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The Layover - Singapore

It aired last night. Tony Bourdain was as sarcastic and witty as ever, and must have left the city fat and bloated. I can't believe he ate so much and so often. I would have exploded if I were him. But I found the show entertaining. What did you think? Is this a keeper or should Tony just stick to "No Reservations?"

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  1. I won't judge a series by one episode but I think the concept has promise, especially for viewers with short attention spans who complain that Tony spends too much time lingering over non-food issues on No Reservations. Funniest part last night was when he complained about people who stand still on escalators and then he's shown later doing exactly that.
    I'll keep watching.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sloth

      That bit of hypocrisy was funny. I'm not a fan of TB but I love travel shows that focus on food. This show is more focused on places to stay and eat, which is more important to me than TB's worldview. I do think multiple viewing panels is distracting. I find myself backing up the DVR to see what I missed.

    2. I enjoyed it. I liked how he covered both food and non-food attractions.

      1. the curried fish head turned me on

        2 Replies
        1. re: MarkG

          IMHO, fish head curry is overrated. It tastes okay, but I prefer my curry to be not so fish essence-intensive. It's messier than heck to eat. And the head - it's a frickin' brutal looking head - I just find it gets in the way. Maybe I'm a lazy man, but I ended up pulling the head out and giving to the table for other diners to pick at. I tried it a couple more times in Singapore and Malaysia, and still felt the same...

          1. re: bulavinaka

            A large Asian grocery near me (99Ranch) has a slot in their fish counter filled with fish heads. I'm guessing most are bought for making a fish stock, but I've been tempted to buy one to prepare in this curry style. One of these days ... )

        2. I am a Tony fan, but didn't really care for this show. I have to ask why? Why do a show that is, for all intents and purposes, identical to No Res? Tony goes somewhere eats some food, see's some stuff and talks about stuff that annoy him and stuff he loves, and usually in a pretty entertaining way. He's already done Singapore. Why?


          4 Replies
          1. re: JuniorBalloon

            For "No Reservations", Tony spends one to two weeks in the designated country, which allows him a lot of leeway & travel time.

            For "The Layover", the point is what you can do/enjoy within a 24 to 48-hour time period during an airport layover.

            1. re: Breezychow

              I get that they have slightly different premises, but the end result is an hour of television showing Tony eating, talking and doing stuff. Seems he already has a show doing that.


              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                we watched it last night and I have to agree. This was like stuff from the cutting room floor of No Res, not a whole, separate show's worth of material.

                Tony largely looked very, very tired, and like he wasn't really enjoying the eating all that much as it sort of became like a man vs. food episode with all the food/meals he was supposed to put away in a limited amount of time.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  True, he did seem to be struggling to eat all that stuff. :-) I think he really needed a short nap before plunging into all that stuff, at the least!

          2. Hated it, couldn't get through the episode and I'm a Tony Bourdain fan. It just felt contrived. In agreement with Mark G though regarding the curried fish head.

            1. I felt that there was too much information. When I first heard about the show, I was expecting a half hour show with a few places to hit. Then, when I saw that it was an hour and all of the places involved, I just thought I would never be able to choose from them all if I were in that situation.

              1. I enjoyed it, although it was barely a scratch on the surface of food in Singapore, let alone the region around there. If the poster above thinks there was TMI he/she may not realize what is available in the region as a whole.

                There was the usual comment about Singapore being the capital of hawker or street food, something along those lines. There are other opinions about this. Here's one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8131...

                2 Replies
                1. re: huiray

                  I felt it was too much info for the scope of a program called The Layover where it is presumed that you will be on a very limited schedule. Even if I was going to be there for a week, I still don't know if I could hit all of the places he mentioned.

                2. This is Bourdain's same schtick and M.O. since he began his television career.

                  A Cook's Tour beget No Reservations which beget The Layover.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    every julia child program had the same "schtick," and "M.O." as you call it, since she began her television career. "the french chef" begat "julia child and company" which begat "julia child and more company" which begat "baking with julia" et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        maybe you just don't like shows about travel and/or food, which is fine. i also often feel people posting on chowhound don't seem to enjoy eating in restaurants.

                  2. It would be interesting to compare this with his 2008 Singapore episode. The Bizarre Foods Singapore episode is fresher in my mind. That, I think, was better. Andrew, for example, spent much more time on that fish head curry. The Layover was like reading through a travel guide, devoting only a paragraph, or in some cases just a sentence, to each sight or restaurant. Curiously one of the longer segments focused on buying that snow globe in the Indian megamart.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: paulj

                      I like Andrew better than Anthony because Andrew doesn't try to be so "cool" like Bourdain. He has that "I'm just here to soak everything up" attitude.

                      1. re: paulj

                        In another thread about this show I mentioned that it seems like he is gearing up for his own travel book series. He did just make a deal for his own line of books so maybe this show will be a precurser to that venture.

                        1. re: Sloth

                          Are you referring to his Ecco imprint announced last September, or the graphic novel, Get Jiro, due out next June?


                          1. re: paulj

                            I was thinking of the Ecco deal since it seemed pretty open-ended. The original concept of books by other authors with the Bourdain stamp of approval may have morphed a bit.

                      2. I didn't like it. 30 minutes in, I hit the fast forward button. The food just wasn't very compelling -- at the first hawker center, the breakfast foods didn't sound good and they skipped the stall that had the huge line in front it. I wanted to know what all those people were standing in line for! Also, some of the advice that was highlighted from random people wasn't terribly interesting: "ask a local"? Snore.

                        This was just after watching No Res in Cajun Country and Harbin, both of which I enjoyed much more.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: emily

                          I thought the No Res in Cajun Country episode was somewhat trying. My attention wandered all the time. I can't say I was particularly tempted by the foods presented.

                        2. I felt kind of sick after I watched it. Way too much food and rushing around. Tony looked tired, and I missed his thoughts on other non-food subjects as in NR. I hope it will improve. Maybe it takes a while to get into a show's rhythms?

                          1. Sure I'll be alone on this, but I liked it better than No Reservations. The pacing, the visuals and the sheer grittiness of it were more appealing to me. It really captured a realistic sense of what a visit to the city might be like. Perhaps to some it should be called "The Leftovers," but to me it has a life of its own and a unique one at that. There's nothing else on TV like what Bourdain does and he always does a superb job, IMO.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: biscuit

                              Couldn't agree with you more! I loved the Singapore episode and the New York one last night. I think the weakest part of No Reservations are the non-food segments and often it delves too heavily into the scenic shots of the locale or worse the incredibly pretentious glamour shots (the black and white/Fellini Rome episode was in theory a good idea, but it was just distracting to the point of detracting from the food) . Granted there are episodes where the non-food segments can be particularly enlightening (the Cuba and Haiti episodes were great for those).