Travel Channel // 2012 // 602 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 11th, 2012
Bring a strong stomach or a barf bag.
Culinary daredevil Andrew Zimmern takes on the (edible) world as he flies across the globe to find the strangest, most awesomely weird foods ever eaten by mankind. In Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern: Collection 5, Part 2, he samples all kinds of odd delicacies, including water buffalo, piranha, and everything in between. Along the way Zimmern makes new friends, discovers new and different ways to cook old favorites, and realizes that what is bizarre to one culture is par for the course in another.
The episodes included on this collection:
* "Embassy Row"
* "New York"
* "Rio de Janeiro"
The intrepid host travels across the globe to try things most of wouldn't put in our trash can. From Indonesia to Morocco, New York to Montreal, Zimmern gulps down the worst of the worst (which sometimes ends up being pretty good, in his opinion). The Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern is sort of like Fear Factor without the competition. Andrew Zimmern -- looking like the much more agreeable cousin of King Kong Bundy -- is the perfect host for this kind of show. He's got a gregarious personality and the desire to eat anything that's put in front of him. In other words, Zimmern is a brave, brave soul.
Each episode finds Zimmern meeting up with locals and popping things down his gullet. There isn't much more to the show than that. I was sufficiently disgusted by some of things he had to eat, including a lamprey eel (the sucker-like mouth had the consistency of a rubber band) and a bowl of freshly prepared snake blood. Speaking of blood, Norway's schools still serve kids blood pudding and brownies made with animal blood. Keep that in mind next time you remember how bad your high school's cafeteria pizza was.
I'd come across Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern a few times on television and each time I was enthralled with all the horrible things the host attempted to digest. What I like about the show is that it's not just about the gross out factor; the writers, producers and Zimmern are all interested in sharing with viewers the history of various cultures and countries. Yes, Zimmern does swallow a lot of things that look wholly unappetizing (spiders, snakes and underdeveloped chicken fetuses are par for the course). Yet these 'bizarre entrees' are not without cultural or historical context; explanations are given for why a culture eats specific foods. This is a great show for parents to watch with their kids because A.) the kids will learn how other people live and eat and B.) they will realize that having to eat spinach or lima beans could be oh-so-much worse.
I'm not sure how much repeat value a show like this has. It's definitely an interesting series for the freak show lover in all of us; it's sort of like that kid who would sit at the school lunch table and put anything you gave him on his sandwich, then bite down. Except instead of cookies, potato chips and carrots it's sheep eyes and yak intestines. If that sounds like a fascinating evening in, then Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern might just be your cup of owl intestines.
Each episode is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The show looks good considering it often feels shot on the fly; the colors are vibrant and the black levels sufficient. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 in English and is sufficient -- it's an almost completely front heavy sound mix without much dynamic range (not that it needed it). No alternate soundtracks or subtitles are available.
The extra features are basically four bonus episodes ("Alaska," "Trinidad and Tobago," "Taiwan," and "Vietnam") that were never aired on broadcast TV.
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern: Collection 5, Part 2 is a fun set that's both gross and educational. In other words, nine year old boys who love toads and boogers will rejoice.
Review content copyright © 2012 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Travel Channel
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 602 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site