Blending two of our fave hobbies - food and TV - we review Food Lore, the latest original offering from HBO Asia
It’s no secret that Hong Kongers love to eat. From the almost obsessive need to be the first to try new restaurants, to having very specific feelings about the best street food vendors in town, and the weekly dim sum pilgrimage that many families enjoy (or endure), many a story could be told around the way that we eat and why. And this is exactly the theme that HBO Asia explores in its new anthology drama series: Food Lore.
So what’s it all about?
Premiering on HBO GO and HBO on Sunday, 3 November at 10pm, Food Lore consists of eight hour-long episodes set over multiple countries in Asia. Helmed by Eric Khoo, the award-winning Singaporean filmmaker famed for the likes of Ramen Teh and 12 Storeys, each episode tells a story around food and its cultural significance to the protagonists.
Directed by some of Asia’s most endearing storytellers, including Erik Matti (Honor Thy Father) from The Philippines; Phan Dang Di (Bi, Don’t Be Afraid) from Vietnam; and Takumi Saitoh (Blank 13) from Japan, for anyone who loves to learn more about culture, human behaviour and, of course, food, this should definitely be on the watch list – #supportlocal.
HBO Asia’s Food Lore review
Following on from Folklore, where HBO Asia dabbled in the world of the supernatural, this new anthology series visits The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. While I can’t go into too much detail about each story, I will say that the first in the series, Food Lore: Island of Dreams was my favourite of the three episodes I had early access to.
Telling the story of Nieves, played beautifully by Angeli Bayani, a woman from a village in The Philippines who moves to Manila to work as a domestic helper so her children can attend university, we get a wonderful glimpse into how different people can be, even when they’re from the same country, and how quickly we adapt to new situations.
Director Erik Matti manages to capture the spirit of the village when Nieves returns home for the annual fiesta, and the cinematography emphasises the vast difference between town and country. Examining the contrasting priorities that a family has and simultaneously showing the viewer the importance of gathering together over food in The Philippines, the episode is the perfect way to kick off a series that is sure to be a hit.
Let’s just hope that one day that we get to see our colourful Hong Kong included in one of the productions.
Food Lore will premiere Sunday, 3 November 2019 at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO.