Stream It or Skip It?

Street Food: Latin America is a new series on Netflix that will have your mouth watering within the first five seconds. The culinary culture show highlights some of the specialties in Latin American countries: not only the most delectable local food but also the incredibly humanizing stories of the people behind the dishes. 

Opening Shot: The opening shot of the series shows how the famous tortilla is made. This includes fried potatoes drenched in cheese, topped with ham slices, and slid into the oven before being cut into generous slices. See, you’ve already got a little bit of drool coming out of your mouth. “In Argentina, we like cheese a lot,” a female’s voice is heard declaring, and if you aren’t nodding along already then this episode might not be for you. Episode 1 covers the various snacks of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and proves it’s true: they really like cheese.

The Gist: How do you squeeze an explanation of Buenos Aires’ culture into a 35-minute episode? Well, clearly you start with the cheese. The first episode touches on the most important part of this location’s culture: the influences, the football, and mostly, the food. But with that comes the human stories behind the food stalls. The series explores the past and present of some of their most valued culinary creators. Food journalists explain where to get the best pizza in town, we learn about the beloved choripan, and yes, there is so much more to know about that gorgeous stuffed tortilla, including the fact that it comes from Las Chicas de las Tres in the Central Market, owned by this episode’s breakout star Pato Rodriguez. The series explains how several dishes, recipes, and businesses have evolved, and every single morsel of food shown here looks incredible. From the succulent meat to the mouthwatering empanadas, do not watch this show on an empty stomach. Buenos Aires kicks off the series but the show also travels to places such as Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.

Our Take: Street Food: Latin America serves two purposes: one, it will feel like an escape from your home, and two, it will give you some FOMO about not actually being able to travel to these locations, to meet these people, and to taste these treats. But hey, maybe it will invigorate the hope that we will be able to someday.

Yes, this series is going to make you want to travel. That’s the whole point, to expose us to fun and exciting places that aren’t the same dang home we’ve been sitting in for months. Start a list of the places and dishes you can’t wait to experience for yourself, and this show will convince you what’s truly worth jumping on a plane for once it’s safe enough to do so. In the meantime, hey, maybe you’ve got a new recipe to try out!

Because the real story here is about the people. Hearing about what they’ve been through and their passion for food is truly admirable, and just might inspire more than a loaf of bread from your kitchen these days. The show highlights just how important food is to people and culture, but along with that, how much the small businesses that serve us matter as well.

This series wins when it feels as though we, the audience watching via Netflix, are getting secret insider tips about the coolest most authentic places to check out, like a local whispered it to us. it doesn’t feel exploitative at all or that it’s trying to be a cool Instagram post. Street Food: Latin America isn’t quite changing the game when it comes to food or travel or culture shows, but it’s a pretty solid contribution that will leave you feeling hungry and educated at the same time.

Tortilla in the Buenos Aires, Argentina episode of Street Food: Latin America

Sex and Skin: There’s no sexiness but there is an unexpected and very sweet romance that is a delightful part of one business’s story. And plus, this show is basically the definition of food porn, so it will at least have your tongue tingling.

Parting Shot: The first episode ends with Pato packing it up for the day and heading home to…cook and enjoy more food with her friends and family! It’s a lovely way to tie up her story and move along to another brilliant business owner in another unique location.

Sleeper Star: In the first episode, it’s certainly Pato. From her family’s history to her current life to the joy she gets from talking about the food she makes, she’s instantly someone you’ll enjoy learning about and hearing from.

Most Pilot-y Line: The episode leaves us with this reflection from Pato describing her business’s home in The Central Market: “I feel that the market and I, we couldn’t live without each other. I feel that I need it and I know it needs me. It cant get rid of me, never. And I’ll continue cooking until my last day in this wonderful place, The Central Market.” It’s a way to highlight the unique relationship between a commercial establishment that thousands of people pass through each day, and the very personal relationship Pato and her business have with the location.

Our Call: STREAM IT! Again, be prepared to drool, but this show is ultimately a worthwhile escape.

Watch Street Food: Latin America on Netflix