“Food is good, food with a story is even better and food with a story someone hasn’t heard about is best of all,” says Andrew Zimmern, the three-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, food writer and culinary explorer. For nearly 10 years, Zimmern has brought these stories to life in his Travel Channel series, “Bizarre Foods“ with Andrew Zimmern, which premieres its ninth season on Monday, September 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. In eight all-new, hour-long episodes, Zimmern continues on his epic journey to illuminate the most unique foods from every corner of the globe. From roasted dormice in Croatia to calf’s head hot dogs in Paris, he is always eager to sample whatever the locals eat, elevating alternative cuisines and promoting global understanding in the process.
This season, Zimmern celebrates the 200th episode of his “Bizarre Foods” franchise by heading to Philadelphia, a city known for its iconic dishes and storied history. Home to third and fourth generation food artisans and vibrant immigrant neighborhoods, the “City of Brotherly Love” prides itself on preserving tradition and tastes, while at the same time adapting what’s always worked into stunning new culinary creations. From scrapple cheesesteak and Zitner’s famous Butter Krak candy to old world classics like German liverwursts and Jewish kishke, he finds delicious foods that reflect the city’s culinary revolution and still maintain the integrity of what people love about traditional Philly fare. Zimmern even discovers two entirely different twists on the doughnut – one, paired with Middle Eastern style zatar-spiced chicken and the other, a Liberian savory fritter called calla, paired to mop up braised sweet potato greens loaded with cow’s feet, goat and served with homemade hot sauce.
“This is easily the best season of Bizarre Foods that we’ve ever made, and Philadelphia is the perfect location to celebrate our 200th episode,” adds Zimmern. “It’s a blue collar town, where locals carry around armfuls of civic pride everywhere they go and couldn’t care less about outside validation. At the same time, Philly is a bastion of food style, with a caring and nurturing culture that reminds me of what all great cities should aspire to. I’m so proud of our show, its longevity and the amazing support from our global TV audience. Two hundred episodes is an overwhelming number.”
Zimmern heads to Guatemala in the season premiere, where ancient flavors are still popular. With Guatemalan celebrity chef Mirciny Moliviatis as his guide, he explores the most unique and culturally important foods in this Central American country that boasts 21 unique Maya cultures. In the city of Antigua, Zimmern visits a restaurant that honors these culinary roots in a variety of stunning dishes, including pepian, a spicy pumpkin seed and chile sauce that is considered the national dish of Guatemala. Then, local photographer Rudy Giron introduces Zimmern to a roadside stand known for its impeccable fried pork skin (chicharrones). From bull testicle ceviche at the local market to a Sunday family dinner with wild opossum as the main course, Zimmern tastes the rich heritage in every bite.
Throughout this season, Zimmern procures, cooks and breaks bread with locals, helping to prove that sharing food bridges cultures. Whether it’s touching the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, cruising the canals in Amsterdam, or hitting the barbecue trail in Kansas City, Zimmern knows there’s no better way to learn about a place and its people than by eating a meal together.
“Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern is produced by Tremendous! Entertainment, Inc. for Travel Channel. Andrew Zimmern is an executive producer. For Tremendous!, the executive producers are Colleen Needles Steward, Shannon Keenan Demers and Matt Hobin. For Travel Channel, the executive producers are David E. Gerber and Chris Weber.