With Roadfood‘s variable release schedule, it can be hard to keep up with just exactly what is going on when. Luckily, Nerds has got you covered. Below, we have descriptions for all episodes of Roadfood season 1, which will air … at some time or another (it’s complicated … long story short, check your local PBS listings!). To see what Roadfood has in store for the season, including the locations that will be featured, all you need to do is look below!
Episode 1 – Houston, TX: Viet-Cajun Crawfish & Beef
Discover a dish that is truly unique to the United States, the Viet-Cajun Crawfish. Relatively new, this Asian-inspired food craze is also a story of Vietnamese refugee immigration. In Houston and along the coast, Vietnamese culture infuses the traditional Texas landscape, bringing together Gulf and Vietnamese influences and ingredients for a delicious Houston original.
Episode 2 – NYC/Little Dominican Republic: Tres Golpes
Little Dominican Republic, located in Washington Heights, is a microcosm of the Dominican community in Manhattan, NY. This community is vibrant and truly alive with Dominican cuisine and culture, with beloved dishes like camarones al horno, chicharrones, tres golpes and mangú
Episode 3 – Rhode Island: Calamari
Ever heard of a state appetizer? Unless you live in Rhode Island, the answer is likely no, as this tiny state is the first — and only — to pursue this particular display of state pride. But the story of the calamari industry in Rhode Island is surprisingly rich, with many layers to bite into.
Episode 4 – Chicago, IL: BBQ
African American influence in Chicago cannot be overstated, stretching from music to food to much more. Jazz and Blues, as well as South Side BBQ — a style of barbeque only found in a handful of restaurants in Chicago — are just a few examples of how African American culture has shaped the Windy City.
Episode 5 – Brownsville, TX
Brownsville, Texas, on the border of Mexico, is where you’ll find some of the best tacos in the U.S., both in variety and quality. It’s also a place where border politics have direct and immediate consequences, and where Elon Musk built a launch site for Space X rockets to Mars. How do tacos reflect such a diverse place?
Episode 6 – Barberton, OH: Serbian Fried Chicken
Booming economic growth and rapid industrialization in the early twentieth century drove immigration from Europe to Ohio, and that immigration brought the now hyper-regional dish of Barberton fried chicken to the area. In fact, derived from the recipe of Serbian immigrants who founded the still-operating Belgrade Gardens restaurant in the 1930s, Serbian fried chicken has become a regional staple.
Episode 7 – Detroit, MI: Collard Greens / Soul
As African Americans migrated from the south up to Detroit, they brought their culture, traditions and cuisine with them. Collard greens, a soul food staple, tells the story of how African Americans have shaped and continue to shape the Motor City, one farm and one restaurant at a time.
Episode 8 – New Bedford, MA: Shrimp Mozambique
New Bedford, MA has a significant Portuguese immigrant population, dating back to the first wave arriving in the 1800’s and the second in the 1960-1970’s. The Portuguese wove their culture and identity into the area, including its cuisine. A star dish is Shrimp Mozambique, a dish also claimed by Cape Verdean immigrants in the area.
Episode 9 – Eastern Shore, VA: Oysters and Crabs
Virginia’s Eastern Shore is one of timeless tradition and continuous environmental change. Discover Tangier Island, a fishing village that is sinking into the ocean, and aquafarmers on the Shore supplying the country with shellfish. Oysters and crabs tell the story of this region that is shaped by change – geographic, climate, cultural and personal.
Episode 10 – Southern Louisiana: Gumbo
Gumbo, originally from Louisiana, came out of the great diversity of cultures that were present in the area at the time. With African roots, the dish has evolved over time, drawing from French, American, Spanish, and Caribbean influences that represent gumbo as a true melting pot of cultures and cuisine.
Episode 11 – Phoenix, AZ: Frybread
For many Indigenous people, frybread is a dish with a complicated and controversial past: it is a symbol of perseverance and pain, but also a part of their culinary story. Now, some tribal members in Arizona are finding that looking back is the best way forward — reconnecting with the foods, traditions and ceremonies that tie them to their ancestors and help their communities thrive.
Episode 12 – Oklahoma/Route 66: The Onion Fried Burger
Invented during the Great Depression as a way to offset the cost of beef, the onion fried burger has become a beloved staple of El Reno, Oklahoma. On Route 66 and known as the Crossroads of America, this small town has big personality, and the restaurants serving this iconic dish have served as the heartbeat of the community through all of the ups and downs.
Episode 13 – Greenville, MS: Tamales
Tamales have a long — and somewhat contested — history in the American South. They are an enduring food of the Mississippi Delta, perhaps hundreds of years old, and are also intricately tied to the Blues born in the region. A unique type, the Hot Tamales, are often served in Blues clubs and sung about in Blues songs, but what exactly is the cultural connection between the music and food?
For those who are unfamiliar, Roadfood: Discovering America One Dish at a Time is one of PBS’ newest ventures in which host Misha Collins travels around the (continental, as far as we know) United States exploring different facets of the melting pot that is America’s culture through food. Collins himself has compared it to Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown — but limited to the states. The show’s first season has 13 episodes — and will hopefully be renewed for a second season considering all of the buzz it’s garnered in such a short time.
Roadfood is currently available on PBS Passport in the USA and Canada. As for live TV? Well, that’s a little more complicated. Check out our article here to see the different options for watching Roadfood. Until more news is released, make sure to peruse Roadfood’s season 1 descriptions above and our other content related to the show here. Additionally, check out Roadfood’s website for behind-the-scenes content and more.