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“Shocked” Bourdain Talks Up Iran

“Shocked” Bourdain Talks Up Iran“Shocked” Bourdain Talks Up Iran

Travel enthusiast Anthony Bourdain has seen a lot in his travels across the globe, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be surprised.

When Travel + Leisure asked Bourdain, who is also a chef, author and television personality, what off-the-grid destination surprised him the most during his travels, he was quick to name Iran.

“I was really knocked sideways by how well we were treated in Iran and how delicious the food was and how hospitable ordinary people were to us,” he told T+L.

Bourdain echoed this sentiment many times in his Parts Unknown episode to the Middle Eastern country.

Parts Unknown is a travel and food show that airs on CNN.

“Iran does not look, does not feel the way I expected,” Bourdain said upon landing, noting that there’s a “much bigger picture” than what you see on television.

The warmth with which he was greeted by locals was completely unexpected.

“I am so confused,” he admitted. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”

Many intrepid travelers are now discovering this beautiful country, which landed on T+L’s list of the year’s best places to travel.

In Iran, the ancient and the very new coexist, naturally and easily, everywhere you look. Elaborate mosques, contemporary art, the gardens of Shiraz and (as Bourdain would tell you) the food—fluffy saffron rice and meatballs stuffed with eggs—are more accessible than ever, thanks to improved relations with the West and its political stability.