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Documentaries on Chinese food

The list of the best documentaries on Chinese food and Chinese cuisine, to must watch!

A bite of China

Chen Xiaoqing


TV documentary (China Central TV) about the history of Chinese cuisine, ingredients and cooking methods. Numerous famous people like writer Shen Hongfei and food critic Chua Lam participate in the show as consultants.

Three seasons have been produced since 2012 in which over sixty locations are visited between China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

It is counted that for the first season alone, thirty Chinese directors among the closest to work to make seven episodes of just under an hour.

A bite of China cookingwiththehamster
A bite of China | © Youtube

A bite of Guangdong



As the title suggests, this documentary investigates the culinary habits of the inhabitants of Guandong, south of China.

Although for many Westerners the cuisine of the south (understood as Cantonese) is considered the most accessible and simple, once you have seen this documentary you have to think again in terms of complexity of preparations and types of ingredients!

A Bite of Shunde



This documentary is all concentrated in the Shunde area, an area of 806 km² located in the city of Foshan, in the province of Guandong.

It is a very special area as it is believed that the best Cantonese cuisine is eaten here, as well as one of the oldest and most important ever recorded, so much so that in 2014 UNESCO declared it "Food Capital of the World".

A bite of Shunde cookingwiththehamster
A bite of Shunde | ©

Breakfast in China



A documentary that went viral on the Weibo social network and made following the success of A bite of China. It consists of one hundred micro-episodes of about 8 minutes each where the most important meal of the day is investigated in the different areas of China.

It is only available in Chinese.

Breakfast in China cookingwiththehamster
Breakfast in China | ©

Giving cycles



Going in depth into the elements, Giving cycles explores the starting ingredients for the recipe but does not give an overview of gastronomy, rather it investigates the various naturalistic and geographical realities and the resulting fruits.

Another peculiar aspect of this documentary is the in-depth analysis that is made about the beneficial and medical properties of the various ingredients on display.

giving cycles cookingwiththehamster
Giving cycles | ©

L'origine dei sapori

Flavorful Origins



Serial documentary available on Netflix.

It is probably one of the most visually beautiful and generally most interesting and fascinating works available on the web today.

Each season is characterized by short episodes that focus not only on the cuisine of a specific region (Chaosan, Yunnan, Gansu) but also on the geography that determines the type and quality of the ingredients used.

L'origine dei sapori cookingwiththehamster
L'origine dei sapori | ©

Lucky Chow


This television series explores Chinese cuisine thanks to the guidance of Danielle Chang. Not only traditional cuisine, but also and above all the various modern reinterpretations that have become famous all over the world, deepening a different aspect in each episode and, sometimes, completely detaching from China itself to get to dishes that have China only as a point starting in terms of ingredients.

Lucky Chow cookingwiththehamster
Lucky Chow | ©

Once upon a bite



Serial series that investigates Chinese gastronomic culture from the point of view of the indigenous people made in 22 countries and four continents, also investigating the encounter between east and west.

The peculiarity of this work is the strong visual impact, which makes it very similar to the famous serial program Flavorful Origins, available on Netflix.

Pot of fire



This documentary investigates the hot pot as a dish symbol of a great and profound culture, moving away from the typical stereotype of Sichuan. In fact, attention is paid to the diversification of this dish depending on the geographical area, such as, for example, that of Chongqing, that based on Chaoshan beef, the typical hot pot of the north based on cabbage and white meat, that based on mushrooms from Yunnan and the typical one from Beijing, emphasizing local extravagances as in the case of Guizhou, Sichuan Gaoxian and Hainan.

What is at the base of this research is the value of conviviality and sharing, typical of Chinese gastronomic culture.

Pot of fire cookingwiththehamster
Pot of fire | ©

Street food fighter


S01 Ep 01 - Chengdu (Guardalo qui /watch it here)

S01 Ep 02 - Hong Kong (Guardalo qui /watch it here)

S01 Ep 08 - Harbin (Guardalo qui /watch it here)

S02 Ep 04 - Xi'an (Guardalo qui /watch it here)

S02 Ep 08 - Wuhan (Guardalo qui /watch it here)

S02 Ep 10 - Yanbian (Guardalo qui /watch it here)

South Korean TV program that investigates gastronomic culture by visiting different countries and cities, made with the participation of chef Baek Jong-won.

A successful documentary, which also investigates the typical cuisine in a fun way and which exhibits many dishes.

Street food fighter cookingwiththehamster
Street food fighter | ©

The mind of a chef



Episode 11 of the first episode is titled New York: chef David Chang visits the most famous China Town in the world to discover the most unavailable ingredients.

Ian Cheney



The Search for General Tso is a documentary film that initially investigates the traces of General Tso and then moves on to the kitchen, delving into its popular chicken-based dish, famous in the States.

It is a work that explores both Chinese history and gastronomy, but also migratory flows to the United States. It is attended by several leading personalities of Chinese-American cuisine such as chef Cecilia Chiang of the Mandarin restaurant in San Francisco (now closed), unanimously considered the mother of Chinese cuisine in America, and chef Peng Chang-kuei, who in Taipei (Taiwan) invented the "General Tso chicken" dish and subsequently exported it to the United States, adapting it to the taste of Americans.

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The Search of General Tso | ©

The story of Chuan'er


In China there is a type of preparation that everyone likes and that is present in practically all regions: chuan'er (串 儿), or the Chinese barbecue represented by small skewers of meat that are eaten especially at night as street food accompanied by beer.

Numerous more or less famous personalities participate in the show: not so much world-famous chefs, but people of the people who work in this sector on a daily basis.

To underline the presence of the head of the ethnic minority of the Yi.

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The story of Chuan'er | ©

Ugly delicious

David Chang



S01 Ep 05

S01 Ep 07

S01 Ep 08

The fifth episode of the first season is Barbecue: David Chang goes to Beijing to discover nighttime street food and Peking duck.

Fried rice is the seventh episode of the first season and focuses on why very often Chinese cuisine is considered inferior to Western cuisine, even though it is the most widespread on planet. It all starts in New York at Wu's Wonton King restaurant. Chef Chang goes to Beijing for imperial Chinese cuisine inside the Summer Palace. Then visit Great NY Noodletown in New York, in Knoxville visit the New China Palace, in San Francisco discuss with the chef of the restaurant Mister Jiu's and in San Gabriel (California) visit the renowned Newport Seafood restaurant. In Las Vegas visit Caesars Palace to experience authentic cuisine at Beijing Noodle No. 9. Other restaurants shown and/or cited include Asia Kitchen in Knoxville. The episode ends in Canada at the Fishman Lobster Clubhouse Restaurant 魚 樂 軒, where truly spectacular dishes are prepared.

The eighth episode of the first season is stuffed Stuffed: a real competition between Italy and China! Chef Chang visits one of the Din Tai Fung, a restaurant chain famous for xiaolongbao, and visits a true dumplings expert in Hebei Province.

Ugly delicious cookingwiththehamster
Ugly delicious | ©

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