Anthony Bourdain: The Layover

The Layover with Anthony Bourdain

If you are like most people, you look for the cheapest airline ticket, even if it means you have to layover and have to change planes. A foodie traveler takes advantage of that layover to explore a new place, visit and old familiar one, and eat. That’s the premise behind Anthony Bourdain‘s new series, The Layover, premiering on the Travel Channel on Monday, November 21st at 9:00 PM.

Super Chef caught a sneak peak of the premier that follows Tony to Singapore where he stays has a layover of some 30 hours. This is fast paced touring – see and taste as much as possible – while showing scenes of the city from a taxi, a motorcycle, or city bus in a three-paned screen – with the time recorded and maps of where he is going. We tag along as he inspects the bathroom in the presidential suite of the Grand Hyatt (he was bumped up), and as he plunks down for an early morning breakfast of street food. These are places he knows well, or his various local guides introduce him to their new finds in familiar districts of the city.

One of them complains about how expensive Singapore is – describing the astronomically high costs associated with owning a car. But that means there is no traffic – there is also no litter, little crime, no drugs (to which Tony takes exception as he contemplates a visit to a night zoo).

” I could go the rest of my life without seeing Sex in the City. I was published here, without being edited at all and I write a filthy, filthy book.”
“I read that one,” says his guide.

He moves from meal to meal – two or three restaurants per meal – or snacks, tea, or cocktail.

He eats Chicken Rice with a TV producer at Chin Chin Eating House. It’s the national dish, “So beautiful, so austere,” says Tony while eating chili -soaked pieces of chicken and rice. Then he goes for biryani at an Indian restaurant before visiting the Botanic Gardens, founded 150 years ago. His commentary is interspersed with scenes from restaurants he might have – but didn’t – visit, and talking heads – an unidentified British man, a Singaporean gentleman and two Indian girls who give advice. Who are they? It’s hard to tell – but they are earnest and obviously enjoying themselves.

Late at night Tony keeps eating – even as he complains of his visibly distended stomach. Does it make the viewer queasy? Sure, but if you are a confirmed foodie, that is the price you pay. He finally grabs a nap at his hotel before heading out to yet another breakfast in the morning before the heading to the airport.

This is a postcard from a city – and that has its limitations – but works quite well for a city like Singapore. It’s relatively small, and yet full of different communities that seem to all love indulging in the very thing Tony loves indulging in – eating.

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