President Barack Obama spent nearly a full day traversing the nearly 8,300 miles from Washington to Hanoi, Vietnam. And his Monday dinner companion was an American television personality.
Obama dined with CNN’s Anthony Bourdain at Bun cha Huong Lien on a tight street lined with onlookers in the Vietnamese capital. A White House official said the duo chatted over their meal for an episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” that will air in September on the cable network.
Bourdain’s show, currently in its seventh season, appears to garner decent ratings, with some media-focused sites crediting it with helping CNN’s ratings rebound in recent years.
And that’s notable, since the episode with Obama will air at just about the time many voters will seriously begin thinking about the presidential and congressional elections. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest recently quipped that the president only appears on shows with a robust audience.
“Hundreds” of people lined a small street in Hanoi to catch a glimpse of the American president, according to a White House pool report.
Bourdain once criticized Obama’s presidency, in a 2011 interview with a food and travel blog.
“A disappointment to me personally for someone I admired. I was very happy when he was elected President,” Bourdain said. “I certainly voted for him and I was very happy when he was elected. I wish he’d get angry.”
Bourdain said he covered the tab.
Total cost of bun Cha dinner with the President: $6.00 . I picked up the check . #Hanoi
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) May 23, 2016