Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey – Nadiya Hussain was born and brought up in Britain but her family is from Bangladesh. In this first programme of two, she makes a surprise discovery about her DNA which sees her travel solo for the first time, exploring the people, places and food of Thailand and Cambodia.
Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey – episode 1 – Thailand and Cambodia
Nadiya’s search for connections in these countries takes her from the world-famous temples of Angkor Wat in the north of Cambodia and to a Muslim island in the deep south of Thailand.
She journeys deep into the waterways of the Tonle Sap, the biggest lake in south east Asia, to visit a floating community and make prahok, a fermented fish paste that’s Cambodia’s staple food. Nadiya uncovers a bakery school in Cambodia training up girls from tough backgrounds in the art of French patisserie to help them get jobs in tourist restaurants and hotels. In a grove of sugar palm trees, Nadiya assists a grandfather in the labour-intensive process of making the buttery, rich sugar that she’s taken for granted as a cooking ingredient all her life.
In Bangkok, one of Thailand’s top chefs inducts Nadiya into his 21st-century take on his country’s centuries-old tradition of eating insects. Together, they create crisps, Nadiya’s favourite snack, made from creepy crawlies. Leaving the bustle of Thailand’s capital behind, Nadiya heads east to Chanthaburi, a town famous for its noodles, on the trail of one the country’s best-known dishes to find out what makes a fantastic pad thai.
Wanting to get more of a picture about where her ancestors might have come from, Nadiya ventures to the tiny island of Koh Sukhorn, and learns how to make a curry paste that’s unique to the Muslim community there from a women-only co-operative.
As her time in the Far East draws to a close, Nadiya reflects on the people, places and food of these countries that she has a DNA connection to, and how far she has come in managing to make such a lengthy foreign trip without any of her family.