While everyone, including travelers like me, are adjusting to being stuck at home because we all have to be safe against COVID-19, I compiled this list of 11 Netflix Shows about Southeast Asia that everyone can watch, especially those who love Southeast Asia. This can definitely satisfy our wanderlusts in the meantime. Enjoy binge-watching!
STREET FOOD (2019)
Embark on a global cultural journey into street food and discover the stories of the people who create the flavorful dishes.
EPISODES ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Yogyakarta, Indonesia
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Cebu, Philippines
Here are a few reasons why watching the series can help you appreciate Southeast Asia:
- Immersive cultural experience: The series offers a visual and culinary tour of Southeast Asia, showcasing the unique and diverse street food cultures of each country. By watching the series, you can experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of Southeast Asia from the comfort of your own home.
- Rich history and heritage: Street food in Southeast Asia is not just about the food; it’s also about the history and heritage behind each dish. The series delves into the stories behind the food, including the people who make it and the communities that have preserved these culinary traditions for generations.
- Diverse cuisine: Southeast Asian cuisine is incredibly diverse, with each country offering a unique blend of flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques. “Street Food” showcases this diversity by featuring different cities and regions within each country, highlighting the variety of street food available.
- Inspirational stories: Many of the featured street food vendors have inspiring stories of perseverance, dedication, and passion. By watching the series, you can learn about the challenges and triumphs of these hardworking individuals who have dedicated their lives to perfecting their craft.
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The Ghost Bride (2020)
The Ghost Bride is a Netflix original series that takes place in colonial Malacca, Malaysia in the 1890s. The show follows the story of a young woman named Li Lan who receives a marriage proposal from the wealthy Lim family to marry their recently deceased son. Li Lan, however, is in love with someone else and is forced to navigate the cultural and supernatural challenges that come with being a bride of the dead. The show provides a glimpse into the traditions and beliefs of the Chinese-Malaysian community during that period, as well as touches on the racial and class divides that existed within colonial Southeast Asia. The Ghost Bride also incorporates elements of traditional Chinese folklore and superstitions, making it an intriguing and culturally rich watch for viewers interested in the region.
THE VIETNAM WAR (2017)
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick present an epic chronicle of the Vietnam War, featuring the soldiers, protesters, politicians and families who lived it.
Here are a few reasons why watching the series can be a valuable experience:
- In-depth historical analysis: The series provides a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the Vietnam War, covering its origins, key events, and aftermath. It features interviews with a wide range of participants, including American and Vietnamese soldiers, politicians, activists, and civilians, providing multiple perspectives on the conflict.
- Personal stories: Alongside the historical analysis, the series also features personal stories from individuals who lived through the war. These stories offer a powerful and emotional insight into the human experience of the conflict and the impact it had on individuals and communities.
- Complex issues: The Vietnam War was a complex and divisive conflict that raised many important issues, including questions of nationalism, imperialism, democracy, and human rights. The series explores these issues in depth, providing a nuanced and multifaceted perspective on the conflict.
- Relevance to contemporary issues: While the Vietnam War took place over 50 years ago, many of the issues it raised remain relevant today. The series highlights the ongoing debates and discussions around war, peace, and social justice, providing insights that can inform contemporary political and social debates.
ALSO READ: 10 BEST HOSTELS IN DISTRICT 1, HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM
Bangkok Breaking (2021)
Bangkok Breaking is a Thai action-thriller series that takes place in the bustling capital city of Bangkok. The show offers a glimpse into the dark underbelly of Southeast Asia’s criminal world, where corruption, violence, and crime are often intertwined. Through the eyes of a young journalist who is investigating a dangerous crime syndicate, the series exposes the stark contrast between the city’s glamorous facade and the gritty reality of life for those who live on the fringes. In addition to its gripping storyline, the show offers a unique perspective on the cultural and social dynamics of Southeast Asia, from the complexities of local politics to the role of technology in modern society. Overall, Bangkok Breaking offers a thrilling and thought-provoking look at one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant cities and the people who call it home.
DARK TOURIST (2018)
From a nuclear lake to a haunted forest, journalist David Farrier visits unusual — and often macabre — tourism spots around the world.
EPISODES ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- South East Asia (Episode 6)
In this episode, the host David Farrier travels to several destinations in Southeast Asia that have dark tourism appeal. He visits a ghost town in Cambodia that was abandoned during the Khmer Rouge regime, the “Gates of Hell” cave in Vietnam, and a temple in Thailand that is believed to be inhabited by a cursed spirit.
Through his travels, Farrier provides insights into the history and culture of these destinations, as well as the motivations of tourists who visit them. He also raises questions about the ethics of dark tourism and the impact it has on local communities and cultures.
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Girl From Nowhere (2018)
Girl From Nowhere is a Thai anthology series that tells the story of Nanno, a mysterious and enigmatic high school student who exposes the hypocrisy and corruption in the school system. The series provides an incisive commentary on the societal pressures and expectations placed on students in Southeast Asia, and how the education system can perpetuate inequality and injustice. Each episode features a different story and explores various themes, such as academic competition, bullying, sexual harassment, and parental expectations. Through Nanno’s character, the series portrays a subversive and critical perspective on the cultural norms and values that dominate Southeast Asian society, challenging viewers to question and reflect on their own beliefs and experiences. Overall, Girl From Nowhere offers a compelling and thought-provoking take on the complexities of being a student in the region, and highlights the urgent need for systemic change in the education system.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER (2019)
Chef David Chang takes his insatiable curiosity about food, culture and identity on the road, in the convivial company of fun-loving celebrity guests.
EPISODE ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- Phnom Penh with kate McKinnon
Here are a few reasons why watching this episode can be an interesting way to appreciate Southeast Asia:
- Local cuisine: The episode focuses on the unique flavors and ingredients of Cambodia’s cuisine, including fish amok, a traditional Cambodian fish curry, and bai sach chrouk, a popular breakfast dish made with grilled pork and rice.
- Cultural insights: The episode also provides insights into the history and culture of Cambodia, particularly the impact of the Khmer Rouge regime on the country’s food culture. By speaking with local chefs and food experts, the episode offers a deeper understanding of the role that food plays in Cambodian society.
- Exploration of local communities: Through their travels in Phnom Penh, Chang and McKinnon visit local markets, street food stalls, and restaurants, providing a glimpse into the daily lives of Cambodians and the role that food plays in their community.
- Entertainment value: The episode is entertaining and engaging, with Chang and McKinnon providing humor and personality as they explore the city’s food scene.
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The Stranded (2019)
The Stranded is a Thai survival drama series that takes place on an island off the coast of Thailand. The show follows a group of high school students from an elite boarding school who become stranded on the island after a tsunami hits during their graduation trip. As they struggle to survive with limited resources, they also begin to uncover the island’s dark secrets and supernatural phenomena. The series touches on themes of class differences, corruption, and the tension between tradition and modernity in Southeast Asia. Through its Thai setting and use of Thai actors and language, the show provides a glimpse into the culture and way of life in Thailand, making it an interesting and unique addition to the growing body of Southeast Asian content on Netflix.
JACK WHITEHALL: TRAVELS WITH MY FATHER (2019)
Jovial comic Jack Whitehall and his stuffy father, Michael, take unusual and amusing trips to foreign lands in an attempt to strengthen their bond.
EPISODES ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- The whole of Season 1
Here are a few reasons why watching the Southeast Asia episodes of “Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father” can be an interesting way to appreciate the region:
- Humorous and engaging: The show is entertaining and humorous, with Jack Whitehall and his father Michael providing plenty of laughs and memorable moments as they explore Southeast Asia.
- Cultural insights: The episodes provide insights into the unique cultures, traditions, and customs of Southeast Asia. The show explores the diversity of the region, from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the peaceful temples of Luang Prabang in Laos.
- Food culture: The Southeast Asia episodes of “Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father” showcase the region’s vibrant and diverse food culture. From trying street food in Thailand to experiencing a traditional Luang Prabang feast in Laos, the show provides an insight into the role that food plays in Southeast Asian society.
- Father-son dynamics: The show is centered around the relationship between Jack and his father Michael, providing an interesting perspective on family dynamics while traveling.
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THE CHEF’S LINE (2017)
Home cooks face off against trained chefs to see if passion can beat profession in the kitchen in this reality competition show.
EPISODES ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- Episodes 1-5 (Vietnamese)
The show’s Southeast Asian episodes are particularly interesting as they highlight the rich and diverse culinary traditions of the region.
By watching “The Chef’s Line” Southeast Asian episodes, you’ll be introduced to unique ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavor profiles that are specific to this region. You’ll also gain insight into the cultural and historical context behind the dishes, as well as the stories and experiences of the chefs and home cooks who create them.
Through the show, you’ll learn about the different cuisines of Southeast Asia, such as Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Indonesian, and how they differ from each other. You’ll also see how the region’s food reflects its geography, history, and cultural diversity.
ALSO READ: 10 BEST HOSTELS IN OLD QUARTER, HANOI, VIETNAM
SINGAPORE SOCIAL (2019)
Peer into the lives of young Singaporeans as they defy expectations and traverse the tricky terrain of career, romance and family.
The series showcases the diversity and vibrancy of Singapore’s culture and society, including its food, fashion, music, and nightlife. It also explores some of the unique challenges faced by young people in Singapore, such as balancing traditional values with modern aspirations.
ALSO READ: YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO A SINGAPORE LAYOVER
JASON’S MARKET TRAILS (2018)
Host Jason Yeoh explores food markets and street stalls around Malaysia and delves into the human tales and history behind each tasty bite.
Here are a few reasons why watching this series can help you appreciate Southeast Asia:
- Cultural Diversity: Southeast Asia is a region that is known for its cultural diversity, and “Jason’s Market Trails” does an excellent job of showcasing this diversity through its focus on food. The series explores the various local cuisines of countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, highlighting the unique ingredients and cooking techniques that make each cuisine special.
- Connection to Nature: The show also emphasizes the importance of nature and the environment in Southeast Asian cuisine. It takes viewers on a journey through local markets and farms, where they can see firsthand how food is grown and harvested. This helps viewers appreciate the connection between nature and food, and how Southeast Asian cultures have developed sustainable and eco-friendly food practices.
- Chef’s Perspective: As a chef, Jason Tan brings a unique perspective to the series. He not only shares his knowledge of cooking techniques but also provides insights into the cultural and historical significance of the dishes he explores. Through his experiences, viewers can learn more about the people and cultures that have shaped Southeast Asian cuisine over the centuries.
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DIRTY MONEY (2020)
From crippling payday loans to cars that cheat emissions tests, this investigative series exposes brazen acts of corporate greed and corruption.
EPISODE ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- The Man at the Top (Season 2 Episode 2)
The episode “The Man at the Top” focuses on the notorious scandal involving Malaysia’s state investment fund, 1MDB, and its former Prime Minister, Najib Razak. The scandal involved allegations of embezzlement and money laundering, with billions of dollars allegedly siphoned off from the fund and used for personal gain.
Watching this episode can provide insights into the corrupt practices that have plagued Southeast Asia and its politics. It highlights how power and greed can corrupt even the highest levels of government, leading to the misuse and abuse of public funds.
Furthermore, the episode also sheds light on the intricacies of the financial systems and networks involved in money laundering and corruption. This understanding can help viewers appreciate the complexity of the issue and the challenges involved in combating corruption.
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SOMEBODY FEED PHIL (2018)
“Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal travels the globe to take in the local cuisine and culture of Bangkok, Lisbon, Mexico City and more.
EPISODES ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- Bangkok (Episode 1)
- Saigon (Episode 2)
One of the regions Phil visits in the show is Southeast Asia, where he explores the rich culinary traditions and diverse cultures of countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. Watching this series can help you appreciate Southeast Asia in several ways:
- Explore the local cuisine: Southeast Asia is renowned for its diverse and delicious food. Watching “Somebody Feed Phil” can give you a glimpse into the different dishes, flavors, and ingredients that make Southeast Asian cuisine unique.
- Experience the local culture: The show also highlights the local culture of Southeast Asia. Phil interacts with locals and learns about their customs and traditions, giving viewers a chance to experience the region’s rich cultural heritage.
- Discover hidden gems: The show takes viewers off the beaten path, exploring lesser-known destinations and hidden food spots. This can inspire you to travel to Southeast Asia and discover its hidden gems for yourself.
- Get inspired to try new things: Phil’s enthusiasm for food is infectious, and his willingness to try anything and everything can inspire viewers to be more adventurous in their own culinary explorations.
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INSIDE THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST PRISONS (2018)
EPISODE ABOUT SOUTHEAST ASIA
- Philippines (Episode 4)
The episode on the Philippines focuses on the New Bilibid Prison, which is the largest correctional facility in the Philippines and one of the most overcrowded prisons in the world.
Watching this episode can provide valuable insights into the challenges faced by Southeast Asian countries in their criminal justice systems. The episode highlights the problems of overcrowding, corruption, and inadequate resources that are common in many prisons in the region.
By watching this episode, you can gain a better understanding of the issues faced by prisoners and prison staff in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries. You can also learn about the efforts being made to improve conditions and reform the criminal justice system in the region.
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NETFLIX SHOWS about SOUTHEAST ASIA: YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE WELCOME! 🙂
There you have it! You now have a long list of shows to watch in Netflix about Southeast Asia! If you happen to observe that I missed any TV show that deserves to be included on this list, let me know by either sending me an email, posting a comment on this article, or sliding a DM on my Instagram account. Happy watching and keep safe!