China’s Chaoshan cuisine is the focus in the first season of Flavorful Origins
Foodies, listen up! There’s a new food series on Netflix, and you should not just add it to your queue, but start watching immediately!
Flavorful Origins, a culinary documentary series focused on Chinese cuisine in China, arrived on the streaming service in February. It totally flew under our radar, so don’t be surprised if you have not heard of it. Having seen a few episodes out of the 20-episode first season, we think it is an underrated series that anyone who loves Chinese food needs to watch. It is another creation from director Chen Xiaoqing, and if you have seen his previous highly acclaimed food docuseries A Bite of China, you would know the mouthwatering experience to come with this new one.
A fair warning first, though – Flavorful Origins is practically food porn. You might want to have some snacks on hand before you press play on an episode.
But don’t just take our word for how drool-worthy the food presentation is; have a peek from the trailer!
The first season shines a spotlight on the cuisine of Chaoshan, a region in eastern Guangdong, in the Southeast side of China. Many of us in Singapore might know Chaoshan cuisine better as Teochew cuisine.
As a documentary series, Flavorful Origins is a refreshing break from Netflix’s usual celebrity chef-based cooking shows, such as Chef’s Table. In Flavorful Origins, the focus is not on chefs, but dishes, ingredients and the community that cultivates the food from farm to table. Each of the 20 episodes this season is a bite-sized average of 12 minutes long, centered on one ingredient or dish from Chaoshan cuisine. The ingredients and dishes have a place in the region’s tradition, but they are also popular today. Singaporeans would find many of them very familiar, and perhaps even spark cravings!
This great attention to detail means that we get a very in-depth history of how the ingredient has been sourced and prepared over generations in Chaoshan. Chinese olives, a humble little ingredient which most of us probably do not think very much about, is made a star that elevates so many dishes in the first episode, which is simply entitled “Olives.” The second episode zooms in on Hu Tieu, a kway teow soup dish, and how it has become a staple in Chaoshan. Lei Cha (Hakka thunder tea) and Yu Sheng are also familiar to Singaporeans, but what do you know about their origins? Discover their rich history in the Chaoshan region from each dish’s own dedicated episode.
We bet the “Beef Hot Pot” episode will be a hit among Singapore viewers. If you are looking for one episode to introduce to a friend, or get hooked yourself, watch “Beef Hot Pot.” Here are a few gifs to help convince you…
Flavorful Origins is brimming with such sensual, close-up and slow-motion shots of the food being cooked and eaten. The visuals are so tantalising, we feel like we can almost taste the food in all their glorious texture!
Shot originally in the Mandarin language, the series has both translated English and Mandarin audio, as well as English subtitles, so non-Mandarin speakers can also enjoy it. However, having discovered some inconsistencies between the English audio and Mandarin subtitles, we would recommend that Mandarin speakers try switching to the Mandarin audio to better catch the intended meaning.
We love how the first season decided to give a regional culture and cuisine like Chaoshan a spotlight. It’s a great way to introduce the rest of the world to more traditional and communally produced types of Chinese food. If Flavorful Origins will have a second season, we can’t wait to see which region and cuisine will be the star next!