The Top 10 Food Podcasts of 2020

The Top 10 Food Podcasts of 2020
Prep better while listening to some interesting food podcasts,

In a year that sent us all marching into the kitchens banging our thalis, food podcasts came into their own. Here are our top ten.

Prannay Pathak
December 13 , 2020
12 Min Read

If you’re a gastronomy aficionado, the prospect of listening to a food podcast could be quite counterintuitive at first. Isn’t food supposed to appeal to every sense but hearing? Well, right, but doesn’t hearing food being discussed make your mouth water?

In a year when everybody turned to cooking at home, podcasts came in handy. From virtual food crawls, histories of spices and sauces and the secret behind the popularity of breakfast cereal, to BTS grabs from the who’s who of the food industry and traveling for food—there was something for everyone. We scoured the world of food podcasts to bring you 10 of the best this year from around the world.

Read: The Michelin Star Town of Germany

The Sporkful

 
 
 
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Dan Pashman, the host of this informative series, insists his podcast is for eaters and not foodies, indicating that it aims to de-aggrandize haute cuisine and see it more as a real experience—in order to learn more about people, including reluctant butchers, the enslaved man who taught whiskey-making to Jack Daniel, and a writer who finds his characters through food. Pashman’s hosts include writer Osayi Endolyn, comedian-author Samantha Irby, restaurateurs Guy Fieri and David Chang among others. Listen here.

Read: Breakfast Around the World: Asia Edition

Gastropod
Why did carrots turn orange? Find out on the Gastropod podcast
Hosted by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley, this series looks at niche topics ranging from nutrition science, the history and cultural antecedents of ingredients to developments in the food industry and food farming techniques. Want to know why the watermelon became a racist fruit or what farming could look like in space or how the carrot turned orange? Tap.

Home Cooking
Home Cooking helps you figure out the million-dollar question of what to cook
An immensely engaging pod that outlived its original four-part lifespan navigates the never-ending quarantine quandary of what to cook (while you're at it, check out our list of quarantine cookbooks). Home Cooking, which you can listen to here, is hosted by Samin Nosrat of Salt, Acid, Fat, Heat (cookbook and Netflix show) fame and Song Exploder anchor Hrishikesh Hirway. Weekly guests have included actor Jason Mantzoukas, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, British chef and TV personality Nadiya Hussain, cultural critic Wesley Morris—apart from recurring appearances by Hirway’s dad, ‘food scientist’ Sumesh Uncle. By the way, you can also send your queries in.

Read: Alaska Cocktail: An Unbreached Last Frontier

Spilled Milk

 
 
 
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Not much into solemnity around food? Hosts Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg take listeners on journeys about food and the common ingredients we use in our cooking. The show’s light-hearted and fun tone is one of the reasons why it has run for so long—it’s been a decade since the first episode aired. And they’ve discussed pretty much everything under the sun, from kale chips, pretzels, kohlrabi, Worcestershire Sauce, and mug cakes to Shrimp Cocktail, Korean BBQ, to Miso. Check out the hilarious episode on Danish junk food that aired in 2016 and listen to the podcast here.

Read: How to Make the Perfect Smoked Pork with Akhuni

Point of Origin
Point of Origin highlights the stories of women and that of minority communities
As the name suggests, this podcast has Whetstone co-founder Stephen Satterfield travelling to different countries and cultures to look into the history and present of their food. At the heart of the Point of Origin series is the desire to place women and members of minority communities in the limelight. Discover the unique stories of ingredients like never before—from the origins of turmeric in India, Arak in Palestine, frejon in Lagos, earthenware cooking in Japan and indigenous foodways among American natives and the Nordic countries—here.

Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster

 
 
 
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This peppy English podcast has featured in quite a few lists and for good reason. Hosts Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite guests to choose their favourites—starter, main course, side, dessert and drink—to come up with a unique ‘dream’ meal. Guests include the likes of Hari Kondabolu, Teri Hatcher, Kumail Nanjiani, Diane Morgan. Perfect for the commute back home. Play it here.

Read: 5 Podcasts that Talk About Your Favourite TV Shows

The Dish
Tommo and Megsy, hosts of The Dish podcast
A food podcast in the manner of a travel show, The Dish by gourmands and writers Tommo and Megsy answers all your questions on the world’s most iconic foods and recipes. Want to know what to eat in Mongolia and Lithuania? Need a feel of wine tours in Georgia? You will get it on The Dish—along with special snippets on naan bread, the Vietnamese Bánh mì sandwich, fajitas and the origins of dishes such as fish and chips and French fries, kimchi and Georgian khachapuri. Bite into it here.

Read: Food Trends That Will Define the New Normal

The Splendid Table

 
 
 
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Another really long-running series that grew out of a radio program that is now 25 years old, The Splendid Table brings invigorating conversations around food from around the globe. The series, hosted by acclaimed journalist Francis Lam, goes beyond the immediate perception, for instance when it explores authentic Japanese home cooking or Italian holiday fare, or dives into the cuisines of Thailand, Haiti, the Black Sea and Milwaukee. The podcast also features conversations with Madhur Jaffrey, Mike Solomonov, Sean Brock and Diana Henry—food science writer Harold McGee being the most recent guest. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Take a Bao
Dive into Malaysia's kopitiam culture with the Take a Bao podcast
Host Loh Yi Jun should indeed take a bow for the kind of dialogue he has opened up around Asian food on this series that began only in March this year when we in India went into lockdown. In ten episodes so far, the deeply informative podcast has delved into the history of rice, Malaysia’s traditional coffee houses, stories about kueh, the phenomenon of Dalgona coffee, tea and its prevalence in Asia, refugee food and a lot more. The next time you feel like ordering Asian or whipping up some Dalgona, just Take a Bao instead. Here.

The Real Food Podcast
Most of the food podcasts we have covered in this list talk about Indian cuisines at some point, but if you’re looking for a comprehensive series dedicated to gastronomies and other related cultural developments in India, this is it.

 
 
 
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Host Vikram Doctor looks at eating experiences as part of daily life, from Amul’s dairy products, Marie biscuits, the Alphonso mango to gur and chivda. The best thing about TRFP is its inclusion of technological developments and cultural phenomena in the ambit of collective gastronomy. We loved this episode on the connect between India’s hill stations and its sweet tooth.


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