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Gordon Ramsay Uncharted exclusive: The mighty Mekong River yields tasty snails and clams

Gordon Ramsay explores the mighty Mekong and dense forests of Laos this weekend on National Geographic Channel’s Uncharted.

Our exclusive clip shows just how strong the currents are as Gordon dives for snails and clams to augment a meal of roasted toe-biters. What’s a toe-biter? Read on.

While searching for clams and snails, he jumps in a part of the river where the currents are so strong he cannot even make an inch of headway. He compares his swimming moves to Monty Python comic actor Michael Palin, not Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps.

The Mekong River is the lifeblood of the country, part highway and part water supply, and a source of food for the locals. Gordon finds out that Laotians go to extreme lengths in the river and the forest to forage their ingredients.

Gordon’s task is to cook a banquet for the revered local monks, of which his partner Chef Joy Ngeuamboupha was once in the rolls and ranks. “Cooking for such highly esteemed guests will be a challenge,” Gordon says.

Chef Joy Ngeuamboupha (L) and Gordon Ramsay (R) on the Mekong River Pic credit: National Geographic Channel/Jock Montgomery
Chef Joy Ngeuamboupha (L) and Gordon Ramsay (R) on the Mekong River Pic credit: National Geographic Channel/Jock Montgomery

Gordon spies a man cast-net fishing at Khone Falls. He fishes on the side of the rapids and asks Gordon if he wants to join him. The falls are daunting and Gordon says the volume of the falls, 2,500,000 gallons per second, is nearly double the volume of Niagara Falls. He swears a blue-streak and says: “Joy, these fish better taste f****** delicious…this is not a good idea!”

“The fish that fight against the current are more tasty,” says chef Joy Ngeuamboupha, who is a local star and has a top-rated restaurant called Tamarind Restaurant and Cooking School. He also mentions to Gordon that he spent seven years as a monk, and was inspired to become a chef during that time we find out in the course of the episode.

Later on in the episode, Gordon crawls through a rice paddy to find “toe biters,” large biting beetle-like insects meant for the feast. Gordon tentatively eats one and compares it to lobster or crab. His insect meal is accompanied by roasted snails.

Gordon is even taken on an exhilarating white water journey in his attempts to reach the forest. “Dodgy shortcuts” and dense foliage yield an isolated village where forest flavors are scavenged as leaves, spiky plants with heart of palm-like centers and ant larvae that have a lemon-lime citrus flavor are gathered.

He says: “I’ve been shopping before for eggs but not quite like this!”

Tune in to see how the monks’ banquet goes down and if Gordon hankers for more toe-biter snacks to-go.

Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted airs Sundays at 10/9c on National Geographic Channel.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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