R&K: You’re sitting in a restaurant in Vietnam with the President of the United States, chugging beers, and no one seems to be looking at you. That’s the most remarkable thing.

Bourdain: Yeah, I tried really hard to be cool. Right after the shooting was over, believe me, he posed for pictures with everybody. He was lovely to our crew.

R&K: What was it like for you, sitting there?

Bourdain: He’s so smooth, loosey-goosey, cool; he was lovely. At one point I asked him, “Do you ever miss just being able to go out in the afternoon and have a beer in an old man bar, just put a sad song on on the jukebox?” He looks up at me, smiles, and says, “In about six months.”

R&K: Talk about being conspicuous.

Bourdain: We all sort of freaked afterwards. We’re all looking at each other like, “Did that just happen?” We were all very comfortable. He’s one of the only guys in sixteen years of doing the show who’s ever turned to the camera crew and said, “Have you guys eaten yet? Do you guys get to eat this?” With nobody watching!

We shot with him the next day as well, in a pretty crummy, working-class area of the Hanoi suburbs in the driving rain. We stood underneath a low, corrugated tin roof next to a lady who sells cigarettes and chewing gum. And he just seems very comfortable in his own skin, just walking around, loose, relaxed. Of course, I think he was having the head of the Taliban whacked in Pakistan while we were eating. Which is kind of awesome.

R&K: The Taliban never expected it, not on bun cha night.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Cover image: President Barack Obama has a beer with Anthony Bourdain during an interview over dinner at B˙n cha Huong LiÍn restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, May 23, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The post Mr. Bun Cha: A Q&A With Anthony Bourdain appeared first on Roads & Kingdoms.