If you don’t know who Anthony Bourdain is, I’m going to need you to open a new tab, get on Netflix, and binge-watch every episode of “The Layover.” Bourdain is the godfather of food and travel TV and his shows are no-B.S. handbooks for how to enjoy some of the best cities on earth.
And if you’re weary that a travel TV show may bore you with "Michelin Star, never-going-to-afford-that" restaurants and touristy recommendations— fear not. Bourdain gets down and dirty in every city, and always includes authentic, locally appreciated, and affordable food and drink.
A native New Yorker, Bourdain has spent decades ripping on Los Angeles and its overpriced, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and flavor-free food culture stereotype. He went along with the common misconception that you’ll only find great cuisine in LA if you 1) are satisfied eating nothing but cashews and juice or 2) have found yourself in a position to blow all your life savings.
But in his exploration of the city for “The Layover,” AB admitted that LA restaurants proved that they’re more than just $25 kale salads. Here are some of Anthony Bourdain’s personally recommended restaurants and orders, all of which can be enjoyed on a student budget:
To eat like Anthony, get yourself a Double Double (Animal Style, obviously) and a chocolate shake. The “only American chain worth a damn” will cook your burger to order, so treat yourself to a medium-rare sandwich dripping in cheesy, oniony goodness. Drive on the 110 for about six minutes and you’ll find a drive-thru calling your name.
If you’ve had your fill of Bibimbap but still want to enjoy delicious Vietnamese cuisine, head to Ham Ji Park for strong, assertive flavors and lots of pork. The meal starts with banchan (side dishes) and continues on to samgyeospal (pork belly that you grill at the table), daeji galbi (pork spare ribs marinated in spicy pepper paste), and gamjatang (pork neck stew). I’m sure someone taught AB how to pronounce these words before he ordered, but we don’t have that luxury, so good luck.
We’ve all enjoyed the warm delicious ramen trend for a while now, so why not shake things up with this cold noodle soup called chic naengmyeon? This authentic soup has black noodles, sesame oil, pickled white radish, cucumber kimchi, hot pepper place, julienne fresh cuke, boiled beef, hard cooked egg, sesame seeds and is topped off with an ice cold broth.
If that doesn’t sound like heaven after a 96 degree game day, we’ve got different ideas of the afterlife. And speaking of game days, Bourdain recommends asking the server to “cut your noodles with scissors when inebriated for more efficient bowl to mouth delivery.”
Nestled into a street corner in Chinatown, this old school 50s cafeteria-like diner will be sure to give you pangs of nostalgia (even if you too were born in the mid-90’s). Bourdain recommends indulging in a classic French dipped sandwich with au-jus and coffee for a laughable ten cents per mug. Finish your lunch off with one of their famous cake donuts.
Fair Warning: This is not your maple-bacon, Insta-worthy, food truck-style donut, but your dense, cakey and equally delicious original.
Close enough to make the trek but far enough to keep the tourists away, Tacos Villa Corona is located in Atwater Village, and boasts some of the best hole-in-the-wall tacos and burritos around. Come hungry, drunk, or hungover, because Anthony gets one chicken and one steak taco with the works (onions, cilantro, salsa) and one generously stuffed breakfast burrito filled with chorizo, potatoes, and eggs.
Mexican Fruit Stands
Not technically a restaurant, but still a cheap and delicious AB-approved snack, you’ll find Mexican fruit stands all over the city. Vendors will toss mangoes, coconut, watermelon, oranges and whatever the hell else they have on them in a plastic bag with salt, chili, and lime and serve it up with a plastic fork for around five bucks.
And if you’ve gone ahead and enjoyed all of Anthony’s other fatty, porky, and fried recommendations, believe me, you’re gonna want something refreshing.