You’ve seen him travelling through the region before. And if you’ve ever wondered when celebrity chef David Rocco would ever do a dedicated series on Southeast Asia – well, wonder no more! The 10-episode ‘David Rocco’s Dolce Southeast Asia’ premieres 14th September (that’s today!), and fans and casual audiences alike are in for a treat.
Travelling to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, David learns traditional dishes and samples the street food he’s heard about from foodies all over the world. Five of the 10 episodes were filmed in Malaysia and one in neighbouring Singapore.
David is genuinely curious wherever he goes and peels off stories by being a sincere listener. And this makes for compelling viewing for anyone interested in the different and deeper perspectives around food and travel.
In episode 3, ‘Being A Refugee’, David focuses on the refugee community in Kuala Lumpur. A hot button issue these days, we are however served with a slice of reality not highlighted enough by local media.
Refugees are not accorded legal employment opportunities even though they are willing and able, hence they face an uncertain future, with returning home to their war-torn countries such as Syria not being a viable option.
But on the show, we find out how certain parties are finding ways to help these refugees earn a decent living, including ‘Picha Project’, a platform that allows refugees to cook their native food and delicacies, and then sell them on a food delivery platform called ‘pichaeats‘.
It’s also enlightening to listen to what they have to say about living in a multi-cultural country such as Malaysia. One refugee describes KL as “poetic” and that living here is like a beautiful journey as things are constantly changing.
Meanwhile in episode 5, ‘3 Inspiring Stories’, Rocco meets a few inspiring people who through food, have taken a leap of faith, which made a difference in their lives and in the lives of others. This includes the ever flamboyant and outspoken Chef Wan who shares how he used to be mocked for basically doing a woman’s job early on in life.
These candid conversations interspersed with some scrumptious grub – from homecooked dishes, to street food favourites and even fine-dining cuisines – make this a fun, informative and heartwarming watch.
‘David Rocco’s Dolce Southeast Asia’ premieres on National Geographic (Astro Channel 552) on 14th September 2020. New episodes air every Monday at 10pm.