When one hovers over Netflix's "Street Food" on its website, a video clip plays featuring a woman who says, "street food is what brings us together, it's where we find a common place. Now it's our time to celebrate it and share it with the rest of the world. "
The docuseries, just released, takes viewers on a detailed tour of the best street food spots in nine Asian cities.
It sounds like a good, appetizing idea --and it is. But director Erik Matti just has one problem with one of its episodes featuring Cebu.
He argued that the dishes the show chose to highlight from the city --"an esoteric eel dish and a goddamn Chinese fried vegetable lumpia"-- are not something one would call "truly Filipino."
"All the other Asian countries had their classic world-renowned street food while we had...bizarre. Bad research. There are hundreds of original Filipino street food," he claimed, before suggesting the Ilocos specialty, the fried empanada, as one.
This did not sit well with some of his followers on social media, whom he had arguments with.
People criticized him for dismissing the dishes, even if they are considered quintessential by Cebuanos.
His retort: "I was really hoping that we at least have chosen something widely regarded by most Filipinos and Cebuanos too as the street food that can represent us."
Matti is part of an upcoming food show by HBO. He was tapped to direct an episode of "Food Lore." which will feature Asian cuisine and the narratives that inspired it.