Street Food Asia
The often cloistered world of haute cuisine is jettisoned for the very open doors of street food across Asia. There’s still an episode-long focus on a single culinary mind, but Street Food makes more room for the local food scene to come into play, with far fewer “mad culinary genius” moments. At its heart, the show explores how and why some people end up slinging noodles or sweets or rice on the street, and the answers aren’t always easy.
Watch Street Food for all the usual reasons you watch travel food shows. Watch to learn about cuisines you don’t know, and to have some escapist food fantasies, and to appreciate the craft of unbelievably skilled chefs. But don’t be surprised if you come away from the show with a sense that, more than many food documentaries, this one is about things other than food — income inequality, desperation, demonstrations of will, and making food because you love it, but also because you need to work to survive.Each episode of Street Food reveals how one chef overcame obstacles (often poverty and a patriarchal society) to become an icon of their neighborhood via cooking. You also get a sense that this life isn’t easy, even when you “make it,” as the show deftly navigates the question of what it means to be a success in a world where you need to serve 200 plates a day to thrive. There’s no show of wealth or recognition here. No mega-kitchens built out to make room for experimentation. Just the occasional plaque from the city or, on occasion, Michelin. On Netflix now.