Puning Bean Paste
Chaozhu Mandarin Oranges
Beef hot pot
Meal of fish
Fish ball & wrapped fish
Split across 20 bite-sized episodes, Flavorful Origins is an interesting, educational documentary series that shows the various cooking techniques and cuisines made with native Asian ingredients. With each episode dedicated to a different food, Flavorful Origins guides us through the history and culture surrounding Chaoshan Cuisine, introducing some of the more unusual and flavourful traditional dishes in the process.
Each episode is set up in mostly the same way, making this an easy show to dip in and out of. The first few minutes begin with an introduction to the food itself and its brief history before watching chefs across the region hard at work cooking these items in various ways. From frying, grinding and steaming right the way through to plating and presentation techniques, Flavorful Origins is a surprisingly in-depth look at Asian food and the easy to digest manner this is presented is certainly a welcome inclusion.
Despite there being 20 different episodes, the way each one looks in-depth at how to get the best flavour and taste from these ingredients adds something new that isn’t always seen from these sort of documentaries. Instead of focusing on the chefs and their background, Chaoshan Cuisine is all about the food and learning about the history of each adds an educational twist to this one, giving it an edge over other cooking programs like this.
Most of the episodes themselves present different traditional dishes accompanied with a plethora of close-up and slow-mo shots. Several episodes also feature that item spinning in a 360 degree angled view which helps give the series a unique stylistic feel throughout. Accompanying this is the fantastical musical score which makes good use of harp and string-driven segments to give the show a dreamy and wondrous feel.
While there’s a whole range of different foods used, the short length of each episode is both a blessing and a curse. Some feel a little too short and do end a bit too abruptly while others do rehash the same type of ingredient in different ways. If you can look past this there’s a really educational documentary series here with a good wealth of content.
Flavorful Origins is a fascinating journey into Asian cuisine. The short length of the episodes are both the best and worst part of the show but the variety of different foods explored here is certainly a welcome inclusion. Each of the different episodes have enough similarities to make this feel like a cohesive whole while the educational content is a welcome inclusion here too. It’s not perfect but it is a really interesting documentary series, one well worth checking out if you’re interested in finding out more about the origin of Asian cuisine.