Many people are surprised to learn that while Anthony Bourdain loved Vietnam best among the many destinations he visited, Japan was the place he visited most. Over the course of his career, Tony filmed 10 episodes in Japan, from bustling big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto to places less populated and visited by most tourists, like Hokkaido, Okinawa, and the Ishikawa Prefecture. It is this last part of Japan that you might be interested in when reading this article.
Anthony Bourdain visited the Ishikawa Prefecture twice, to film season 8 (episode 5) of No Reservations and again to film season 8 (episode 6) of Parts Unknown. These are his only two on-screen visits to that part of Japan, though he visited the country many other times.
If you’re planning a trip to this unique region of Japan, you might wonder about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Ishikawa Prefecture – if he was well beyond Japan’s biggest cities, did he eat at any restaurants that you can also visit? Luckliy, the answer is yes! This guide will tell you all of the places that Anthony Bourdain ate in the Ishikawa Prefecture as well as the dishes he enjoyed, where it was possible to identify them.
Want to watch the episodes when Anthony Bourdain visits the Ishikawa Prefecture?
The No Reservations episode (“Japan: Cook It Raw”) is available on Amazon, Hulu, and Apple TV, and the Parts Unknown episode (“Masa’s Japan”) is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
No Reservations (2011) (Cook It Raw)
Bourdain’s first trip to Ishikawa was for the Cook It Raw experimental culinary event in 2011; he was joined by many chefs he had traveled and eaten with, including Rene Redzepi (Copenhagen) and Sean Brock (Charleston) among others. But that one fantastic meal wasn’t the only place he ate as part of that visit…
Tony’s first meal is at Housyouzuchi, which also comes up as Kappo Hosho Sushi in Google maps. It is here that he enjoys the opening dinner for Cook It Raw with the chefs themselves (rather than with the food critics, media, and special guests at the official event dinner later in his trip).
While he doesn’t share what they eat during this meal, but there are plenty of laughs shared.
Nanao Fish Market
As part of preparing for the Cook It Raw meal, the chefs head out on various activities to solicit ingredients they need – this includes foraging out in the woods to get ingredients and going out on one of the most successful fishing trips Bourdain ever filmed.
After a morning of fishing, he visits the restaurant inside the Nanao Fish Market for a traditional Fisherman’s Breakfast: squid sashimi, yellowtail, and fresh-caught fish squid. While these might not sound like traditional breakfash dishes to you, they are for the fishermen of the Ishikawa Prefecture.
Parts Unknown (2016)
Bourdain makes his second visit to this prefecture with chef Masa Takayama as part of an episode focused on the chef’s inspiration and origins. While Takayama isn’t originally from the Ishakawa Prefecture, he does have friends there who the pair of chefs visit.
Omicho Market (Kanazawa/Ishikawa)
Tony and Masa start out at Omicho Market in Kanazawa, the capital city. There, as he often does during market visits, Bourdain samples foods from different vendors, including sea urchin, kano-gani (snow crab), grilled eel livers (unagi), and giant oysters.
The chefs then head out for a formal kaiseki – traditional, multi-course – dinner with Takayama’s friend Yaeko, owner of the Fujinoya tea house.
The trio dine at Yamanoo, enjoying courses that include seabream over rice, grilled rockfish steamed in smoking wormwood, bamboo shoots and Wagyu beef with soy sauce and mirin, a sashimi course of cod with sake-cured roe and flounder with grilled tomato rub, and a clam hot pot with plum, clam, sea urchin, and Japanese broccolini blossom.
Home Meal in Yamanaka Onsen
For one more meal in the Ishikawa Prefecture, Tony and Masa head to the home of Masa’s friend and art adviser Haruo Konishi, for a meal with him and artist Akihiko Izukura.
There, they enjoy a series of more regional dishes, including iwana (char), Hokkaido scallops, wild Japanese boar, local quail, grilled fukinoto, and soba noodles with duck and green onion with dashi sauce. They also enjoy unfiltered sake, a nice addition to the more uncommon dishes the chefs try.
While he doesn’t make many stops, there are certainly good places to eat that were visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Ishikawa Prefecture. Have any questions about these spots Tony ate? Let me know in the comments!