If you are a fan of food and travel shows, be it in the form of a commentary or documentaries, Netflix’s Street Food isn’t going to be any different.
Nine countries, plenty of street food dishes to witness, the show explores not just the journey of the cooks behind each dish but also showcases the tales of Asia’s street gems.
Street food has always been a symbol of accessibility for many of us, the growing middle class resorting to great food priced reasonably. However at the same time, with countries experiencing development at a rapid pace, regulations and high-end restaurants becomes the inevitable fate that street food culture has to face.
The creators of Chef Table, who are also behind the production of Street Food, have gone a little beyond their usual format and decide to explore the personal story of each cook behind each dish.
Thailand’s Jay Fai for instance started a stand after an unfortunate event during her days as a seamstress.
Her choice to use the finest of ingredients eventually earned her a Michelin star, tempting viewers to instantly crave catching the next flight to Thailand to taste her Tom Yum soup and her signature dish, her crab omelette.
Subsequent episodes see a similar format going deeper behind the scenes of the lives of those who continue to preserve the street food culture.
The 100-year-old Mbah Satinem for instance showcased an everlasting love for traditional jajan pasar and paired with her infectious laughter, many in Yogyakarta still flock to her for the snack.
The show also captures the struggle behind the process of certain dishes which would eventually lead to the complete disappearance of the dish. Taiwan’s Uncle Goats Chou requires him to wear a gas mask in order to prepare the medicinal goat stew which does cost him his health. He himself discourages the younger generation to take over which could only mean an inevitable fate for the dish itself.
Singaporean Aisha Hashim’s Putu Piring and Taiwanese Grace’s fish head business showed the need for street food vendors to get on with the modern times and revolutionising their business was the only way to preserve their business.
Street Food is no different than any other modern food shows on Netflix, however, it is not a pre-requisite for shows to constantly be different in order to appeal to viewers. With the show exploring Asia’s street food, it does a service to many in highlighting these gems hidden to the outside world.
Watch to learn the cuisines and the people behind them; you would certainly come away with a sense of having escaped your current reality and with a little more appreciation for the journey of each dish. At one point, I thought I was starting to sniff a little of those delicious chili crabs right off the screen.