Review of the documentary series Street Food

Pros: Touching stories of street food vendors; exotic food in exotic cities; nice picture and excellent editing Cons: I would like a greater variety of locations; most of the stories are very similar to each other Street Food / “Street Food”

Genre documentary series
Creators David Gelb, Brian McGinn
Netflix channel
Year of release 2019
Episode 9
Site IMDb

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of cooking shows, although sometimes, for one reason or another, I watch them, for example, on the Discovery channels. But Street Food captivated me literally from the first episode. And it’s not just that I love street food and try to try local dishes on the streets of the cities I visit, it’s the presentation. Where other shows focus on the ingredients, preparation and presentation of food, David Gelb and Brian McGinn focus on the people behind the counters. Whether it’s a young girl who left a prestigious job in the US, gave up her dream and returned to Singapore to help her parents run a tiny street food stand, or an old, old Indonesian woman who spent her whole life sitting on the side of the road cooking just one dish, but achieved in this process of true enlightenment. Listening to these stories and watching people work, and this is really very hard, exhausting work, is incredibly interesting.

In terms of mood and presentation, the Street Food series reminded me of another Netflix documentary, the sports show Losers. Both here and there, the focus is on people, and people who were defeated, lost everything, but were able to rise and find themselves in another area. Yes, many of the street chefs take over their parents’ business and continue to sell food from the same stand, cart or tray that their grandparents did 50, 70, 100 years ago, but almost all of them did not plan to do this in the first place. By the way, in this similarity of stories, and of course, people selling food on the street are not out of a good life, lies one of the problems of the show – the Street Food episodes are built according to the same scheme, and you roughly know what to expect from the next episode.


Part of this problem is due to the fact that the first season of the show is about Asian street food. Yes, in this region street food is a cult, a ritual, an unchanging attribute of life; in many big cities in Asia there are no kitchens in apartments at all, people constantly eat on the street. But I would still like some variety, because Europe, South America, and the USA have their own characteristic food that you can eat on the go. Let’s hope that in the next seasons the creators of the show will travel to other regions.


In the first season of Street Food, we will be shown the street life and food of nine Asian cities: Bangkok (Thailand), Osaka (Japan), Delhi (India), Yogyakarta (Indonesia), Chiayi (Taiwan), Seoul (South Korea), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) , Singapore, Cebu (Philippines). Each episode has one main character and the dishes he cooks, and several minor characters with their own dishes. The series does not pretend to fully cover the culinary traditions and habits of each of the countries shown; each episode is a kind of small window into the world of street food, a fragment from the life of people on the other side of the world.


Unlike other cooking shows, Street Food probably won’t make you salivate and want to rush to the kitchen to eat something, but it will definitely make you want to travel more, paying attention to what’s on sale when you travel. from small trays along the road, and try everything you can reach. After all, if you walk past an unsightly-looking eatery with metal tables and not the cleanest tiled walls, you may risk missing the most delicious meal of your life. And, as the Street Food series shows, such an unprepossessing eatery may well end up with a Michelin star.


An interesting mix of a culinary show, a story about the traditions of the country and touching stories of people selling street food

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