Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Owner of Hanoi Noodle Shop Where Anthony Bourdain Took Barack Obama Shares Shock Over Chef’s Death

*The owner of a Hanoi noodle shop where Anthony Bourdain had some “bun cha” and cold beer with Barack Obama has shared her shock and sorrow over the globetrotting celebrity chef’s suicide.

“I was surprised and sad when I heard about [Bourdain],” Nguyen Thi Nga told AFP news agency in Hanoi.

Her restaurant, Bun Cha Huong Lien, became a go-to tourist destination in the Vietnamese capital after Bourdain dined there with then-President Obama for an episode of his Emmy-winning CNN food and travel show, “Parts Unknown.”

“He was a nice, friendly and folksy person,” Nga said. “He praised our bun cha dish and its fish-sauce broth, he loved Vietnamese food,” she added.

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Vietnam was one of Bourdain’s most beloved travel destinations, having visited the region for two episodes of his previous Travel Channel series “No Reservations,” calling it “one of his favorite places on earth.” He once said he would like to relocate to Vietnam to write when he retires.

In 2016, Bourdain brought Obama to Nga’s spot in Hanoi’s leafy Old Quarter. The pair famously sat on plastic stools and shared a $6 meal of pork noodles, fried spring rolls and cheap local beer.

The table where the duo sat and ate, complete with dinner set and empty beer bottles, was later encased in glass and placed on permanent display in the restaurant. “The customers love it; many take photos next to the table,” Nga told the BBC earlier this year. “For us, it is a nice memory that we will cherish forever,” she added.

Obama tweeted a tribute to Bourdain on Friday, sharing a picture of their meal together, which he filmed during an official state visit to Hanoi near the end of his presidency.

Bourdain was found dead in a hotel room in France on Friday of an apparent suicide.

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