A BRAND new HBO Asia Original anthology drama series, Food Lore, will premiere Sunday, 3 November 2019 at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO (Astro Ch 411 and 431 HD). The eight-episode hour-long series explores human conditions with narratives inspired by Asian cuisines.

Helmed by award-winning Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo, the series is shot in eight countries across Asia – India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and directed by some of Asia’s most talented storytellers including Erik Matti from the Philippines, Phan Dang Di from Vietnam, Billy Christian from Indonesia, Don Aravind from Singapore, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang from Thailand, Takumi Saitoh from Japan and Ho Yuhang from Malaysia.

Like a favourite dish from home, each story is a flavour of love and set to tease the senses. Viewers will be taken on an emotional journey filled with passion, treasured memories and a little spice of Asia. Each episode possesses a distinct voice, tone, and narrative.

The first two episodes, the Vietnam episode, Food Lore: He Serves Fish, She Eats Flower, and the Philippines episode, Food Lore: Island of Dreams, will make its world debut at this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) on 30 October and 31 October respectively. TIFF started in 1985 as Japan’s first major film festival and since has grown to become one of the leading film festivals in Asia.

Premiering at Singapore International Film Festival later on 24 November, the India episode, Food Lore: A Plate of Moon, will also be making a world debut. This is the first time an HBO Asia Original will be presented at either festival. 

Episode 1 – FOOD LORE: Island of Dreams
Debut: Sunday, 3 November at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO 

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 realises 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
Debut: Sunday, 10 November at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

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
Debut: Sunday, 17 November at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

When a mysterious woman, Maria, arrives on the shores of a small traditional Indonesian village to set up her food stall, the men are mesmerised 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 
Debut: Sunday, 24 November at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

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
Debut: Sunday, 1 December at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

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
Debut: Sunday, 8 December at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

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
Debut: Sunday, 15 December at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

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
Debut: Sunday, 22 December at 10pm on HBO GO and HBO

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.

Food Lore, is produced by Singapore-based company Bert Pictures and part of a two-year partnership with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore. Through a series of workshops and collaborations with local companies and talent on HBO Asia Original productions, the partnership aims to develop the content production capabilities of Singapore’s media industry.

HBO Asia started producing Original productions in 2012 and has produced a range of Asian Original productions including series, movies and documentaries. To date, HBO Asia has produced and aired 18 Asian Original productions with more in the pipeline.


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