What galls Andrew Zimmern is how few Pike Place Market visitors pause at Oriental Mart Kitchen for a bowl of salmon collar soup.
"That's one of the best bowls of soup I ever had," the Bizarre Foods host said after emerging from an impromptu visit to the diner. "When you think about Seattle, you think about the Asian community, great seafood, fabulous produce. You've got it all in one bowl."
Zimmern's whirlwind tour of Seattle landed his team at the market today, giving tourists a mild thrill. "Oh my God, I know that guy," a shopper enthused as Zimmern checked out a seafood display. "What's his name? Zimmerman?" Fans who correctly identified Zimmern hounded him for pictures and autographs, an annoyance crew members said was preferable to the rock-pelting they received from "stupid kids" while shooting B-roll on Saturday.
The crowds surrounding Zimmern suggested many of his viewers are already familiar with Pike Place, but Zimmern hopes his Seattle show will help tourists rethink how they approach the market.
"Everybody looks at people tossing salmon and they buy an ice-cream cone," Zimmern says. "People who stay over at a hotel won't buy a $3 cup of blueberries. No one will go and buy a carrot."
Without the Travel Channel's prodding, they're even less likely to seek out a bowl of soup featuring fatty salmon collar, a cut Zimmern says is available only to patrons of homespun eateries and "hoity-toity" restaurants.
"When I take people into the corner of the market and eat salmon collar soup, that might be one of the best ways to experience seafood," he says. "I want people to experience tiny little places."
"You can learn more about culture from trolling a market than walking around a museum," he continues. "At the end of the day, I really think it's important we show people not only what they might not be able to find, but what they can."