In these trying times, we have to do most of our traveling in our imagination. One of the best ways to do that is through TV and film. Because the next best thing to traveling the world is watching other people travel the world!
For me, one of the most important parts of travel is trying new foods. Not only because it’s tasty, but also because food allows us to connect to people and have shared experiences. Local cuisines reflect the culture and history and offer a unique insight into the lives of people.
Luckily there is a great intersection of these two passions for all the traveling foodies out there. Netflix, as one of the world’s biggest streaming services, has lots of food & travel shows in their portfolio. But we all know that the huge offering can be a bit overwhelming. Where to start? What to watch?
I’ve done you the service of watching almost all of them (such a hard job :P) to provide with this list of the best travel & food shows on Netflix. So you know what to pick for your next binge!
Somebody Feed Phil
This is my ultimate feel-good show. If I need a healthy dose of wholesome fun, this is where I turn. Somebody Feed Phil follows Phil Rosenthal, a Hollywood writer and producer who became successful with the 90s sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond.
Not surprisingly, Phil is a funny guy. He is also sweet, kind, goofy and a true foodie. He travels the world visiting amazing places and learning about the local culture and cuisine. Phil meets up with famous friends, world-renowned chefs and locals. On his trips, he tries everything from Michelin star meals to popular street food, giving you great tips for your own future travels.
His “Copenhagen” epsiode was the base for my own trip there last year.
And Phil isn’t a chef, just a food lover like us, which makes him so delightfully relatable. There is no pretence, just a man thoroughly enjoying himself and exploring the world. Phil’s face lighting up with pure joy when he takes a bite of something delicious can brighten up the darkest day. And the soundtrack always makes me giggle.
Arguably the most touching part of every episode is when Phil video chats with his elderly parents to tell them about his day and the things he ate. Watching them interact with so much love will make you want to call your own parents right away.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Chef David Chang is building quite an empire for himself. With eight successful restaurants, two Michelin stars, a food magazine and two shows on Netflix, there is no denying his popularity.
Although he has another food show on Netflix, Ugly Delicious, Breakfast, Lunch & Diner is my favorite. In this show Chang travels to different cities with a celebrity to eat, you guessed it: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One of the best epsides is with Chrissy Teigen in Marrakech. Here are my Moroccon food tips.
They explore the local food culture, try popular meals and talk about life, art and fame. The celebrities he invites are all very famous and very interesting people. The result is an entertaining mix of a travel show, food show and a talk show. I hope he makes a few more seasons!
Down to Earth
So this one is only partly about food, but still very much worth watching. Down to Earth follows Zac Efron as he travels the world to explore different approaches to sustainability. The show is part environmental documentary, part travel shows and part food show. Because why do a travel show if you’re not going to try the local cuisine?
In one of their episodes, they visit Sardinia to explore the populations longevity. Sardinian food is definitely worth trying!
From Zac’s abs to gorgeous landscapes, the show is filled with eye candy. At first, I thought: great another vanity project by a celebrity. But Down to Earth is more than a gratuitous travel show with nothing more than pretty scenery. It provides information and insight on climate change and sustainability issues. And it’s not all gloom and doom. Instead, the show focuses on solutions rather than problems and shows interesting green grassroots and government initiatives. The show is a bit simplistic and I would take some of the health advice with a grain of salt, but it is a great introduction into environmentalism.
A must-see if you love this planet and good food.
Restaurants on the Edge
Unlike the other shows on this list Restaurants on the Edge has not one, but three hosts. Designer Karin Bohna, and chefs Nick Liberato and Dennis Prescott travel to restaurants around the world that are figuratively and literally “on the edge”.
Each restaurant has an incredible view but is struggling to get customers. Together, they assess all parts of the business, from style to menu. While they work to makeover the restaurant and the business, they explore the local culture, crafts and cuisine.
Sometimes it’s a bit too sappy for my taste and I think they occasionally miss the mark with their make-overs, but it’s a fun show. I like the combination of make-over, travel and food. Each host has their own expertise making it a bit like Queer Eye for restaurateurs.
Whether you think the final result is an improvement or not, you get to enjoy lots of beautiful views, cultural lessons and delicious looking food throughout the episode. Restaurants on the Edge is definitely great at triggering that wanderlust 😉
More wanderlust inspiration? These are the best travel books by female authors.
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Salt Fat Acid Heat is only four episodes long but each one is a gem. The show follows chef Samin Nosrat and it’s based on her 2017 cookbook of the same name. In the show, she travels the world to explore the four core ingredients of good food: salt, fat, acid and heat.
Samin, with her bubbly persona and generous smile, is a joy to watch. She clearly knows her stuff and loves her job. Her passion about food is infectious. It is also one of the most diverse travel and cooking shows, featuring female chefs and POC. A breath of fresh air in the otherwise rather white and male world of TV cooking shows.
In the first episode, Samin explores the use of fat in Italian cuisine. It’s my favorite cuisine and have written a comprehensive food guide about Italy.
There are so many food and travel shows on Netflix and more and more are added each month. If I find any new gems, I’ll definitely add them. But in the meantime, this should be enough to get you started. Enjoy exploring the world through food!
What are your favorite travel and food shows on Netflix? Let me know your recommendations in the comments.
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