Nilarang Bakasi is a soured stew made with reef eel.
Culture Movies

Cebuano street fare gets its due in Netflix’s new documentary series

An Asia-centric spin-off of the critically-acclaimed Chef’s Table, Street Food travels to different cities in the continent to taste the flavors and learn the stories of popular roadside stalls and shophouses. Here, the owners, often self-taught, are depicted as heroes who have attained world recognition while keeping their cultural heritage alive.
ANCX Staff | Apr 11 2019

In Bangkok, Jay Fai, clad in ski goggles and perfectly-red lips, masterfully handles a wok over a hot charcoal fire to create eye-popping fare. After losing everything in a fire, she taught herself how to cook, and has built a following at her modest space along Thailand’s parking abyss of a capital city. Her innovative take on thai dishes such as giant crab omelets, drunken noodles, and Tom Yum soup have earned the curiosity of the world as well as a Michelin star.

Meanwhile, in a hidden alley in Osaka, Toyo dazzles his customers with vibrant stories and the inventive ways he presents his fare. A favorite among Delhi’s muslim community, the Nihari (or Buffalo Stew) is beloved at Mohamed Rehan’s, where people line up for hours just to get a bowl. The stall of the mother-daughter tandem Gumsoon Park and Sangmi Chu is a hit at the Gwangjang market in South Korea, particularly their crisp and hearty Mung Bean Pancakes.

Florencio “Entoy” Escabas thought of a way to make his impoverished community a destination.

 

More dishes from around Asia:

 

These are just some of the scenes from Street Food, a Netflix original documentary series from the creators of the streaming platform’s wildly successful Chef’s Table. It explores the rich culture of street food in some of the world's most colorful cities in Asia. Season one explores nine countries, highlighting the stories of perseverance that bring each country's cuisine and culture to life.

For some of the featured local legends, creating street food began as a necessity, but through generations of refining and honoring family traditions, it became their life-long passion to continue to uplift and bring joy to their communities. Street Food goes beyond the delicious food to document the blood, sweat and tears that goes into each iconic dish. 

The series celebrates the following cities: Bangkok, Osaka, Delhi, Yogyakarta, Chiayi, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore and our capital in the south, Cebu.

 

Cebuano centerpiece

The country’s first capital has been a trading hub for centuries, where the locals are blessed with the freshest seafood and easy access to produce from the mountains. This geographic good luck coupled with the global influence of sea-trading and colonization makes Pinoy street food unique.

In the Philippine episode of Street Food, Cebuano roadside fare take center stage.
In the series’ ninth episode, viewers meet Florencio “Entoy” Escabas, who has found found a way to reverse the cycle of poverty not only for his family, but also for the fishermen in his community.  He discovered a way to make his community a destination to which people travel from far and wide. Nilarang Bakasi is a soured stew made with reef eel. It can be made from many types of fish, but when it’s made with reef eel, it’s truly something special. It has an aphrodisiac quality that cannot be achieved with other ingredients..

You can talk about Cebuano food without mentioning lechon in the same breath. In the episode, it is described as a street food, but Filipinos know that it is more than that. There’s not a party or feast in the archipelago that doesn’t aspire to have the roasted pig dish as its centerpiece. In Street Food, the focus is on Leslie Enjambre. Her grandmother started the lechon business in Talisay in the 1940s and it’s been passed down through the generations ever since.

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Tuslob-Buwa, a thick, bubbling gravy made with sautéed onions, garlic and pig brains has been around Cebu for centuries and was historically eaten by those who couldn’t afford meat or fish. Ian Secong brought a new (and hygienic) version into the mainstream culture with Azul, a popular restaurant for the younger generation.

To support her family, Rubilyn Diko Manayon opened a roadside carinderia in Cordova where she sells 18 different dishes. The most popular food by far is her lumpia. The Chinese made a big impact on the street food of Cebu when they introduced the wok, allowing Cebuanos to sauté their aromatics, fry foods and make those glorious spring rolls.


 

Street Food will start streaming on Netflix on April 26. For more information, visit Netflix.com