Anthony Bourdain in Manila: Ivan Man Dy Exclusive!

Our Ultimate Philippines’ Brother and Street Walker, Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks fame was one of Anthony Bourdain’s hosts around Manila. He is our main cultural tour guide for the Ultimate Pampanga and Tagaytay tours. He blogged about his Anthony Bourdain encounter in his blog post: On One Steamy Saturday Morning…

In this OAP Exclusive, I tried to get some juicy anecdotes and kwentos by sending him 10 Questions about the Anthony Bourdain encounter. Check out Ivan Man Dy’s answers below:

Tony sampling local street food. Thank you bystander Christian Annonuevo for immortalizing this moment.

1. How does it feel like to be the person to tour Anthony Bourdain (AB) around Manila?

I feel giddy at the same time honored, it’s only right now that I’m beginning to digest everything. I know Anthony Bourdain, and I used to watch his shows but never read any of his book (and it totally slipped of my mind that he is also a writer). In short, I didn’t realize that he was demi-god in his industry. I’m glad I prepared and researched before the actual shoot .

2. What particular thing that you like about AB?

I appreciated his depth and spontaneity. Initially, I had this impression he was a man of few words but once you start the ball rolling and talk about food, he just delivers. I also noticed that there is a certain perceptiveness to him. I think this clearly shows how well-versed he is with the culture of food and to a lesser degree, in the things that surround him.

3. Can you share a sneak peak on AB’s Manila itinerary?

I could do a tell-all right now of the repertoire right now for but I am only a part of the Manila segment. It was actually a two day-shoot and I only covered the 1st day. I think pre-empting what happened in the the shoot might just ruin the viewer’s element of surprise when they watch the show and I don’t want to be a spoil sport. However, in words of the show’s producer, the menu I prepared for my Manila segment (3 places in total) went around the theme of being ” gritty by tasty.”

4. What was the most memorable moment you had with Anthony?

I spent a total of 4 hours with Tony during the whole shoot. Every moment and morsel was savored.

Shooting Prep. Getting ready to indulge!

5. What did AB like about Filipino Food?

I think what left a deep impression in him is how quite unexpected our culinary culture here as compared with our neighboring Asian countries. He did mention in our lunch conversation that he was not (yet) able to find an exact reference with regard to the Malay/ Chinese/ Hispanic melting pot ingredients that I emphasized in my presentation of Filipino cuisine. And then one day, I read an article on a local newspaper, he was referring to our cuisine as very ‘New World. In my opinion, that summed up what he like about our food, perhaps initially confusing but at the end of the day, our flavors really mixed well and defined the essence of our culinary heritage.

6. What was the most exotic food that you let him try?

If you mean exotic in the instant-shock ‘Fear-Factor’ context, none. I feel strongly about portraying our culture (including our food) in a balanced and ‘taken-in-the-proper-context’ way. The big question, and I’ve seen a lot of comments out there, is that did Tony eat ‘balut’? No, he did not. As much as I like this delicacy, I think its been negatively overused to represent Filipino food. Worse thing is, what they keep showing in Western television is the balut which we most of us (including me) do not eat – the over ripe one with feathers, beaks and all the scary half-fertilized membranes. And besides, Tony himself admitted that doing ‘balut’ again was so ‘last week!’!

Taken in a different context, I think most, if not all, of the food I fed him was exotic in the sense that they were all new to his palate. And most of them are everyday food that I think reflected a typical Manileno’s eating habits. Seen in a bigger spectrum, it’s food someone from Apparri to Jolo would probablly eat. No frills, just the real deal.

Oh, and they are also dishes that I really like to eat.

7. Why do you think the producers selected you to be part of the No Reservations show?

I think this question should be addressed to the producers. I was only referred to them by my half-cabalen (from my matrilineal Kapmpangan side) Claude Tayag but I can tell you people behind No Reservations did a whole lot of back ground research ( I suspect I was also googled a lot) and did not just just take things from the tourist bureau as if the were gospel truth. Why they even asked me about ube hopia and one-day-old chicks! My hats off to the show’s researchers for doing their assignment properly and picking people who were knowledgeable and passionate in their own fields. In total, I think we were six in all: two chefs, one popular food blogger, one famous local actress, the Fil-Am winner of the No Reservations FAN-atic contest and the only cultural tour guide, me.

After the meal. All smiles.

8. Can you share some anecdotes about AB’s visit for all his fans out there?

He doesnt take too much to sweets. I tried offering halo-halo, didnt take it. I tried counter-offering mango sago, still no. And that was our own PHILIPPINE mangoes too, the best in the world! I guess to each their own really.

9. What can we expect from the No Reservations Philippines’ episode?

I’m hoping it comes out really good. Diverse as our backgrounds were, I’d like to think that all those who were chosen for No Reservations Philippines had one goal in common, that is putting a positive light as well as giving a better understanding to this often misrepresented and misunderstood aspect of culture: food. That alone should make the show yummy! Watch out for it, I think it’s coming out in the US early 2009.

10. Is there anything else that you want to share about AB’s visit?

Tony, if you are reading this, next time you come back to the Philippines, Im making you eat spicy binagoogang baboy and buko-sherbet from Pampanga!


Text and Questions by Anton Diaz.
Photos and Answers by Ivan Man Dy. Copyright 2008.

Mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627)

13 thoughts on “Anthony Bourdain in Manila: Ivan Man Dy Exclusive!

  1. I was walking around Manila that time hoping for a glimpse of Anthony Bourdain haha. Thanks for sharing this, Anton. I watch “No Reservations” at any chance I can and I enjoy it immensely. I can’t wait to see how the Philippines is put into light for this, and I’m happy there’s no balut! I’m part of the population who doesn’t really eat it hehe. Cheers!

  2. “The big question, and I’ve seen a lot of comments out there, is that did Tony eat ‘balut’? No, he did not. As much as I like this delicacy, I think its been negatively overused to represent Filipino food.”
    Good call! I think its about time that we highlight what’s truly good and unique about Filipino food, and that what is “authentic pinoy” need not be freaky and outlandish. Nice move, Mr. Dy!:-)

  3. Forgive my ignorance, what channel can I watch “No Reservations”?
    its discovery channel: travel and living 🙂

  4. i sometimes catch “No Reservations” on cable. early 2009 seems like a long wait though, i’m curious to see how they present filipino food this time. you guys are right about the overused representation of balut.

  5. I’m not familiar with “No Reservation” but the idea of being featured on any such Cable / foreign channel is always a great opportunity for anyone. it is also a good to know that other cultures are interested on our culture.

  6. what??!!! he came and he conquered already 🙂 i had not the slightest idea he was coming, i am a BIG fan of Mr. Bourdain. i think it is safe to say that if i knew he is coming i will be his stalker for the day.

  7. i also watch no reservations. i love it because anthony bourdain has such a great personality and character. so it’s really great to finally have him here in the Philippines!

  8. No Reservations, Philippines will be shown in the later part of January 2009 in the U.S., The episode will be shown on Travel & Living Channel here in the Philippines and the rest of Asia several months after the U.S. premiere, well that was what I’ve read. I wonder what narratives would Anthony Bourdain uttered in the Philippines episode. I was impatient before and surprised Mr. Bourdain never bothered to visit the good ‘ol PI during earlier rounds of No Reservaions on TV, now that he’s been here I am glad he referred our food as ‘new world’ taste which is totally unexpected and different from any culinary dishes from other parts of Asia. I just hope Mr. Bourdain would think of the famous General MacArthur phrase ‘I Shall Return’ to the Philippines, and returning would definitely be a whole lot different experience everytime.

  9. Anthony visits the Philippines, the “Land of the LechoN.” He stops in Manila, which is a diverse combination of Spanish and Chinese cultures.And he loves “LECHOn..i just bought his book Appetites: A Cookbook thru online mediaholicS were i bought it to learn how to cook French cuisine

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