Seeing as our summer hols abroad have been placed on the backburner (aka the amber list), we think it’s time to tee up some travel telly to live through vicariously.
Except, we’ve spiced it up a bit – just like the delicious foods featured in these videos – by suggesting a YouTube show. But to be honest, the quality of these videos is so high you may as well be watching some big budget Netflix production. However, there’s no big team here, nor some celeb presenter making wry comments as they travel round the world, instead its Mark Wiens, his wife and their son, shooting and editing this all by themselves, with the help of a few friends here and there.
The owner of this channel, Mark Wiens and his family are based in Thailand, but spend the majority of their time journeying around the world, making twenty minute videos sharing the cultures of different countries, and more importantly, the food. Over the years, they’ve ventured through Japan, Indonesia, Ghana, Peru and Pakistan (to name just a few), meeting locals and sampling their cuisines. And it makes for fascinating watching – learning the traditional methods of cooking across the globe is as captivating as it is mouth-watering, and Wiens’s wonder at the world gives you second hand joy through your screen.
Because whilst the set-up is essentially an internet version of Anthony Bourdain, Wiens’s character couldn’t be further from Bourdain’s famed pessimism. Instead he appears to be in a near constant state of bliss, particularly after he’s just inhaled a whole chilli pepper as if it were a Werther’s Original. He never seems to tire of meeting new people and seeing new places, and has got to have one of the least fussy palates in the world – seriously, this guy has a stomach of steel.
This is one of those YouTube channels where you half want the creator to land a big deal with a streaming service so that more people can enjoy it, and half wish them to stay online forever, to preserve the intimate feel of the videos. But then again, we’d follow Mark Wiens wherever he goes, ready to tuck into another serving of seriously cheerful content.
We’re not alone, either, with Culture Trip’s Cassam Looch listing Wiens’s channel among his favourites, saying “his love of food and willingness to hurl himself into every challenge is infectious.”
First shown February 2009. You can watch one of Mark Wiens’s most popular videos by pressing the play button on the show image, or by clicking here.