Thursday, September 17, 2020

What's Next On My List? Street Food - Asia

The quarantine in particular has pushed all of us to look deeper into the catalogue provided by Netflix, and I for one have decided to look into the documentary section, as I have found that this streaming service offers some of the best presented stories out there. One of these revolved around food, and I wanted to make sure I mentioned it because I was mesmerized by what I saw and I am sure many others will be too.

Street Food - Asia (Season 1, 2019)

Exactly a year ago I watched this series, as I was looking for any food based reality show while having dinner, really just something to take my mind off of my worries. Let me tell you that what I ended up finding was not an easy feel good show... I was left with crying over the stories that were portrayed in just a half an hour, yet at the same time I was as inspired as ever to go after my dreams. Of course, the aim of these stories is to make the viewer care, and I'll tell you what: they succeeded in that perfectly.
The stories presented to us take place in Bangkok, Thailand; Osaka, Japan; Delhi, India; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Chiayi, Taiwan; Seoul, South Korea; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Singapore; and Cebu City, Philippines. The episodes are quite straightforward, with one main story-line, and a few smaller ones, all revolving around famous street food dishes that define that culture's cuisine. Almost all of the protagonists had to suffer hardships, but the overwhelming lesson of the series is that they can be overcome and how food makes everyone happy, from the ones who make it to the ones who buy it. Not to mention, that the love that these people put in their food is something that they learned at home, through family recipes that were passed on and on to newer generations. Making them not only cultural history but an iconic element of the overall culture of the given country. 
I couldn't possibly choose a favorite episode, and I know for sure that this is just one aspect of these incredible countries and their rich history with food. But food is a marvelous way to get someone interested in a foreign culture. There is something very special about street food indeed, we always have them at small county fares and food in general is such a glue that can hold together more than one assumes. I happy to have cried over a documentary like this, because there was something incredibly wholesome about each story.
Finally, I do believe that Netflix documentaries should be used in education as well. I love this 20-30 minute format, it is just enough for young students to stay awake on and it starts a discussion and it gives ideas for further research. And learning some tricks and tips on cooking from the show is a great benefit as well. I can tell you for sure that I appreciate food a lot more when I know the work behind it. Not only if I know, but if I am reminded: every time I order a pizza or sushi, I need to remember that there was somebody there who put the effort into making the best they can for my plate. Gratitude is something we often forget, and even if you just reheat something at home with a microwave, somebody still prepared that beforehand. Food connects and saves people too, and we often just ... eat too fast. Take a moment, savior the taste, think about the process, enjoy that bite! I have been telling people about this show left and right and we begin to talk about all kinds of cultural traits about our country and how we learn through our cuisine, how we love Mexican, American, Asian, and just how fun it is to try out new things. 

Watch it? Please, I highly recommend it, and on top of that, the new season just came out, taking place on the neighboring continent: Street Food: Latin America. I am very happy to see that the streaming service is putting more money into this subject, and Netflix is not shy of cooking shows, but this really is in the documentary category and a great one at that. Make sure you check it out!

Until the next item on my list!

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