Series: Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern
"If it looks good, eat it!"Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern
—Andrew Zimmern, saying the series' catchphrase.
is an American Live-Action TV
show concerning the food-based travels of Andrew Zimmern. It first debuted in 2007 on the Travel Channel and focuses on discussing foods from other countries that Western audiences might find disgusting, strange, or otherwise odd
to eat as food. The idea of the show is to discuss the regional foods of foreign countries as well as the cultural impacts of those foods, how the foods are made, and yes, of course how they taste
. The show has consistently stayed popular throughout its currently six-year run and has spawned a few spin-offs, including Bizarre World
, which discussed things other than foods that Western audiences might perceive as "strange" and Dining with Death
, which focuses on foods that can kill you (which has nothing to do with food poisoning) and the biology behind it.
Starting with season 7, the show has been re-titled Bizarre Foods America
, which focuses on the oddball and often interesting regional dishes of the United States of America or the American continents, in which the title is changed to Bizarre Foods Americas
. Season 1 of Bizarre Foods America
is interchangeable with Season 7 of Bizarre Foods
, and so on.
As of season 13 (which aired in Fall 2014), the show has gone back to its international roots and dropped the "America" from its title.
This TV show contains the following tropes:
- Apron Matron: Not quite Once an Episode, but like No Reservations, is often a source of good food.
- Author Tract: Avoids this most of the time, unless talking about the culture in the locale.
- He does get into this regarding the Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches. Instead of Geno's or Pat's, he declares the one specializing in Italian Pork the best he's ever eaten.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. He often uses this show to promote sustainable fishing or promoting sustainability in food sources. He even advocates alternative food sources, such as insects.He's been doing more Tracting in later seasons, adding plenty of
- Big Fun: Andrew, full stop.
- Christmas Episode: Once. In that episode, Andrew Zimmern invites guests (who are profiled in past episodes) to bring in food from their culture and to share it with others, via Christmas dinner.
- The Chew Toy: More prevalent in the later episodes/seasons. The guests, sometimes being Genre Savvy, will deliberately make him try some foods even they won't eat. Of course, Andrew does get back against them, in a good-humored way.
- Conspicuous Consumption: Often orders more food than he can finish. Less the case in the later seasons.
- Cosplay Otaku Girl: Encounters a couple of these in Tokyo, who manage to get him to cosplay as well.
- Crossover: Had crossover appearances with Anthony Bourdain in the New York episode. He also did a crossover segment the Minnesota episode of Man v. Food.
- Does Not Like Spam: A literal example with Spam, which got Andrew a few looks at his inability to finish a dish made with it in the Hawaii episode. Also of note is Andrew's aversion to durians and quite possibly the strangest, considering the premise of the show, walnuts.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first season, episodes ended with a hook to show what places he might be visiting next. By the next season, this was dropped.
- Extreme Omnivore: He is willing to eat foods most other people do not wish to eat. Played for laughs and drama when his travel companions won't eat the food Andrew Zimmern claims is good.
- The Food Poisoning Incident:
- Word of Andrew says that he has an iron stomach that can digest most of the foods, but there are several things even he refuses to eat because it will likely invoke this trope:
- Food from stalls or restaurants whose water source is very sketchy.
- Raw intestines. The bacteria can easily kill him due to lack of immunity.
- Things labeled "Fresh" when he knows it's not fresh by Western standards. The best example is the meat market of Morondava, Madagascar.
- cleaned from the water that had feces and oil floating on it. Now, he recognizes that their immune system can handle it, but his cannot. Thankfully, he doesn't get sick as a result.In the Cambodia episode, he was eating fish cleaned from the river, which he says was
- Food Porn: And how! It sometimes comes to bite him back, usually for laughs.
- Foreign Queasine: The whole point of the show, though this is inverted in Bizarre Foods America where it can be Local Queasine.
- Formerly Fat: Sorta, which is not a bad thing. He is still portly, but if you compare his appearance in the earlier seasons of Bizarre Foods and the more recent episodes of Bizarre Foods America, he has definitely slimmed down. Lampshaded in the Boston episode of Bizarre Foods America where a Vietnamese grandma straight-up tells Zimmern that when she saw him on TV, he was big but seeing him in person, he has gotten smaller.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Or rather, "shat", the past form/participle of the word "shit." The censors do catch his other curses 99% of the time.
- Going Native: He always emphasizes that the best places to eat and go are always off the beaten path and not necessarily where the mainstream places are.
- Halloween Episode: Once.
- Happily Married: Obviously Truth in Television, but this was used as a plot point in the Madagascar episode. He brings his wife for this trip so the both of them can witness a coming-of-age circumcision ceremony. One of the boys is having his foreskin circumcised without anesthesia, and the foreskin has to be eaten by the grandfather. This was very uncomfortable for the both of them, but according to Andrew, they became stronger as a result.
- Hollywood Atlas: Plays with and mostly subverts it. See Going Native for the reason.
- Honor Before Reason: He may have reservations about the food or the source (the Cambodian episode is the star example) but he will try the food or do the activity.
- I Do Not Drink Wine: For good reason: Andrew is a former drug addict.
- I Told You So: There's at least one episode where the guests warned him not to eat something (dried frogs sold by a street vendor). He shrugs it off, buys a couple (they're very small) and starts to eat them anyway. They were so disgusting he couldn't finish them, and the guests then explained in more detail why they warned him not to try those: they suspected the vendor had caught them in the nearby river/open sewer.
- If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: Invoked by both guests and Andrew.
- If It Tastes Good It Must Be Bad For You: Again, Invoked by both guests and Andrew. This is in full effect for Chinese Medicine where the doctor tells Andrew not to eat most of the stuff he would normally like.
- It Tastes Like Feet: Frequently said.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: Sometimes in the most unexpected places or from the most unexpected preparations.
- Lethal Chef: Averted. This is the focus of his second spin-off mini-series Dining with Death, in which he talks about the food that can be lethal towards humans due to the biology behind it (TTX is a favorite topic) and the chefs that take extreme caution to make sure the toxins do not get on the food.
- Unfortunately, he does mention that fire will not completely destroy the TTX in horseshoe crab eggs. In that sense, whoever is eating horseshoe crab eggs is literally playing Russian Roulette with food.
- Meat Versus Veggies: He's placed firmly in the Meat camp, but he does give respect to Veggies when cooked well.
- Minnesota Nice: Nicely shown in... the Minnesota episode and the Bizarre Foods America "Top 20" episode... in the Minnesota State Fair.
- Produce Pelting: Or rather, Piscine Pelting when Andrew was in the Seattle food market.
- Purple Prose: Some of his descriptions of tastes and food tend to fall into this.
- Running Gag: Andrew Zimmern's loathing of durian. Also, him cooking testicles.
- Sacred Hospitality: Serious Business for him. He also tends to get many honorary titles as a result as well. In fairness, he strives to be a gracious guest at wherever he stays.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Often tags along with hunting parties who are these.
- Science Cocktail:
- The Chicago episode in Bizarre Foods Season 6. He goes to a restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy, and he meets the owners and chefs who bought a $10,000 extraction machine to extract the flavors from fruits and vegetables. They were able to extract the true flavor of Thai Chili Peppers without the spice.
- The Portland episode featured an "Everything Bagel Drink". Yes, it's an everything bagel extracted into liquid form (with help from some tomato juice).
- Any episode that features molecular gastronomy is likely to invoke this trope.
- Shown Their Work / He Really Can Cook: Played straight and subverted. Whenever he gets a chance to cook, he will cook. If anyone forgets that he's a chef, he'll show you why he's one. Subverted when he's introduced to new techniques or "traditional techniques". And this is not including his appearance in Iron Chef America.
- A great example of him cooking is the LA Popup episode in S2 of Bizarre Foods America.
- Andrew will cook body parts that others seems to ignore. A favorite of his is testicles.
- The Charleston episode had him shoot one of the nuisance birds, which is as big as an eagle. His hosts then said "Why don't you break down that bird? I see you do it all the time on TV." Although Andrew doesn't present himself as an expert on this, he breaks down that bird like an expert.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: He's placed firmly in the Idealistic side.
- Something Completely Different: Besides the holiday-themed episodes and "Best of" episodes," there are episodes that completely derail the basic structure of a Bizarre Foods episode.
- Season 4's finale had the Survival special. Basically, Andrew is given a crash course on basic survival before he's dropped in the jungles of Mexico to see if he can survive.
- Season 6's "Will Work for Food." He visits several restaurants and tries to see if he can work in the NYC environment. Ranges from noodle shops in Chinatown, to Four Star restaurants, to local bars.
- Season 2 of Bizarre Foods America, "LA Popup." Similar to "Will Work for Food", except he opens his own restaurant in LA. It gets shut down by the LAPD for generator problems.
- Special Guest: Many
- Eastern Pennsylvania (Philadephia segment): Masaharu Morimoto. Morimoto returns the favor and makes him his sous chef in an episode of Iron Chef America opposite Bobby Flay and Marcia Valladolid.
- Montreal: Nadia G. and the crew of Bitchin' Kitchen
- New York/New Jersey: Anthony Bourdain
- San Francisco: Chris Cosentino and Aarón Sanchez
- Oddly enough, himself as guest judge in the West Virginia Road Kill Cook-off.
- Again, himself as Guest Judge in an upcoming episode of Chopped airing January 20, 2015.
- Tastes Like Chicken: Takes this Up to Eleven in some places. In the inaugural episode, he declares that the chickens in the Philippines taste much stronger than the ones you find in the US.
- Tastes Like Friendship: One of the basic premises and philosophies on this show: "Sharing food is the greatest way to break down barriers between different cultures."
- Trademark Favorite Food: Testicles. Also, anything made from pork. Even though he is Jewish.
- Travelogue Show