When it comes to drool-worthy television, Netflix are on another level. From the self-serious splendour of Chef’s Table to David Chang’s swear-heavy musings on Ugly Delicious, the streaming service has cornered the modern food market. Offering a unique mix of stunning visuals and engaging, entertaining personalities, there’s something on Netflix for anyone who has even a passing interest in eating.
However, despite the panoply of programming on offer, one of the world’s most popular yet least heralded cooking traditions has so far managed to evade the spotlight. Street food is, for millions of people around the world, the most singularly important type of dining there is. As a way to socialise, celebrate and make money, cooking outside of a traditional kitchen is as much a part of world food as the Michelin guide, and has been around for a good deal longer, yet Netflix haven’t always treated it with the same reverence. That is about to change.
Dropping on April 26th, the service’s latest show will dedicate nine entire episodes to bringing the sights, smells and sensations of Southeast Asia’s legendary street cooking into homes all over the world. Aptly named “Street Food”, the show will focus on small, family-run businesses, ranging from hole-in-the-wall eateries to famous hawker stalls, offering insights that few will have ever seen. If the newly released trailer is anything to go by, audiences are in for a treat.
Each of the nine episodes of the new series will focus on the cooking culture of a particular Asian city, taking a deep dive into the culture and origins of some of the region’s most famous dishes. Destinations will include Thailand, India, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, each a legendary food destination in its own right.
The show, which has been created by the same team behind the wildly successful Chef’s Table, also features interviews with some of street food’s most legendary figures. These include Jay Fai, who’s Raan Jay Fai eatery became the first ever Bangkok street-side restaurant to receive a Michelin star in 2018, and 100-year-old Mbah Lindu, who serves spiced jackfruit stew at a market in Indonesia. Although the format bares some similarities, Street Food promises to be a very different beast to its glossy, fine dining-focused predecessor.
Although the series will be available on Netflix from April 26th, some viewers will have the opportunity to get a sneak peak at the first episode. On April 20th, Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre will host a premiere of the first episode as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival. Although the episode itself is not expected to be feature-length, it certainly promises to be a treat for anyone lucky enough to be in the audience. As for the rest of us, we will just have to be patient. But, if the gorgeous trailer is anything to go by, Street Food should be well worth the wait.