Earlier this year, Anthony Bourdain broke bread -- actually, noodles -- with our current commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama. During a long conversation with Bourdain prior to the election, I asked him how he'd imagine that dinner at a small restaurant in Vietnam stacking up next to a meal with Donald Trump.
"Trump would be interesting," he told me, "because watching him struggle with chopsticks would be pretty fucking hilarious. And he is allegedly a germophobe and he eats his steak well-done. So you know, seeing him at a state dinner -- like, a Chinese banquet -- and trying to deal with the hospitality there would be pretty fucking hilarious. How does he even grab chopsticks with those little fingers?"
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"How does he even grab chopsticks with those little fingers?"
While he's never dined with the president-elect, Bourdain did run into the candidate the majority of Americans voted for. "I've met [Hillary] Clinton -- backstage at Jimmy Fallon maybe," he recalled. "She asked me where I was going [next] and I said, 'To the Republic of Georgia.' And she said, 'Oh, my God, the drinking there, and the cheese.' We talked about food; she seemed interested."
But he'd take our nation's president over either of them as a dinner companion. "He's a foodie and he's got good taste in restaurants. And he's very sentimental about the street food of Southeast Asia. Very. You know, he spent a lot of time in Indonesia as a young man. At the meal I had with him, he talked very emotionally and wistfully about the smell of Indonesian street food -- I could see just how much he was digging bun cha. I've never seen a man so happy to drink a beer from the bottle, you know? So I think he'd be the most fun."
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