Take Out with Lisa Ling rivals such great food and travel shows as Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. It’s meaningful and relevant.
HBO Max series Take Out with Lisa Ling season 1 was released on the streaming service on January 27, 2022.
For years, the streaming giants have been attempting to attract viewers by making their service the one-stop-shop for entertainment. No longer can you stream only movies, but any series you can think of. Not just dramas and sitcoms. Reality television, docuseries, talk shows, and gams shows. Even travel and cooking shows you can find on the Food Network. While most of these endeavors become exercises in reheated entertainment, somehow, Take Out with Lisa Ling has made the genre feel meaningful and relevant.
The new food and travel docuseries on HBO Max, in the very first episode, finds a fresh historical spin. Take the story of the first settlers in the Bayou. They were from Asia. They were not from China or even Japan. The settlers were from the Philipines. (You’ll notice she buys a snack from the local market, Malyn Shrimp Jerkey). There is a plague commemorating Malina Village. Even created dried shrimp, an ingenious way to keep and eat food before refrigeration. The Manilamen revolutionized the Lousiana shrimping industry.
It’s essential, not to mention fascinating and entertaining. Mainly because its history has never been taught (or hardly so) in the classroom in books, even on a local level, each episode explores culturally competent subjects—even assimilation in colonialism. For instance, a Filipino treat Halo-Halo has influences from local to colonial. This desert has Filipino Jack Fruit, Spanish Flawn, and American Rice Krispies.
Each episode brings a different revelation with cuisine, community, and history. Even more revealing, maybe by Ms. Ling herself. She reveals being shamed as a little girl for being a Chinese American in California. Her grandparents moved to the United States, having advanced degrees, but made a living running their restaurant. While some may know the Chinese’s contribution to creating the Transcontinental railroad, she finds a hidden gem.
Like the town of Locke, a self-sufficient village that once was a thriving community. Locke was made by and for express members of the Chinese community. She reveals the shame she feels now for not wanting to be Chinese growing up and knowing her community’s tremendous contribution, not only to California but the United States as a whole. She uses this to assimilate herself back into her parent’s culture.
Besides Take Out with Lisa Ling’s punk rock music during the opening credits being incongruent with the show and Ling’s narration, is a minor issue. It’s a food and travel show that is comparable to Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. However, Ms. Ling makes it her own by giving us a close-up buffet view of Asian-American contributions to America today is broad yet intimate. In this way, by uncovering Asian influences in America, the series shows how food is family and community.
What do you think of the HBO Max series Take Out with Lisa Ling season 1? Comment below.