Feel-good travel shows that let you globetrot from your couch
There are many ways you can still satisfy your wanderlust from home: reading a great book, putting together your #traveltomorrow bucket list on Pinterest, or – possibly our favourite – curling up on your couch with a great travel docuseries. Taking you through an adventure in the Australian Outback to discovering the incredible street food scene in Asia, we’ve rounded up the best shows you can stream on Netflix for a spot of armchair travelling.
1. Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father
This lighthearted series follows the adventures of British comedian Jack Whitehall who goes on a “gap year” with his 80-year-old father, former showbiz agent Michael Whitehall. Now in its fourth season, the hilarious father-son duo crisscrosses the globe to everywhere from Bangkok and Las Vegas to Germany and Ukraine, where they find themselves either clashing or in comically sticky situations. The first season kicks off with them backpacking through Southeast Asia, where Michael’s obvious unease in roughing it up in a foreign land makes for great comedy.
2. Salt Fat Acid Heat
Salt Fat Acid Heat might be Netflix’s first instructional cooking show, but it’s not like any other cooking programme you’ve watched. Named for her James Beard-winning cookbook of the same name, chef and author Samin Nosrat travels to different parts of the globe to investigate each of these four key factors of successful cooking. Each episode hones in on one element: in “Salt”, she travels to Japan to learn all about sea salt, miso and soy on Shodo Island and Kami-kamagari Island. Nosrat’s love and passion for food makes the series both an informative and pleasurable watch.
3. Instant Hotel
In this Australian reality television series, homeowners who have turned their homes into “instant hotels” are judged by their fellow contestants for the ultimate grand prize of $100,000. Featuring former Vogue editor and interior designer Juliet Ashworth as a judge, this lighthearted, feel-good watch that takes you to some of Australia’s most incredible locales and hidden gems. Some of the noteworthy instant hotels include a dugout in the otherworldly terrains of Coober Pedy to a chic beachside penthouse on the Sunshine Coast.
4. Street Food: Asia
Street Food: Asia explores the region’s famed street food culture over nine episodes. Each one focuses on a street food vendor – like Aisha Hashim, a next-gen Singaporean hawker who’s continuing her family’s putu piring (steamed rice cake filled with melted palm sugar) business or Jay Fai, the first street food stall in Bangkok to be awarded a Michelin star – while delving into the bigger conversation of what street food means to their respective native countries.
5. Chef’s Table
This Emmy-nominated series spotlights culinary stars around the world, offering an intimate peek into the lives and kitchens of acclaimed chefs who are redefining the gourmet food scene in their respective countries. Each episode profiles a single chef, like Bangkok’s Bo Songvisava in season five; Christina Tosi of New York hot spot Milk Bar in season four’s pastry-themed series; and celebrated London chef Asma Khan in season six.
6. Jason’s Market Trails
Now streaming on Netflix is Jason’s Market Trails, a series by Malaysian host and foodie Jason Yeoh, who’s been referred to as the “Anthony Bourdain of Malaysia”. Each half-hour episode features famous wet markets and street stalls around the country, like Penang’s famous Chowrasta Market and Air Itam Market, and dives into the human stories and history behind each. Be warned, though: brace yourselves for some serious hunger pangs after.