The show airs on the Travel Channel, Living Channel, and Discovery Travel. It originally premiered in 2005 on the Travel Channel and ran for nine seasons. The show’s host Anthony Bourdain travels overseas to cities worldwide and locations within the U.S. The shows content and format is similar to Bourdain's previous Food Network series (A Cook's Tour) that ran from 2001–2002. The final season of Anthony Bourdain No Reservations premiered on September 3, 2012 and concluded on November 5, 2012.
In 2007, the episode Anthony Bourdain in Beirut won an Emmy for Outstanding Informational Programming. The series also won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming in 2009 and 2011.
Below is a roundup of some locations covered by Bourdain during the show.
Bourdain travels to Hanoi, Tuần Châu, and Mai Chau Vietnam in response to an old friend’s invitation, Linh. Discovering new foods and unravelling more about their customs.
Due to his interest in how cuisines intertwine with some cultures over time, he travelled to Malaysia. During his visit, Bourdain is taken on a tour of the wet market and the hawker stalls in Kuala Lumpur by Chef Wan. He also travels through the Skrang River to visit an Iban village.
Bourdain's journey to Asia takes him to the areas well known for Asian cuisine China and Japan. He goes to Osaka in Japan where he learns of the Hanshin Tigers-Yomiuri Giants rivalry (a baseball rivalry) and to Kuidaore where he tries takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and sushi. From there, Bourdain and an old friend of his, Michiko, travel to Kisoji to take part in a water purification ritual, help celebrate Obon and learn the exchange of meishi. Later on, he plays a Hanshin Tigers game.
In China, Bourdain aimed to tackle the culture and cuisine as much as he could within a short period. His first stop was Beijing, where he tries the sheep, Peking duck, and different types of noodles in a noodle house. After that, he takes a class in Chinese calligraphy and sees a doctor to get several traditional Chinese medicine like acupuncture, electro acupuncture and fire cupping. From there, Bourdain sets off to Sichuan province, to receive an unorthodox ear cleaning, he visits the Jianfu Temple, and tries the Szechuan hotpot. His visit ends when he stops in a village just outside Chengdu for a family dinner using an old method of Chinese cooking.
Bourdain visits Seoul and a town close to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, along with Nari Kye, an assistant at No Reservations. Both men visit a spa and a martial arts class and sample live octopus, Korean barbecue, kimchi, and soju. Before meeting with Kye's family.
Bourdain gets an invite to New Zealand to give a lecture at a food convention. But he decides to search for the real Kiwi culture outside the city of Christchurch after getting a lukewarm reception from the crowd. His ride on an ATV is a little harrowing after which he gets invited to the Māori.
Bourdain visits Paris and explores its famous catacombs, samples some absinthe, checks out a major meat market in the city, and spends a night in the room that Oscar Wilde died in.
He travels to Reykjavík, where during the winter season the volcanic islands can only see about four hours of the sun daily. He finds comfort in the darkness and learns how the people manage to eat, drink, pump iron and spend time at the spa, during the dark days. He tries Hákarl (fermented shark) and later visits the Blue Lagoon.
While at Sicily, Bourdain tries tripe at the II Capo Market and a spleen sandwich with Salvatore Cuffaro the Governor of Sicily. Bourdain is made to sample a cliff dive and he attempts to know where to find the best cannoli.
From Tashkent to Samarkand in Uzbekistan Bourdain explores the 2000-year-old city with a friend of he's Zamir Gotta. He participates in the local culture, attends one wedding ceremony, and receives a full-body massage that turned out traumatizing at a sauna.
During his time in Sweden Bourdain visits Stockholm, and tries the local specialties like fläsklägg and tunnbrödsrulle.
During Bourdain time in Spain he visits the laboratory of Ferran Adria, a popular chef of el Bulli.
Bourdain visits Dublin and then Belfast where he gets to know the legacy of the Troubles. Following that he tries Guinness, Irish stew, and visits some high-end restaurants, (including those of chefs Seamus O'Connell and Paul Rankin).
During his visit to Puerto Rico Bourdain tries the less-touristic part of the island. He tries piña colada at the bar where it was invented, and samples roasted pork at a mofongo as well as lechonera. He embarks on scuba-diving in an attempt to catch a big lobster that proved abortive, and samples horseback riding. He also looks for the mythical chupacabra and embarks on sparring with the boxing champion Miguel Cotto before visiting a music festival and enjoying chicharrón in Bayamón.
At Peru Bourdain meets with famous the Gastón Acurio (Peruvian chef), and tries Peruvian Ceviche before embarking on sightseeing in the county's capital city, Lima. Following that, Bourdain travels to a village in the Peruvian jungle, known as Tambopata, and samples piranhas going through unique experiences. Before leaving he visits Cusco to try new things in the local market and then Machu Picchu, to get peace of mind.
During the visits to New Jersey, Bourdain takes visits his birthplace in a bid to dispel common misconceptions about the State.
Bourdain spends four days exploring Las Vegas and learns how it is transforming to a mecca for chefs.
Bourdain visits Piedras Negras, in Mexico, and the border towns in Texas, where he learns about the influences that both countries have on each other. Finally he goes to the Mexican restaurant where nachos where invented.