Street Food

2019-07-30 14:17
Grace Lin in 'Street Food.'


From the creators of Chef's Table, Street Food takes viewers to some of the world's most vibrant cities to explore the rich culture of street food all over the globe. Season one explores nine countries across Asia, from the hawker stalls of Singapore to the food carts of India. Each episode highlights the stories of perseverance and culture that bring life to each country's cuisine.


Street Food is one of the most beautifully filmed odes to street food I’ve ever seen. The series focuses on nine cities in the region:

  •     Bangkok, Thailand
  •     Osaka, Japan
  •     Delhi, India
  •     Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  •     Chiayi, Taiwan
  •     Seoul, South Korea
  •     Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  •     Singapore
  •     Cebu, Philippines

In each city, the episode focuses on the struggles and triumphs of local chefs and is also a broader commentary of food in the region. The way Street Food is filmed brings a level of sophistication that is not often associated with street food. It’s filmed the way fancy foods in Michelin star restaurants are filmed: a slow-motion chef moving through a crowd, food being poured into a hot pan, the close-up shot of a hand painstakingly performing a task

But it deserves to be shown off like this, because not only are most of the dishes so complex and astounding in their process, but in the very first episode we meet Jay Fai from Thailand who has a Michelin star for her crab omelettes.

One of the dishes that completely blew my mind in its preparation was a "three-day three-night goat stew" from the Sui Dynasty in China, now made by Taiwanese Song Shan Tu Yao known to everyone as Uncle Goat. The goat meat is marinated in rice wine and herbs in a medicinal pot that is coated in thick mud. He then puts on a gas mask and puts the pot in a hole that’s been dug in the ground in a smoking room ad let it smoke for three days. Uncle Goat says that you have to endure some suffering to make this dish, the smoke is hell on his lungs, and although the gas mask helps some, he spends up to 3 hours clearing his lungs.

The people of Asia are proud of their traditional food and will endure hardships to keep their traditions alive. But Street Food doesn’t only tell stories of culture but also of innovation in trying to keep dying traditions alive in a new way. Aisha Hashim in Singapore worked hard to modernise her parents’ business, so that old, disappearing street foods don’t get lost. She met with a lot of push back from her parents, who preferred to do it the old way. So when they went on a much deserved holiday, she grabbed the opportunity.

Street Food is a beautiful glimpse into Asian cuisines you might not know much about and how street food is not only a way of life but also fine art. It’s a story of triumph over poverty, income inequality and desperation and how the human spirit is one of not only survival but also of determination of will and triumph.



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