tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN December 25, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
♪ ♪ >> anthony: you know what i like? i like sichuan. man, i love the food here. you know what else i like? torturing my friend eric ripert. i don't know why, maybe it's because he's so damn nice. you high, man? you look high. >> eric: i am. but i liked it. >> man: yeah. >> anthony: you can pretty much tear his toenails out and he'd still find something nice to say about you. he's so polite, yet, if you look closely, and i do, his discomfort can be exquisite.
>> eric: he's the devil. look at him. ♪ i took a walk through this beautiful world ♪ ♪ felt the cool rain on my shoulder ♪ ♪ found something good in this beautiful world ♪ ♪ i felt the rain getting colder ♪ ♪ sha la la la la sha la la la la la ♪ ♪ sha la la la la sha la la la la la la ♪ >> anthony: it's the spicy, sensualist heartland of all the things i love about china. the collision between very, very
old and very new. an exploding middle class. a lot of history. and food that can burn you down to a charred, smoking little stump. sichuan province, located in the southwest of china. over a thousand miles from beijing. a region so fertile and lush that it's been referred to as china's breadbasket. and its capitol, chengdu. despite its ever-growing skyline, it hasn't lost its deep culinary roots and traditions. >> man: heart. >> anthony: and i figured if i'm going back to sichuan i should bring a friend. someone unused to the, how shall i say, level of heat commonly found in the food here. someone who's never been to china before and is unused to its ways. i'm talking, of course, about chef eric ripert, of such three-star michelin restaurants as new york's le bernardin.
so, welcome to china, eric. >> eric: thank you. >> anthony: first time to the mainland? >> eric: yes, and i'm very surprised already about, uh, what i see in the city here. i was expecting, like, uh, kind of a gigantic chinatown that we have in new york. >> anthony: that's some racist shit right there, i'm telling you. >> eric: no, very surprising the streets, they're very clean, just, it almost looks like a european city. >> anthony: except for the air. the air quality, i mean, maybe you've noticed that haze -- >> eric: yeah, it's like a -- >> anthony: that's not, that's not good. >> eric: but i'm definitely out of my comfort zone. >> anthony: really? >> eric: for sure, yeah. >> anthony: oh, good. well, i'm hungry, you hungry? >> eric: yeah. >> anthony: noodles, that's where you should start around here. chengdu is famous for little spots like this. don don. named after a much-beloved chengdu noodle snack. oh, yeah. now we're talking. >> eric: i've never been good -- >> anthony: really? >> eric: -- with chopsticks. never.
this is not bad. i can grab it. kind of. >> anthony: oh yeah. that is awesome. >> eric: so, it's all spicy. the peppers get to me. >> anthony: yeah? >> eric: i'm, like, "ooh!" >> anthony: yeah, well, this is just day one, man. >> eric: i'm surprised you don't drink beer with that. >> anthony: dude, it's only 11:20 in the morning. what kind of an animal do you think i am? >> eric: because there's nothing to soothe your taste buds. >> anthony: this is a good, sort of, uh, intro. >> anthony: so, we're gonna have fun. >> eric: oh, man. >> anthony: we're gonna eat well, you're gonna drink a little more, more than you like. >> eric: okay. >> anthony: and i have to stress this to you now, eric, you can not refuse. >> eric: don't look at me with eyes like that. like -- >> anthony: i'm saying it's -- drinking culture is very important here and if we go to, like, a formal meal your ability to drink leads to a number of assumptions about you. you know? your general manliness. penis size. your worth as a human being.
>> eric: i'm comfortable with my size. [ laughs ] >> anthony: think of yourself as an ambassador. not only for america, but for france, eric. >> eric: but i am an ambassador of le bernardin, as well, of the people who work with me and so on. >> anthony: right. you don't want people on the other side of the world thinking that le bernardin sends pussies out there to represent. >> eric: you know what, you're scaring the shit out of me now. seriously. >> anthony: you can't let the team down. >> eric: to me, to me it's more insulting to be shitfaced at the table -- >> anthony: no, no. not here. it's perfectly okay to be shitfaced at the table. that's completely acceptable. it's gonna be a wild week. >> eric: yes, i have the sense of that. >> anthony: here's something they talk about a lot in sichuan when discussing food -- two elements of flavor personified by two ingredients that are integral to so much of the cooking around here. the sichuan peppercorn, known for its flowery, aromatic flavor
and its tingly, mind-arranging, mouth-numbing effects. a phenomenon called "ma." and the spicy chili peppers like -- or the even hotter "facing heaven chili" provide the "la," pure heat. so, if you imagine, like, isla, she wolf of the ss, tormenting you with nipple clamps as the la, the ma, provided by the pleasantly deranging peppercorns, would be like the naughty nurse with the ice cubes. ♪ [ singing ] >> anthony: what's your -- uh, what's your feeling on msg? >> eric: i don't mind msg. >> anthony: yeah, i think it's good stuff. >> eric: i do not react to it. >> anthony: right. no, no. me too. nobody does. it's a -- it's a lie, man. >> eric: well, you find a lot of natural msg in tomatoes. >> anthony: in breast milk. in parmesan. >> eric: yeah, in a lot of products. >> anthony: yeah. you know what causes chinese restaurant syndrome? racism. [ eric laughs ] >> anthony: "ooh, i have a headache. it must have been the chinese
guy." >> go: most of the traditional, very famous dishes of sichuan cuisine are not made from chef. it all comes out from the family. >> eric: uh-huh. >> go: so, family dishes is the key of sichuan cuisine. >> anthony: in my quest to set eric's perfect hair on fire, i have arranged dinner with this man, go sa, who runs the sichuan cuisine museum here. he takes us to a neighborhood favorite for some typical local dishes, like pickled chicken feet, cartilaginous little bits of gnawable goodness. >> eric: how do you eat this one? >> go: just bite it and don't eat the bone, though. >> eric: no, no. oh, it's good. >> anthony: it's delicious. >> eric: it's spicy also, yeah. >> go: yeah. very spicy. have some beer. >> eric: but the food is really good, but the spice is a little bit of a challenge, i have to say. >> anthony: oh yeah.
now we're talking. you're gonna love this dish, my friend. >> go: yeah, that's a -- find the chicken in the pile of chili. >> anthony: lao sze chi literally means "spicy chicken," but the dish, in practical terms, is a game of finding the bits of chicken in the mountain of ass-burning goodness. c'mon, it's fun for the whole family. "is that a tiny nubbit of hacked chicken? or a nuclear cluster of chili seeds?" the sichuan peppers are the, for me, like, the really, super addictive. >> eric: oh yeah, i feel them now. it's all tingling. >> anthony: yeah. >> eric: like that. right? >> anthony: there's a scientific name for the process, for what happens. is the biological agent that causes confusion in your nervous system. causes tingling. >> go: confusion. >> anthony: confusion. yeah. >> eric: it's what i feel right now, yeah. [ anthony laughs ] >> eric: i'm totally confused, i'll tell you that. >> go: oh, mapo dofu. >> anthony: oh, my favorite. >> eric: that one i have the
feeling is the killer. >> anthony: look at that, man. that is some goodness right there. for me, the apex of sichuan food, my absolute favorite, improbably enough, is a tofu dish. this tofu dish. the legendary mapo dofu. or "pock mark granny" tofu. ground pork or beef, cubes of bean curd, in a rich, deeply nuanced, fiery but intensely satisfying sauce of chili oil, bean paste, garlic shoots, ground sichuan peppercorns, and msg. this dish, done right, has got it all. oh, that's so good. it's a perfect balance of stuff going on in here. i just love, love, love this dish. >> eric: actually, the spiciness makes me already, like, um, feeling that i am drunk kind of. you know? >> go: really? >> eric: yeah. i'm like -- >> anthony: you high, man? you look high. >> eric: i am. but i like it. >> go: yeah.
>> anthony: and if you ever go, like, have a hangover, and you will, my friend, you will -- um, this will scare the evil right out. >> eric: it's prepping me for a drinking night. >> anthony: the glory of france -- >> eric: shut up. >> anthony: -- is on your shoulders. [ go laughs ] >> anthony: and green peppercorn fish, served in a simmering vat of seasoned fish broth, laced heavily with fresh and dried green sichuan peppercorns, and finished off with a heavy pour of boiling hot vegetable oil. >> go: i think this is the most numb you are gonna feel. >> eric: that's going to be a challenge, this one, for me. >> anthony: any second now that perfect hair is gonna burst into flames. >> eric: that's good. >> anthony: man, i love the food here. how'd that feel? >> eric: it changed you physically, like, i feel like my face is changing.
like my eyes are in a different position. right? >> anthony: i got news for you. it -- yeah, you better look at yourself in the mirror, man. >> go: just slow down. don't rush. >> eric: slow down, right? >> go: yeah, slow down a little bit. >> anthony: man, those, those peppercorns are awesome. >> eric: ah. i need towels. holy cow. whoa. [ anthony laughs ] >> eric: they're all looking at me from the kitchen. they are like, "this guy's gonna survive or what?" thanks for coming. now when it comes to a financial plan this broker is your man.
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>> anthony: thank you. oh no, do i have to wear one of those vests? ah, geez. you're gonna sink like a stone in this thing. my friend eric is a buddhist. not a weekend buddhist either. a serious, long-term practitioner of tibetan buddhism. it's what makes him so different from me. he, for instance, is nice. i am not always so nice. >> eric: look on the rock. it's something written in chinese. >> anthony: maybe, you know, "gift shop this way." >> eric: no. [ laughs ] >> anthony: whoa. check it out, man. >> eric: i know. >> anthony: about two hours south of chengdu at the confluence of the min jiang, dadu, and ching yi rivers is the giant leshan buddha. carved out of the cliff wall
back in 713, it still stands as the largest stone buddha in the world. whoa, that was pretty awesome. >> eric: that was beautiful, huh? >> anthony: and me without my selfie stick. though eric's buddhism diverges somewhat from the kind practiced here, as you might imagine, the site is respected and revered by all buddhists. i am respectful of faiths not my own, and i am more than happy to let my friend do what he does. it means a lot to him. and, like i said, i respect that. really. pretty cool. >> eric: isn't it? >> anthony: all right. this is a tasty rabbit head dispensary? all right. >> eric: is it here? no. is it here?
>> anthony: yeah, man. that's what you've been waiting for. but all this time, in a little, evil, part of my brain, i've been secretly looking forward to this moment. a tasty sichuan snack famous and much loved around these parts. i'm talking bunny heads, yo. tasty, tasty bunny heads. i think you use the glove. >> eric: yeah. >> anthony: like you're doing a little, uh, prostate exam. look at -- look at those teeth. he hates, whoa. >> eric: oh, you have the tongue too. >> anthony: yanked the jaw right out. oh, that's good. that is delicious. seriously spicy, delicious, flesh still clinging to little thumper's skull. look at those little teeth. and, the best part, after you rip off the jaw and split the skull, the tasty, chiclet-sized brain. >> eric: hm. it's a lot of meat. >> anthony: just suck that brain right out. >> eric: i'm not a fan of brains, but i'm gonna try. >> anthony: you haven't had these brains. rabbit brains are different. they're not, like, custardy, creamy. they're, kind of, like, little, they're like uni. ♪ here comes peter cottontail hoppin' down the bunny trail ♪
right into my mouth. >> eric: how did you crack that? >> anthony: you just get that soft spot, you just crack that thumb in, and pry it apart. yeah. aw, geez. yeah. or you just pound it on the curb. so you, you basically crack it. oh! you're whittling out the brain with its own jaw bone. [ eric laughs ] >> anthony: there's a certain country justice to that. i wish i'd known about these things. you know what, i'm gonna make these next easter. >> eric: yes. >> anthony: i mean, the whole easter egg hunt. what does that have to do with bunnies? you know what i'm saying? bunnies don't lay eggs. but they do have heads. look deep. deep into the murky depths of that most glorious and iconic of sichuan dishes. it burns. it burns you down to your soul. >> all: cheers.
>> anthony: local friend xiao bin and musician friend seven. wu jiao ling and gao shin. all enjoy a good hot pot. almost everybody around here does. eric, however, seems apprehensive. >> anthony: so, this is eric's first time for sichuan hot pot. >> gao: really? >> anthony: i think you're really going to enjoy this. >> eric: yeah. >> anthony: so this is particularly good, right? >> xiao: it is known for being spicy. so -- [ laughs ] >> seven: not a good news. [ laughs ] >> eric: i feel it in my eyes already. yeah. >> anthony: the way it works is you order a whole bunch of ingredients -- meat, vegetables, noodles, fish, whatever you like, a lot of different ingredients, and you feed them into the pot. >> seven: we should just throw them first. >> anthony: yeah. i mean, 'cause that's gonna take a long time. let's throw that tripe in. >> seven: that's called, like, thousand-layer stomach. >> anthony: it's all going in there, man. the inner ring is a more neutral broth. the outer ring, though, is the good stuff. the hard stuff.
>> xiao: this is now boiling. >> anthony: oh, that's good, man. that's good. >> xiao: that was eric's first bite of hot pot. >> anthony: awesome, right? >> eric: yes. >> anthony: and it only gets better, my friend. >> gao: oh, this is nice. >> anthony: oh yeah. >> seven: tofu. >> eric: oh, this is tofu? >> seven: yeah. >> eric: oh, it's the skin on top? >> seven: yeah. >> anthony: common ingredients like tofu and seaweed, various meats and fishes, are stirred in along with ingredients that are, shall we say, less familiar to the western palate. they got the duck. >> eric: yeah, yeah. >> anthony: then they reach inside, they grab the, grab the intestines, and yank 'em out of a live duck. >> eric: no! >> seven: yeah. supposedly that's the bit that gives you, like, the most fresh. >> eric: but it's a bit cruel, right? >> anthony: well, you want 'em fresh, eric. i mean -- >> seven: yeah. i think we should drink some beer. >> anthony: yes, i think so. >> all: cheers. >> seven: how are you doing
there, eric? >> eric: i'm doing ama-amazingly well. >> seven: hanging in there? >> eric: my sinuses are -- >> seven: open. >> anthony: so open you have no idea. >> wu: best part of hot pot is to share. >> eric: is to share? >> wu: to share, yeah. >> eric: yes, i like that too. it's very convenient. >> wu: yeah. sometimes when, we have, like, hotpots for four hours. >> anthony: as it cooks down it gets stronger and stronger and the heat more intense. a delicious yet unpredictable silt of spice gathering at the bottom of this river of hot lava. if you dig deep, like, down to the sediment down there, the river bed, man. it's spicy. you feel enlightened yet? look how the colors changed in the broth. >> xiao: that was -- you kind of
expected it? >> eric: yes. it is exactly what i expected it. [ laughs ] >> seven: more beers, guys? >> anthony: yeah. definitely. >> eric: i cannot think anymore. so i'm gonna eat and drink. >> anthony: but the baijiu comes out and everything is fine again, for me, anyway. i'm not so sure about eric. >> anthony: you're out of it, man. it's all good, though. it's all good. >> eric: okay. >> anthony: don't say okay. the evening's just beginning. >> xiao: everything you just had was appetizer. >> anthony: it's all good, though. it's all good. >> eric: he's the devil. look at him. >> seven: let's drink baijiu. >> anthony: all right, eric. yeah. you're getting into the spirit of things. >> eric: do you know he took me, he took me on this trip to make me suffer. >> seven: yeah.
>> eric: to kill me slowly or fast. >> seven: that's what friend does to another friend. you know? that's what good friends do. >> anthony: yes. >> seven: in drinking culture of china we enjoy torturing your friends. [ eric laughs ] >> xiao: well, let's drink to friendship. >> seven: yeah. >> anthony: to friendship. >> seven: to friendship. >> eric: thank you. i like that. >> wu: ah, okay. to friendship. >> eric: yeah, to friendship. >> seven: to friendship. people, with quickbooks live someone else will do your books for you. they'll even pair you with an expert bookkeeper like me, who knows your business. knows your business! expert bookkeepers who understand your business. intuit quickbooks live bookkeeping. it's the most joyous time of year. especially at t-mobile! let's go to dianne. i got the awesome new iphone 13 pro and airpods, and t-mobile is paying for them both! and this is for new and existing customers. upgrade to the iphone 13 pro and airpods both on us. only at t-mobile.
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>> anthony: morning in chengdu, and my restless pilgrim friend is up early, always a seeker, checking out the sights, sucking up knowledge, nibbling at the edges of celebrity. due, no doubt, to the fact that most of these people think he's richard gere. me, i don't need the glitter or the recognition, and screw wisdom. give me some damn noodles. now, you know that's good. come on. i don't even have to taste that. just look at it. now, get in my mouth. mm. [ cell phone rings ] >> girl: uh, excuse me. can you help my family? i'm from -- >> anthony: nothing from eric. >> eric: they think i'm anthony bourdain. [ laughs ] i'm gonna play a son of a bitch. >> anthony: probably turned his phone off. >> eric: sorry, tony. >> girl: thank you. thank you very much. >> eric: good? you're welcome. thank you. >> anthony: i think he was up last night doing, uh, sichuanese karaoke. >> eric: good, thank you.
thank you. >> anthony: he could be, uh, i don't know, riding the porcelain bus, as they say. >> eric: this is very sweet and sticky, but i like it a lot. i don't even know what i'm eating, but why not? mm. spicy, oof. [ laughs ] thank you. >> anthony: i just know this soup is awesome. i could rule the world after this. still no word from eric. ♪ ♪
>> fuchsia: the chinese invented being obsessed with food. they invented, you know, being obsessed with the providence of the ingredients, with going to a particular place for a particular dish. >> anthony: right. >> fuchsia: so, they've had that tradition for at least 800 years. >> anthony: fuchsia dunlap has had an extraordinary relationship with china, and sichuan in particular, since she first arrived here as a student in 1994. she was the first foreigner to study at the sichuan higher institute of cuisine and has written numerous books about her experiences, and about sichuanese food, which are rightly considered groundbreaking and definitive. to say she was way ahead of her
time is an understatement. she's brought us to chef lan gue jun's restaurant. >> fuchsia: what he's trying to do is, sort of, raise the level of sichuanese food to, sort of, very refined banquet cookery. >> anthony: is what he's doing unusual for chengdu? for china? >> fuchsia: it is really unusual. so, i think, in the west we are, sort of, very used to the idea of the celebrity chef and the individual chef as artist. but in china people traditionally look down on chefs. so, this is quite a new thing. there are very few chefs who are really, like, the creative vision behind the food and doing the work in the kitchen. >> anthony: the meal begins. a large array of cold dishes are laid out. delicate flavors like lily buds scented with rose petals are presented alongside more assertive tastes like thinly sliced braised beef shank with chili oil, tea tree mushrooms blanched and lightly stir-fried
with chinese stem lettuce. >> anthony: and you suggest starting with the -- >> eric: lily buds? >> fuchsia: yeah. i would start with the lily buds because they're nice and wild, yeah. >> eric: it's a nice texture. >> fuchsia: yeah. try one of these. >> anthony: that's -- those mushrooms are amazing. >> fuchsia: yeah. i love these cashews. >> anthony: also prawns served cold with handmade noodles dressed with natural vegetable extracts. >> fuchsia: so you've probably been having all kinds of amazing sichuanese flavors, because sichuan, it's not just about chili and sichuan pepper. it's about -- complex, layered flavors like french sauces. >> eric: yes. >> fuchsia: and there's one of them called -- strange flavor. >> eric: strange flavor. >> anthony: yeah. because it's a mixture of sweet, sour, salty, spicy, numbing, and nutty all together. and this is strange flavor noodles. so, it's just like a real traditional sichuan dish but done in a very refined way. then some soup. a rich, slow-simmered chicken and pork stock, a raft of chopped meat floats on top to clarify the broth. a small bundle of impossibly
thin hand-cut noodles made with duck egg yolks, a western sichuan specialty. [ chef speaking chinese ] >> fuchsia: okay. [ chef speaking chinese ] >> fuchsia: okay. so he's saying, um, first have a smell of this and then a taste of the broth. >> anthony: oh, that's beautiful. >> fuchsia: and just gently press the noodles and then lift them up and eat them. >> eric: yeah, very refined. >> fuchsia: you know, some of these dishes, the character is very similar to what you'd get on the street, but it's just done so beautifully. >> anthony: well, we were talking the other day that so many of the dishes we were eating in the restaurant started out, these were not invented by chefs, or even cooks, they were invented by farmers, uh, and hungry people. i mean, that's the, certainly
the story of much of french cooking. i mean, correct me if i'm wrong. >> eric: no, for sure. but we -- when you can achieve refinement and you keep the soul food in the process you don't have only pretty food, you have amazing food. >> fuchsia: ah! >> anthony: wow, beautiful. >> fuchsia: this is a really amazing dish. i specially requested this dish, which is one of his specialties. so it's sea cucumber from -- off the northeastern coast. so that's a very expensive, rarified banquet ingredient. but it's done with a typical sichuanese sour and hot dressing, or sour and hot seasonings. like, on the street you'd get just these seasonings with slippery sweet potato noodles and a load of offal. >> anthony: right. >> fuchsia: this is a banquet version. >> eric: ah. >> fuchsia: yeah.
>> eric: this is going to be a challenge for me. i'm still battling with my, uh, skills. >> fuchsia: i would hold your bowl a little closer like this, and then it's easier. >> eric: ah! thank you. >> fuchsia: less room for disaster. >> eric: you could have told me that before, tony. >> anthony: ah, i was having so much fun. [ fuchsia and eric laugh ] >> anthony: so that resistance, that boing, that rubberiness, actually, elasticity, it's kind of the last frontier for western palates. >> eric: the gelatinous? >> anthony: the -- and cartilaginous, you know? where there's actual, like, crunch. >> fuchsia: this dish, this delicacy, makes no sense in terms of western gastronomy at all because in the west there's just no concept of eating something for the pleasure of its texture. >> anthony: mm. delicious. really good. >> fuchsia: mm. >> anthony: so, you're, sort of, single-handedly making the beautiful argument that people should go against their natural instincts in the west and open up to what is, really, an
entirely new spectrum of initially difficult and extremely nuanced flavors. >> fuchsia: i just -- i think chinese is the world's most underrated cuisine because everyone loves chinese food, but until recently people, you know, mainly in the west, thought of chinese food as being something very familiar and good to eat but cheap and, like, you know, a bit junky, honestly. and, um, i think that now people can see that it has so much more to offer. it's got everything from the most elevated banquet food, imperial cooking, hearty peasant food, street food, buddhist vegetarian cooking, muslim cooking, ethnic minorities with their own styles, and, so, it's really what you can call a gastronomic culture. they release medicine fast for fast pain relief. and now get relief without a pill
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>> anthony: in the high-stress world of the professional kitchen, the job of the executive chef is much like an air traffic controller. one misheard order, one garbled communication, could lead to, well, disaster. it is with this in mind that i arrange for eric to receive the attentions of a specialist in the maintaining of perfect hearing and ear-related health. >> eric: but the guy's a doctor or he's like, uh, an amateur,
like, in the street? >> anthony: he kind of like a doctor. more of a technician. a caregiver. and you can do it right here in the park while enjoying your tea. who needs a doctor, bro? oh, here you go. my man needs a cleaning, yes, yes. [ man laughs ] >> eric: oh, he's laughing. >> anthony: enjoy your therapy. you might want to put that down. if he hits the sweet spot, just relax, dude. keep your head forward. >> eric: what he's doing it, scraping? >> anthony: well, he has a number of devices. it's a very -- >> eric: but he's using those devices on everybody else here? because -- >> anthony: no, no, no. they're thoroughly sanitized after every customer. stay in place. if you move you're, you know -- don't try this at home, folks. one wrong move to the right or the left and the patient could lose all memory of life before 1985. which, if it includes kenny loggins, might be a good
deal, but i digress. >> anthony: oh yeah. here comes the good part. oh yeah. that's a rush, right? >> eric: it's like, uh -- >> anthony: the road to enlightenment, right there. >> eric: ah, now the massage. >> anthony: oh, and you might as well straighten out eric's neck while you're at it. >> eric: whoa! don't do that. ah! >> anthony: oops. that didn't sound good. so, you ready for the ass cleaner? he's coming, he'll be right over. same tools as the ear cleaner, by the way. as i explained to eric, a true artist must never stop learning. the japanese have a name for this principle and the intended pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment -- kaizen. [ teacher speaking chinese ] >> woman: today we will learn fish-flavored dish, ready the pork. >> anthony: so it was with this in mind, as well as the classic work of mr. rodney dangerfield,
that i decided to go back to school, to make the ultimate sacrifice for my friend, to return to that place of childhood torment. stop trying to suck up to teacher, i saw that. apple polisher. so that my friend might learn, might, just maybe, better himself, and hopefully bring some of that knowledge to the hungry and the needy people at le bernardin. you got that right? good machine, no problem? >> eric: yeah. >> anthony: okay. whoa! doing good. [ teacher speaking chinese ] >> girl: it's a little thick. >> eric: yeah. >> anthony: little thick, man. >> eric: okay. >> anthony: in order to get to the top in the harsh, competitive world of professional cooking, sometimes you gotta use sharp elbows. >> girl: more. >> eric: more? >> girl: more starch. >> anthony: get your own, man. >> anthony: it's a cold world out there, better he learns it here than on the street.
>> eric: hands up! i win the prep. >> teacher: green on there. >> anthony: the wok is intensely hot, things cook quickly in there. a few seconds too slow and things swiftly turn from the sublime to the ridiculous. >> teacher: okay! finish. >> anthony: et voila, cheese eater. [ teacher speaking chinese ] >> woman: overcooked. a little. only a little. >> anthony: and what about this guy? [ teacher speaking chinese ]
>> woman: the same problem. a little overcooked. >> anthony: overcooked, did you hear that, eric? >> eric: when did i overcook it? >> woman: and you cut the meat a little thick. >> anthony: this is flinstonian knife work. >> eric: you're so competitive, i can't believe it. >> anthony: look at that knife work. >> eric: those mushrooms are too big. look at that. you throw off the balance of the dish. you see here? you feel the consistency of the meat. >> anthony: feeling the consistency of the meat is something you're well used to, my friend. justable has no penalties or advisory fee. and we can monitor to see that we're on track. like schwab intelligent income. schwab! introducing schwab intelligent income. a simple, modern way to pay yourself from your portfolio. oh, that's cool... i mean, we don't have that. schwab. a modern approach to wealth management.
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i've been it seems there is a terrifyingly powerful yet much-loved alcoholic beverage at the very center of the culture. one whose consumption is rigorously observed in ritual and tradition. whether it's some sinister moonshine in a 55-gallon drum in africa or a distilled spirit in the jungles of borneo, the mountains of the caucuses, or a more refined concoction as here, you must drink it. ladies and gentlemen, i give you baijiu. baijiu has been around for a very long time and the shui jing fang distillery has been making this stuff for over 500 years. >> man: normally chinese people drink premium baijiu in the occasion of entertaining important guests.
so, in china, premium baijiu means a lot. >> anthony: at a business dinner, a banquet, one can reasonably expect to drink quite a lot of the stuff, especially when your hosts are in the business of making it, and my french friend has concerns. >> man: do you want to know how we drink? >> anthony: yes. of course. yes, that's very important. >> man: in chinese tradition, um, we start three cups, so we drink together. after three cups, everyone will with each other one by one. >> man 2: welcome to china, welcome to sichuan. >> eric: thank you. >> anthony: i have told him what might be expected of him and the futility of resisting. >> eric: the aroma is very distinctive. very, very special. >> anthony: there will be food, i told him. a lot of food. and baijiu.
and one must not, under any circumstances, bring shame on our house. now, the next round it's one by one? >> man: yeah. >> anthony: so, how does that work? oh no! oh. i mean, we may as well get started. >> man 3: thank you very much. hope you enjoy it. >> eric: thank you very much. >> man 4: welcome to chengdu. >> anthony: thank you so much. in business how often do you entertain like this? >> man: two -- two, three days a week. [ anthony laughs ] >> man 2: and then sometimes in one day three times. >> eric: oh, three times? >> man 2: three. >> anthony: oh, wait. uh, excuse me, eric. >> eric: yes, tony. my dear friend. thank you so much for taking me here.
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[ train whistle ] ♪ [ train whistle ] >> anthony: like many residents of the city of chengdu, we decide to head out to the country for the weekend. get in touch with, like, nature, man. i made a potentially lethal mistake this morning. i did something i never do. >> eric: which is? >> anthony: i ate a western breakfast at the hotel. it's bad. always, always bad news. >> eric: why? >> anthony: just something you shouldn't do when you're outside of the states. never eat the western breakfast in a hotel. >> eric: no, that i agree. yeah. >> anthony: i'm feeling it already. it's not good. >> eric: well, the good news we are seated by the bathrooms. >> anthony: you know, i don't want -- on a train is never a good thing. >> eric: you have luxury taste, i noticed. kind of elitist. >> anthony: really? i don't like to roll around in my own -- in a moving bathroom. that's elitist?
>> eric: embrace the experience. [ laughs ] >> chen: we're about, maybe, 115 kilometers away from the center city of chengdu. >> anthony: chen zhong is a filmmaker from beijing who often returns to chengdu, the place of his birth, to enjoy the more laid-back pace. >> anthony: so, on the weekends, everybody comes out to, what's it called? >> chen: it's a term to describe a place like this. it means, you know, that the agricultural family happiness. something like that. >> anthony: agricultural family happiness. or rural family happiness. >> chen: rural, yeah, rural family happiness. it's like the rural families, they are holding the business like this. a restaurant and also an entertainment place for people to come over to eat, to enjoy the view, to fish, and to play mahjong. >> anthony: you ever do that?
when you go back to france, go a weekend, help somebody pick grapes, do agricultural work? >> eric: not really. >> anthony: you worked on, you lived on a farm for a while, yes? >> eric: yeah. >> anthony: can you milk a cow? if you had to, would you know how to milk a cow? >> eric: yeah, yeah. i can milk a -- yeah, i can milk a cow. yeah. mm-hmm. you know how to do it? >> anthony: can you -- uh, how hard could it be? >> eric: it's not easy. >> anthony: i can squeeze. >> eric: no, no. it's not easy. you have to have a touch, a special touch. i'm telling you. >> anthony: how long does it take to learn? >> eric: well, it depends how good you are with your fingers. >> anthony: oh, i'm good. >> chen: almost every city in sichuan has a kind of representative dishes and in this area they're very famous for its intestine. pig intestine. >> anthony: oh yeah? it's not bad. >> eric: uh-huh. >> anthony: so, if you were on a beach -- >> eric: okay. >> anthony: you're hanging out,
you're drinking a nice bottle of chilled rosé, having some fois gras snacks and some saucisson as one does -- >> eric: yeah. we all do that. >> anthony: who would you rather see in a speedo? wolf blitzer, dr. sanjay gupta, or anderson cooper? >> eric: ooh. that's a tough one. >> anthony: no. no, actually that's an easy -- there's an easy answer. >> eric: none of them. >> anthony: really? >> eric: in a speedo? you know what is a speedo? it's those bathing suits -- >> anthony: well, no. it's a banana hammock. it's a -- it's a -- >> eric: like, like a small, very narrow bathing suit. >> anthony: it's a french style. >> chen: ah, ah, ah, okay. okay. >> anthony: so when someone's running in slow motion down the beach in a silver lame speedo, of those three, who would you choose? >> eric: i don't know. >> anthony: come on! it's anderson cooper. the guy, like, works out. that's a good-looking man. >> eric: does he? he works out? i don't know. >> anthony: you disappoint me, eric. you really do. cheers. >> chen: cheers. cheers. >> eric: cheers. ganbei.