Anthony Bourdain Dines On $6 Pork And Noodles With Obama In Vietnam

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain treated Barack Obama to a $6 meal during the first leg of the president’s historic week-long trip to Asia. This marks Obama’s 10th time visiting the region since he took office in 2008. His conversation with Anthony will appear on an upcoming episode of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series, where the host dines on local eats from curiously exotic places around the globe.

Anthony and Obama ate at Bún chả Hương Liên in Hanoi, Vietnam. A spokeswoman for CNN said the pair chowed on a bowl of pho, which is a traditional dish from the area that includes grilled pork served in a broth or dipping sauce, with rice noodles and fresh herbs, New York Post reports. Bourdain shared a picture of them dining on Instagram Monday, saying, “The President’s chopstick skills are on point. #buncha #hanoi.” He also tweeted another photo with the caption, “Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.”

Obama has made many unconventional appearances on TV shows while in office, including driving around with Jerry Seinfeld for an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and learning survival tips from adventurer Bear Grylls for his NBC show. President Obama has also experienced many culinary delights, from tacos in Texas to cinnamon rolls in Alaska, and now, Obama drinking a beer in Vietnam with celebrated chef Anthony Bourdain can be added to the White House walls of classic culinary moments.

The adventurous eater bragged about the cheap meal. “Total cost of bun Cha dinner with the President: $6.00,” Anthony tweeted. “I picked up the check.”

Once word that the President was in town got out, locals rushed to catch a glimpse of one of the most famous political figures. Many took to social media to share photos from his visit, including Carol Lee, a White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal (see her photo below). Obama will soon travel to Japan, becoming the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb during World War II.

Best-selling author Bourdain became widely known for his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. His first food and world-travel television show was A Cook’s Tour, which ran on the Food Network from 2002-2003. In 2005, he hosted two shows for the Travel Channel, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservation, from 2005–2012, and The Layover, which ran from 2011–2013. He then moved over to CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

Despite his global success, 59-year-old Anthony said during an interview with Biography.com that his life didn’t become “comfortable” until he reached his late 40s.

“Oh, man, at the age of 44, I was standing in kitchens, not knowing what it was like to go to sleep without being in mortal terror. I was in horrible, endless, irrevocable debt. I had no health insurance. I didn’t pay my taxes. I couldn’t pay my rent. It was a nightmare, but it’s all been different for about 15 years. If it looks like my life is comfortable, well, that’s a very new thing for me.”

Anthony Bourdain will explore President Obama’s interest in the people, food, and culture of Vietnam on the chef’s CNN show in September when Parts Unknown returns for its eighth season.

[Photo by Rich Fury/AP Images]