As Anthony Bourdain fans flock to her restaurant, the owner of the Hanoi noodle shop where Bourdain slurped down ‘bun cha’ with former US president Barack Obama has expressed her shock and sorrow over the death of the globetrotting American celebrity chef.
Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant in the Vietnamese capital’s leafy Old Quarter soared to fame after the sit-down between then-President Obama and Bourdain during an episode of the CNN show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, aired in September 2016.
The pair shared a simple meal of pork noodles and fried spring rolls — each dish worth around $3 — and photos of the casual dinner quickly went viral.
The late Anthony Bourdain posted this snapshot of himself, sitting down for bun cha in a restaurant in Vietnam, with then-President Obama in 2016
The restaurant in Hanoi’s leafy Old Quarter, Bun Cha Huong Lien, soared to fame after the episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown featuring Obama was filmed there in 2016
After news of Bourdain’s death broke Friday, Obama posted this tribute to the celebrity cook, featuring an image of the pair during the iconic episode of Bourdain’s CNN show
Bourdain, 61, died by suicide while in France filming an episode of his Emmy-winning CNN food and travel program, the network said Friday.
‘I was surprised and sad when I heard about (Bourdain’s) death,’ Nguyen Thi Nga, co-owner of Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant told AFP.
‘(Bourdain) was a nice, friendly and folksy person… He praised our bun cha dish and its fish-sauce broth. He loved Vietnamese food,’ Nga said.
Inside the restaurant, as hungry customers poured in for lunch on Saturday, diners gave extra attention to the glass box in which the table and chairs used by Bourdain and Obama are preserved.
‘I came here to share the grief of the loss of such a talented chef… he was a such a special person because he had such a great passion for Vietnamese food,’ customer Nguyen Quan told AFP.
Obama posted a tribute on Twitter to Bourdain on Friday, sharing a picture of the pair drinking beer during the meal which took place during Obama’s state visit to Hanoi.
In the tweet, Obama quoted Bourdain’s original tweet about the picture — ‘Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer’ — and added, ‘This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.’
In March, Bourdain posted a picture on Instagram revealing that the table where he and Obama ate their meal at the restaurant was now encased in glass. ‘Not sure how I feel about this,’ Bourdain wrote.
Bourdain posted a picture of the Parts Unknown crew ‘and special guest’ Obama at the restaurant after the interview was taped
The pair shared a simple meal of pork noodles and fried spring rolls at what Bourdain called a ‘decidedly working class,’ which was a far cry from the state dinners Obama was used to
Bun Cha Huong Lien’s owner, Nguyen Thi Lien (in 2016), said Saturday she was ‘surprised and sad’ when she heard that Bourdain had committed suicide on Friday
Bourdain died while in France filming an episode of his Emmy-winning CNN food and travel program ‘Parts Unknown.’ French prosecutors said he hanged himself Friday
Bourdain traveled to Vietnam several times throughout his life, making several TV programmes about his fascination with the country’s food.
In an article about the episode, Bourdain wrote that he picked the ‘decidedly working class’ Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant as the setting for his interview with Obama because it ‘is not exactly the kind of place the President was likely to be taken by his hosts on any official state visit.’
Bourdain wrote that he assumed Obama had spent ‘more than his share of time in the banquet rooms of major chain hotels, slogging through long state dinners, eating representative menus of “national dishes.”‘
The day after the episode was filmed, ‘I was suddenly recognizable to the Vietnamese who rode their scooters and motorbikes around me. They’d seen me in the newspapers and again and again would point at me, shouting “Bun cha! Mister Bun Cha!”‘
While Speaking with Anderson Cooper about the iconic episode, Bourdain said, ‘I’ve never seen a guy enjoy a cold beer and a low plastic stool more than President Obama, by the way.’
Bourdain was found unresponsive on in the bathroom of his room at Le Chambard hotel in Kayserberg, France, by his close friend and famed chef Éric Ripert, on Friday.
French prosecutors revealed later that day that Bourdain hanged himself with the belt of his bathrobe in a small hotel room bathroom. A toxicology exam is being conducted to see if there were any traces of alcohol or other substances in his system at the time of his death.
Bourdain had been in France filming scenes for an upcoming episode of his CNN series.
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