Polish up your favorite spoons if, like us, you’re a foodie down to your bootstraps. There’s a new gastronomic docuseries in town that centers on just one particular meal – and it’s the most important meal of the day, as your mom puts it.
Breakfast in China, coproduced by Tencent and Haixia TV, explores the seemingly limitless world of Chinese breakfasts though a series of 35 short episodes and is already available online on Tencent Video. A setup that certainly fits in our era of rapid bite-sized content consumption and increased obsession with food.
The show dives into a sea of bone broth, wades a viscous swamp of noodles, passes through fragrant dumpling ridges and wriggles out of youtiao thickets within just one season, concise enough to finish in one sitting. And it seems to have resonated with people all over China, resulting in over 240 million views on the show’s hashtag on Weibo as of yesterday, and even prompting a low-key internet challenge, with people sharing photos of their favorite morning meals.
Breakfast in China follows the success of other similar shows like A Bite of China and Once Upon a Bite, all celebrating different styles of Chinese cuisine. Not to mention the non-ceasing torrent of food shows that have flooded Netflix virtually every month since the viral success of David Chang’s Ugly Delicious.
It seems like we have become way more obsessed with food than people in previous generations and this dynamic is hard to explain. Eve Turrow, a millennial food culture expert and author of A Taste of Generation Yum: How the Millennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs, and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food, speculates that our obsession with food comes from the sensory deprivation that we experience living in an increasingly digitalized world, which sounds true in the case of China. She argues that food is something that engages all of our senses and brings people together in physical space, hence our evolving interest towards it.
In another opinion articulated in a Boston Globe article covering the success of Ugly Delicious the author concludes that food serves as a great segue to discussing more elaborate issues like culture, identity and politics. And indeed, there might not be anything more exciting about food than the diverse cultures and identities that stand behind it.
Well, except for the fact that it's just so damn delicious.
Image via @早餐中国/Weibo
[Cover image via Wikimedia]