FOOD LORE, an eight-episode series from HBO Asia, explores human emotions with narratives inspired by Asian cuisines. Shot from the perspective of eight different storytellers, each episode takes an alternative approach to showcasing the tales and taste of Asia through drama, satire, and comedy. FOOD LORE will be available to U.S. subscribers MONDAY, MARCH 2 on HBO NOW ®, HBO GO ®, and partner streaming platforms.
Introduced by award-winning Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo (“Ramen Shop,” “12 Storeys”), the series is filmed in several different countries including India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
These diverse stories are directed by some of Asia’s most accomplished filmmakers such as Erik Matti (the Philippines), Phan Dang Di (Vietnam), Billy Christian (Indonesia), Don Aravind (Singapore), Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Thailand), Takumi Saitoh (Japan), and Ho Yuhang (Malaysia).
Dig in and join these filmmakers on an emotional journey as they explore several stories displaying how food brings people together and inspires us to take risks. Feel a sense of connectivity and celebrate what it means to live through anecdotes of love, passion, and memories of Asia.
Produced by Singapore-based company Bert Pictures and in partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore, FOOD LORE is the latest programming made available to U.S. subscribers from HBO’s international partners, and joins “The Teenage Psychic” and “Folklore” from HBO Asia and “Beforeigners” and “The Pioneer” from HBO Europe, which are available to stream now.
Episode 1 – FOOD LORE: Island of Dreams
Description: Dreaming of a brighter future for her family, Nieves leaves her husband and children to work as a domestic helper in Manila. Returning home for the annual fiesta, Nieves soon realizes that she may have grown estranged from her beloved family as her jubilant homecoming takes an unexpected turn.
Cast: Angeli Bayani, John Marvin C. Nieto, Irina Guillen Feleo
Directed by Erik Matti.
Set and filmed in the Philippines.
Episode 2 – FOOD LORE: He Serves Fish, She Eats Flower
Description: Set in Ho Chi Minh City, a charismatic Japanese chef, Thang, woos a beautiful stewardess with a special tofu dessert and wins her heart. They begin a whirlwind romance but soon discover their irreconcilable differences about food and love. In his desperation, Thang attempts one last culinary experiment to keep her in his life.
Cast: Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, Lanh Thanh
Directed by Phan Dang Di.
Set and filmed in Vietnam.
Episode 3 – FOOD LORE: Maria’s Secret Recipe
Description: When a mysterious woman, Maria, arrives on the shores of a small traditional Indonesian village to set up her food stall, the men are mesmerized by her sumptuous cooking and sensuality – much to their wives’ dismay. In a desperate attempt to satisfy her husband, a lonely wife, Ratih, approaches Maria for her secret recipe. What can Maria teach her about her exquisite creations and importantly, who is Maria?
Cast: Putri Ayudya, Alexandra Gottardo, Dian Sidik
Directed by Billy Christian.
Set and filmed in Indonesia.
Episode 4 – FOOD LORE: A Plate of Moon
Description: Anbu, a reluctant young domestic helper from India, has been hired to care for Raja, an elderly man in Singapore suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Amidst their struggles and differences, they bond over food, love, and memories. Just when all seems to be going well, an unexpected piece of news sends Anbu’s world unravelling again.
Cast: Magalakshmi D/O Sudarsanan, Jaivant Viknesh N, A. Panneeirchelvam
Directed by Don Aravind.
Set and filmed in India and Singapore.
Episode 5 – FOOD LORE: The Caterer
Description: An arrogant American actor arrives in Thailand for the first time to star in a horror film. Disgusted by the exotic Thai cuisine served, he sticks to what he knows best: burgers and donuts. Everything changes when he tastes the soup cooked by the production caterer.
Cast: Thanyarat Praditthaen, Thomas Burton van Blarcom, Marisa Kittelberger
Directed by: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.
Set and filmed in Thailand.
Note: This episode shares the same main cast as the HBO Asia Original “FOLKLORE: POB” and tells the story of what goes on behind the scenes.
Episode 6 – FOOD LORE: Tamarind
Description: French chef, Julie, who is new in Singapore, seeks the help of Irfan, a struggling Malay hawker to create a new fusion dish. As their worlds collide, a friendship brews between them as they work together on an exploration of food, flavour and feelings.
Cast: Firdaus Bin Abdul Rahman, Valentine Payen, Dayang Nurbalqis
Directed by Eric Khoo.
Set and filmed in Singapore.
Episode 7 – FOOD LORE: Life in a Box
Description: An uninspired picture book author. A recent widower and his teenage daughter. An elderly retired wrestler. Their lonely paths intersect during a quiet train ride away from busy Tokyo as the group revisits memories long forgotten and rediscovers hope on their journey of nostalgia, memory and love.
Cast: Ken Yasuda, Asuka Kawatoko, Akihisa Mera, Yuko Ando, Chieko Matsubara
Directed by Takumi Saitoh.
Set and filmed in Japan.
Episode 8 – FOOD LORE: Stray Dogs
Description: An ambitious young businessman, Tim, hopes to start a restaurant franchise with the bad-tempered, yet genius chef, Maki, in Kuala Lumpur. The grouchy chef rejects Tim, but they gradually form an unlikely friendship. When Tim discovers Maki’s secret sambal recipe, he is torn between his desire to sell the recipe and his loyalty to his friend.
Cast: Wilson Tin, Fabian Loo
Directed by Ho Yuhang.
Set and filmed in Malaysia.