Netflix isn't the only place to find great food shows, but it's a wonderful place to start. Whether you want to learn about food culture or take a more light-hearted approach, this collection of shows will find your sweet spot. So settle into the couch and grab a big bowl of popcorn — because you will get hungry.
For six seasons on Netflix, "Chef's Table" has introduced viewers to chefs from around the world. These aren't the typical celebrities, although some of the names may sound familiar like Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farm. Each of the Emmy-award winning show's episodes focuses on a single chef, and viewers learn how each chef's story informs the type of cuisine they cook. There's a spin-off, "Chef's Table: France" also available on Netflix, that ran for one season in 2016.
This is the show to watch if you want an education about another culture's cuisine and you have about 15 minutes you're looking to kill — each of the 20 episodes runs about 13 minutes long. "Flavorful Origins" transports viewers to the Coaosan region of China to experience how local cooks prepare foods like olives and white radishes, use spices and herbs like galangal and motherwort, or cook beef meatballs. The food is the star here, not a chef. An unseen narrator takes viewers through the meaning and the cultural implication of each new place.
'Salt Fat Acid Heat'
The same four elements are what make food delicious no matter where you are in the world, and chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travels the world looking at how salt, fat, acid and heat create delicious food in various cuisines. The show is a follow-up to her James Beard Award-Winning cookbook of the same name. The four episodes take viewers to Italy, Japan, Mexico and California, where Nosrat travels, cooks and thoroughly enjoys herself. Viewers will definitely want to sit down and enjoy the meals with her.
'Ainsley Eats the Streets'
This show should get more buzz than it does. Celebrity Chef Ainsley Harriott from the BBC shows "Can't Cook, Won't Cook" and "Ready Steady Cook" journeys around the world to explore the relationship between local street food and cultural identify. From Istanbul to Fes to Anman, Harriott discovers foods and ingredients from other cuisines and introducers his viewers to them. He often takes a shot at cooking some of the foods he's discovered with local chefs. Viewers don't simply learn about food, they learn a lot about other cultures, too.
'Somebody Feed Phil'
Phil Rosenthal is hungry, and he travels the world in search of food — the great connector — to get satiated. For two seasons, Rosenthal, the creator of "Everybody Loves Raymond," searches for food with flavor, since he grew up with food that he describes as "punishment." Since he isn't a seasoned chef, just a self-proclaimed foodie, viewers get to see the types of food experiences they would probably have with their own friends and family as a tourists in some of these destinations. The delight Rosenthal experiences during his cuisine adventures is infectious.
Celebrity Chef David Chang takes viewers on a "mouth-watering, cross-cultural hunt for the world's most satisfying grub." Each episode takes a look at our favorite comfort foods while also looking at the social issues that often surround what we eat: immigration, racial politics and cultural appropriation. But even while hitting these important themes, the program is entertaining, and Chang reminds us that we can still like the simple foods of everyday life — pizza, tacos, shrimp and crawfish, and fried chicken — even if it's not pretty or lauded by food critics.
'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown'
No list of must-watch food shows on Netflix would be complete with "Parts Unknown," the late Anthony Bourdain's groundbreaking show. Netflix has seasons 7 through 11 of this docu-series, which arguably made it possible for all of the other shows mentioned here to get made. Bourdain travels to other countries looking at their indigenous foods, their culture and their politics, as well as visiting parts of the U.S. He learned a lot from his travels, and so will you as a viewer.