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In Taste the Nation, award winning cookbook author, host and executive producer Padma Lakshmi, takes audiences on a journey across America, exploring the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups, seeking out the people who have so heavily shaped what American food is today. From indigenous communities to recent immigrant arrivals, Padma breaks bread with Americans across the nation to uncover the roots and relationship between our food, our humanity and our history – ultimately revealing stories that challenge notions of identity, belonging, and what it means to be American.
S1 Episode 110 ‘Zen and the Art of Poke’
Padma dives into Japanese culture, ubiquitous in Honolulu, to understand just how far their cultural footprint reaches. She slings fish and rolls sushi where a century and a half ago Japanese immigrants first docked on Hawaii’s shores.
S1 Episode 109 ‘The Pad Thai Gamble’
Las Vegas is home to one of the largest groups of Thai immigrants in the country, many of whom were women who came here after marrying American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Padma hears their stories over delicious food – Pad Thai is just the start.
S1 Episode 108 ‘Dancing in Little Lima!’
Peruvian cuisine hasn’t quite had its moment on the American food scene, but Padma knows the power of a great bowl of ceviche. She visits Paterson, New Jersey, a Peruvian enclave, for a deeper look at this vibrant culture.
S1 Episode 107 ‘ The Original Americans’
What is the original American cuisine? Padma travels to Arizona to eat food that is indigenous to this land. She tries some surprising dishes and explores how Native Americans seek to reestablish a connection to the past in order to protect their future.
S1 Episode 106 ‘Where the Kebob is Hot’
Padma tastes her way through Los Angeles, sampling one of her favorite cuisines: Persian food. The community opens up about the misconceptions some Americans have about Iranians, one kebab at a time.
S1 Episode 105 ‘What is Chop Suey Anyway?’
Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the U.S. but the flavors of a vast country have been simplified over time. In San Francisco, Padma explores how Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans are broadening our understanding of this cuisine.
S1 Episode 104 ‘The Gullah Way’
The Gullah Geechee people of South Carolina are fighting to preserve the traditions passed down from their ancestors, West Africans forced into slavery. Padma catches and cracks crab with new friends and old, all working towards reclaiming their heritage.
S1 Episode 103 ‘Don't Mind if I Dosa’
Padma asks family, friends and those she admires how they hold onto Indian culture and pass it to the next generation. In NYC, she cooks the dishes that remind her of her original home and tastes Indian foods near her current home.
S1 Episode 102 ‘The All American Wiener’
Hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels… Many think these foods are quintessentially American, but their origins are actually German. In Milwaukee, Padma meets descendants of early German immigrants who hold onto their heritage by celebrating and reclaiming it.
S1 Episode 101 ‘Burritos at the Border’
El Paso was once part of Mexico. Its border location defines the region’s identity and the complexity of America’s political landscape. Padma eats her way through this border city while discovering the origins of one of America’s most beloved cuisines.
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