Host 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.
Cast: Padma Lakshmi
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.
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 food.
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, N.J.,, a Peruvian enclave, for a deeper look at this vibrant culture.
What is the original American cuisine? Padma travels to Arizona to eat food that is indigenous to this land. She tries some dishes and explores how Native Americans seek to reestablish a connection to the past to protect their future.
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.
Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines in the USA, but the flavors have been simplified over time; in SF, Padma explores how Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans are broadening people's understanding of this cuisine.
The Gullah Geechee 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 friends, all working towards reclaiming their heritage.
Padma asks family, friends and those she admires how they hold onto Indian culture and pass it down 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.
Hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels...many think these foods are quintessentially American, but their original are actually German. In Milwaukee, Padma meets descendants of early German immigrants who hold onto their heritage.
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 the city while discovering the origins of America's most beloved cuisines.