top of page

5 International Cooking Shows You Have To Watch

Part of the joy of trying international cuisines is the excitement of figuring out whether you like it or not, and learning about the culture it comes from. 

But travel is expensive, and cooking can be hard. Sometimes it’s better to just take a seat on the couch, and leave it to the professionals. Check out these five international cooking shows for a taste of what the world has to offer!

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Where to watch: Netflix

Parts Unknown is one of the greatest food shows of the past ten years. Anthony Bourdain was a professional chef who ran various New York kitchens. He rose to fame after writing an article for the New Yorker about the hidden secrets of the New York hospitality world, and was renowned for his in-depth looks at the cultures and politics behind the food he ate. Parts Unknown ran for 11 seasons until Bourdain’s death this year, with each episode revolving around a certain place and its people. The episode with Barack Obama in Vietnam is a particular highlight, and the latest season just won six Emmy Awards.

Chef’s Table

Where to watch: Netflix

This was the first Netflix Original documentary series, and it’s a good one. Each episode dives into the mind of a professional chef, some working in the best restaurants in the world. Gourmet Traveller has said it’s “about as close as you can get to eating at a restaurant without physically being there.” The show also delves into the personal lives of the chefs, and shows the processes behind their dishes. Add some great cinematography, and you’ve got the recipe for a hit TV show.

Destination Flavour

Where to watch: SBS On Demand

If there’s one thing you can say about Masterchef Australia, it’s that it produces very likeable winners. Season two champion Adam Liaw has hosted Destination Flavour on SBS since 2012, and he is one of the reasons the show is so entertaining. Part of the joy is also seeing Liaw genuinely enjoy himself. For example, in the first episode of Destination Flavour: Singapore he meets his cousin, a Singaporean street vendor, for the first time. Additionally, rather than having episodes focusing on different countries, Destination Flavour has whole seasons dedicated to an international cuisine. This means you really get an in-depth look at the various culinary delights of each country.

Ugly Delicious

Where to watch: Netflix

Ugly Delicious is a newcomer to the food/travel genre, but it’s already critically acclaimed. Also produced by Netflix, it picks a dish or subset of dishes and explores their history and those who have made them what they are today. The first season includes episodes on pizza, fried rice and BBQs of various forms. There’s also a healthy sprinkling of celebrities that you’d recognise – Jimmy Kimmel, Gillian Jacobs and Nick Kroll all make appearances. Netflix hasn’t announced whether Ugly Delicious will be renewed for a second season yet, so for now, make the most of the tasty meal that is Season 1.

Great British Bake Off

Where to watch: Lifestyle Food (Foxtel)

Leave it to Britain to create the most wholesome reality cooking show to ever exist. Where else could you find contestants repeating the phrase “soggy bottom” completely straight-faced? The premise is pretty simple: a group of amateur bakers from various walks of life compete to become ‘Star Baker’ for the week. There are three challenges, and each week has a different theme, ranging from your standard ‘bread’ or ‘biscuits’ to the more specific ‘European cakes’ and ‘botanical’. There’s no nastiness between contestants, and the comedian hosts keep everything punny. That’s not to say people aren’t invested in it, though – the ‘Baked Alaska controversy’ of Season 5 saw 800 complaints to the BBC, and a spokesman had to issue a statement regarding what really happened to Iain’s ice cream.

This article first appeared on Blitz UNSW. The full article can be found here. 

bottom of page