Bourdain said, referring to a previous visit when he declared that the lechon served him in Cebu province was the “best pig ever!”
“To all my Filipino fans, we’re coming, we’re coming back,” the chef, author and TV host said, adding in the Chavez interview that he was looking forward to eating his Filipino favorites again—sisig and yep, lechon.
Bourdain flew to the Philippines in 2008 for “No Reservations,” his Travel Channel program, and made food stops in Manila, Pampanga province and Cebu. On that trip, he ate at Cafe Ysabel, Lumpia House, Capitol Site Eatery, Bale Dutung, Mila’s Kambingan, Aling Lucing’s roadside sisig joint, and King Ginno’s Pares.
Bourdain is apparently back in Manila, and sightings of the chef have been making the rounds on social media, with fans starting to use the hashtag #WhereInManilaIsAnthonyBourdain.
Photographer David Hanson Ong and wife Katharina Huang spotted Bourdain at Cafe Chosun, a Korean restaurant in Malate, on Dec. 10, just before 9 p.m. “He asked us to wait for them to (finish) their dinner for photos. Sumingit na lang kami (we managed to squeeze in a shot) when they were rushing out. He’s tall!” Ong told the Inquirer, adding that Bourdain was with two Caucasian guys.
The next day, Alfredo Lupe, a Bourdain fan, saw him at Jollibee at Blue Bay Walk near Mall of Asia in Pasay City around 3 p.m. “Mukhang enjoy siya sa Chickenjoy (it looks like he was enjoying his Chickenjoy)!” he wrote on Facebook, posting a photo of Bourdain digging into his Jolly Spaghetti. Lupe told the Inquirer that he also spotted a burger and pineapple juice on Bourdain’s table. “He had two glasses of pineapple juice,” Lupe said. “Wala siyang kasama kumain … Nakakatuwa nga po (He was eating alone. Nice).”
Big Mike de Guzman, a chef and businessman, also encountered Bourdain at Jollibee. “After a handshake and a pic I feel I can cook better now…,” he said.
Bourdain is no stranger to Jollibee. In 2013, Korean-American celebrity chef Rey Choi brought Bourdain to the fast-food chain’s branch in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. They ordered an Aloha Burger, a Spam Little Big Bite and a halo-halo at the drive-thru. Bourdain said in the show, “Dig deep and you hit a delicious strata of red beans, white beans and chickpeas, cubes of red and green jello, young white coconut, shaved ice and … Is that flan? It makes no goddamned sense at all. I love it.” He took a picture of his halo-halo before biting into his Aloha Burger. “That’s a very tasty burger,” he said.
This time, fans have taken to Twitter to say where they want to take Bourdain to eat, recommending Vigan longganisa (native sausages), bibingka (rice cake) and crispy pata (deep-fried pig’s hocks). Others said they want to bring him home for a home-cooked meal.
“Filipinos are very proud of their food,” Bourdain said in a previous episode of “Parts Unknown.” TVJ