Hi Reddit,

My name is Andrew Zimmern and I am a professional chef and host of TV's Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel. For proof that it's me, check me out here.

I’m posting my second AMA to talk about hosting The Munchies: 2nd Annual People's Choice Food Awards. I've partnered with Tablespoon.com, an awesome food blog, to host The Munchies because it celebrates food across the U.S. — and I love food!

Nominees for the 20 award categories are chosen by a panel of culinary celebs. To vote for your favorite restaurants, chefs, food cities and more in The Munchies, click here: http://www.tablespoon.com/themunchies

For more from Tablespoon, check them out on [Facebook](www.facebook.com/Tablespoon) or [Twitter](www.twitter.com/tablespoon).

Curious for more? Ask me anything.

Hey everyone, sorry i couldn’t answer all of your questions. Follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/andrewzimmern and we can chat more over the days and weeks to come. Remember to vote for your favorite food categories at www.tablespoon.com/themunchies

Comments: 857 • Responses: 25  • Date: 

OfficialSchoolBully264 karma

Do you get annoyed when people called you Andrew Zimmerman?

andrewzimmern302 karma

No. It's happened whole life.

surfmachine127 karma

If you had to pick one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

andrewzimmern337 karma

Steamed mussels with white wine garlic and parsley. Close tie with my wife's roast chicken.

totaldorkgasm42 karma

exactly what I made for my gf on Valentines Day!

andrewzimmern79 karma


JoeSap110 karma

Aside from endangered species, Is there any animal(s) that you consider to be taboo to eat?

PS. I wish you liked Spam.

andrewzimmern341 karma

Spam shouldn't be eaten.

But I feel very strongly that we need to broaden our palate as a way to help save our planet. Eating a greater variety of foods helps to take the pressure off the food system.

Boundby1nk108 karma

Andrew, I am a huge fan of yours. You pretty much do my dream job. What is the strangest food you have eaten then immediately couldn't get enough of?

andrewzimmern244 karma

Probably deep fried little baby sparrows that are sold in the markets of Southeast Asia.

The other would be some of the donkey dishes that I've had in China.

The third one, that I probably won't be able to eat again in my life, is the barbecued porcupine that I ate in Botswana. I think about it almost every day.

picnic_ants86 karma

What's one food that you've tried that you think should be way more popular than it is?

andrewzimmern244 karma

I've kinda been a broken record about goat and donkey for 15 years and I'm not going to get off of that soapbox. Any westerner in America who ate donkey for the first time, if they didn't know what it is, would think they are eating the best veal that they've ever had.

Goat in America is like soccer. We say we appreciate it, but we don't understand why everyone outside of America eats it every day and we don't. That's why I sell so much goat on my truck. You can find more info on AndrewZimmern.com

lonmoer86 karma

Hey Andrew, were you ever in any situations where you feared for your life in your travels?

andrewzimmern190 karma

Several times a year. You have to remember that I travel 300 days a year. I find myself in a lot of places that are engaged in activities that aren't what I might call safe. I think there is a healthy amount of fear that is good. That's one thing I love about traveling. It is transformative. Some of it is conquering that voice inside your head that says "I can't do that."

iamacannibal75 karma

What is your favorite thing to make? What is your favorite thing to eat?

andrewzimmern131 karma

Oh gosh, favorite food to make is probably anything with seafood. I love cooking with fish and shellfish. It requires a nuance. And the endless ways to prepare has always been fascinating to me.

abrodsk71 karma

Being a fellow Jew, I'm very interested in Jewish food. What's your favorite Jewish dish that younger people might not have heard of?

andrewzimmern139 karma

Oh my gosh. I think a lot of traditional foods in any culture even adults haven't heard of. In the modern age, we've developed a global pantry.

Being Jewish isn't about coming up for a certain place in the world. Jews in Alabama will eat things that are different from what they would eat in New York or Israel.

There's an amazing world of food out there. There's a great cookbook that Joan Nathan wrote called "Jewish Cooking In America" that has won a ton of awards. The book also become a PBS series. It's a great resource for foods that you probably haven't thought of for those of us in America.

Another book by Claudia Roden called "The Book of Jewish Food" is more of an international collection of recipes. Those are great for people to explore, but there's a lot of Jewish food that has come to us from Egypt, Syria, with a lot of dishes I absolutely adore.

I love the soups and food in bowls. There's one called ful, a chickpea and lemon soup, that I almost think about every day.

andrewplatham67 karma

Hey Andrew - What do you think will be the next American delicacy?

andrewzimmern206 karma

I'll interpret that as next American food trend. When you look out over the horizon, I'm not sure you're able to discern what the next Sriracha hot sauce. Much like you can't pick the next one hit wonder on the radio. Saying that I firmly believe that Filipino food is the next big Asian food thing.

apingyou52 karma


andrewzimmern146 karma

I'm excited about The Munchies too! For the newbies, that's at www.tablespoon.com/themunchies

I get up in the morning and have coffee and yogurt or coffee, egg and piece of toast. Lunch typically for me is at the office and is usually Chinese food or sandwich. I'm big sandwich guy. Dinner we cook at home as a family. Roast a chicken, do a couple of vegetables and make a big salad. Throw a pork shoulder on the grill and let it roast for a few hours. We eat very simply, 3 or 4 ingredients per dish. We have a couple side dishes on our tables always. And we want our son to know that meat is not the center of every meal.

Last night was "Roll Your Own Burrito And Taco" Night. We had a bowl of shredded spicy sauteed chicken with caramelized onion and lime. We had a variety of toppings to choose from. That's an inexpensive way to provide variety and flavor.

I can't emphasize enough that the balanced look and feel of food is so important.

vanillabeans52 karma

What is it about walnuts that you hate so much?

andrewzimmern127 karma


gintoddic50 karma

US state with the best food? Fav place?

andrewzimmern145 karma

Great question: I would have to say California. It's combination of sheer size of farm land, coast line and ranch land. The variety of geography alone means a great variety of food.

You might want to check out the competition for Best Food City in The Munchies here: www.tablespoon.com/themunchies

refjep144 karma

Hey man I'm a 19 year old cook on Cape Cod, I have only ever really been trained in seafood, but what would you say your favorite seafood dish it to eat, and your favorite seafood dish to cook?

andrewzimmern60 karma

I'd rather eat a bowl of steamed mussels that just about anything. When it's done right, it's just the best.

In terms of cooking, I love roasting whole fish. You can sauce it anyway you want. There's just nothing better.

_ions35 karma

Andrew, I'm a HUGE fan. If you could eat one extinct animal [Dinosaurs included] which one would you want to eat? Also, is there any "normal" food you don't like eating? [Eggs for example]

andrewzimmern85 karma

I don't eat walnuts at all. If they are in a plate of brownies, I can smell them out and won't eat them.

As far as extinct animals, I can't imagine any would be very tasty, except those that have a diet of tasty grub. I know you ruled out dinosaurs, but certain dinosaurs were small enough to cook and were also omnivores. They'd eat little plant life. They'd eat small animals. So they're the ones that remind of the type of food I like to eat now.

I've had a chance to eat reptiles that are also meat eaters and they are very tasty.

fullmetalsanta32 karma

Hey Andrew! How hard was it for you guys to come up with the nominees? I imagine it its pretty tough narrowing down the best food joints to a few places.

andrewzimmern58 karma

It's an impossible task. As someone who is constantly thinking of lists of my five favorite books, five favorite burgers, five favorite pizza joints, my five favorite whatever.

It's my business to be thinking that way. I am always, always thinking like that. Even when I'm out as a civilian and someone wants to take me to a new Chinese noodle restaurant, I'm thinking where does this rank in the totality of my experience.

That's why I think [The Munchies](www.tablespoon.com/themunchies) is such a cool thing is that we have this expert panel that has comparative experience. It's crowd sourcing from experts.

Yes, it's very difficult, but it's also what I do for a living. I literally do not know how to change a lightbulb.

I have a fixture at home that I don't know how to take the bulb out of it without breaking. I'm actually going to have to call someone to change this lightbulb without them laughing at me.

I can also discuss the five best burgers in New Mexico versus the five best burgers in Maine.

leonhartxtreme30 karma

can i ask why you still can't eat durian? i'm a malaysian and it boggles me sometimes that you can't eat durian. :)

andrewzimmern54 karma

I tell people all the time that I'm probably one of the most famous mouths in the world for what I put in my mouth. There's only one food that I choose to never eat and that's walnuts.

I've tried durian probably 15 - 20 times. I've only found one way that I liked it. That's when it was fermented and cooked in a sauce and served on pork. I ate that at the Indonesian Embassy in Washington D.C.

It's not that I won't eat it, it's just that I don't like it very much. There are only 2 or 3 foods like that, so I like my percentages.

Coolridebro27 karma

Love your show, as does my six year old son- he loves to squeal at what you're eating right along with us. My question: as far as "food fads" go, is there a current trend in food that you wish would go away?

andrewzimmern80 karma

Where to begin! I think one trend that is very noticeable in restaurants is less and less emphasis on service. I think that's a horrible trend. Even at a hot dog stand, you want to be greeted.

The saddest trend is that the word hospitality is going extinct.

And from a food standpoint, I think the whole concept of cook it less. People want to serve every fish rare, but it shouldn't be that way. I also get annoyed by copycat cooks who are cooking foods that they don't have the skill to make well.

You should check out some of the spots nominated for The Munchies. I feel like you can find some quality trends there: www.tablespoon.com/themunchies

wahimama26 karma

Is your kid a good eater? My kids are great eaters. Their fave food is steamed calamari with butter and oil and garlic and basil. What is your son's fave?

andrewzimmern92 karma

I don't believe there are any children in the world who are picky eaters. My son isn't. He loves Japanese food of all types. Chinese food of all types. He love Vietnamese pho. He loves Mexican food. He eats an international diet, because that's the house he grew up in.

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. They don't come with instruction manuals. However, I think the vast majority of parents I meet say "well, kids just don't eat fish." I point out that they should turn on my show when we do the family show and see the kids chowing down on the foods. As parents, your child will be a picky eater with diet problems if you echo those culture boundaries.

Children are hard-wired genetically to eat everything.

GopherGold0825 karma

Andrew, thanks so much for doing this AMA. I'm a big fan and actual had my picture taken with you during last year's aquatennial. You were in a hurry and I thank you for taking the time and I'm sorry if I inconvenienced you. Also, thank you for representing MN during your travels. Loved the gopher hat.


-What are your favorite places in the Twin Cities area?

-What is a book/cookbook/manual that you think every food lover should own? Could be multiple.

Once again, thanks for being awesome.

andrewzimmern42 karma

I love Piccolo. I love Tilia. I love Victory 44. I love La Belle Vie... End about a hundred other places.

Anybody interested in knowing my favorite restaurants in any city around the world can go to www.andrewzimmern.com and see all of my recommended places to travel and eat.

andrewzimmern35 karma

There's a whole bunch of what I call Cooking 101 books that I think should be a first book for anyone who is going to try cooking. 1) Marcella Hazan: Making of Cook 2) Jaques Pepin: Les Methodes 3) Julia Childs: Everyday Cooking

They talk about food in the right way. They talk about technique and understand in a way that a lot of books are missing. Understanding traditional technique is so important. Once you learn how to roast a chicken, you can layer on a lot of other stuff.

We also have some recommended cookbooks up for the vote in The Munchies: www.tablespoon.com/TheMunchies

LitAFartOnce17 karma

  1. Are you doing this AMA due to a number of requests from people here on Reddit? (If so, people who read this will see the power of this site)
  2. Have you ever became sick due to eating something bizarre, and if so, what was it that made you sick?
  3. I have seen episodes where you say that you do not drink alcohol, is this still the case, and why? Do you feel you have missed out on some bizarre drinks due to this, and any regrets of this?
  4. What was your favorite bizarre eat in the American South?
  5. Most hospitable/friendliest people you have encountered in your travels?

andrewzimmern38 karma

I have gotten mild cases while in America, like chicken salad that has been sitting out too long, etc.

No, I have never had it while traveling. I think that's because when it's supposed to be fresh, it's fresh. And when it's supposed to be kept warm, it's warm.

mazingerz02114 karma

Taiwanese here... I challenge you to a Stinky Tofu eating contest! Bring it Zimmerman.

andrewzimmern52 karma

Are you talking about the Stinky Tofu that's aged two or three days that sold in streets all over Asia? Or the 14 day Stinky Tofu that's only served in a handful grandmother restaurants? If it's the first, I'll eat a ton of it. If it's the second, I'll never touch it.

tecktonikgirl10113 karma

What is your favorite sweet dish from any country you've visited? What is the most unique? ~ thankyou

andrewzimmern46 karma

Wow. So many great places. Where do I even begin...

My favorite dessert in the Twin Cities is the Butterscotch Budino at Parma 8200 and the Three Creams at Vincent.

I would crawl across a dessert of broken glass to eat any of the amazing desserts at Red Medicine in Los Angeles.

ThatOneGuy205 karma

Have you ever seen anything food-wise that made you think "That should have never been made and god help us all that it was." If so, what was it?

andrewzimmern6 karma

No. Sometimes I'm amazed that certain crazy things that I see overseas. If it's popular, it's popular for a reason.

I had a grub dish in Ecuador and I couldn't understand why people love it. I had it on another day in another part of the country and it was delicious.

When I have that happen, it's usually at someone else's house. I'd rather be a good guest.