Over the years, Netflix has become a global platform for storytelling, providing a diverse array of content that transcends geographical boundaries. Asian stories, in particular, have found a significant place on the streaming giant, offering viewers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of cultures and stories from the continent.
Last year, BEEF took over the internet upon release. This year, we begin the new year with The Brothers Sun, starring Michelle Yeoh. So, we curated a list of essential Asian stories just for you.
Whether exploring the complexities of Korean family dynamics, the culinary heritage of Japan, or the dark underbelly of the Taiwanese criminal world, these series promise an enriching and binge-worthy experience for viewers around the globe.
Here are five essential series that tell compelling Asian stories and are perfect for a binge-watching session on Netflix.
Five essential Asian series to binge on Netflix this weekend:
Based on a webtoon by Joo Young-hyun, Summer Strike is a South Korean drama. It tells the story of a young woman, Yeo-reum, who decides to move to a small village after getting dumped by her boyfriend and losing her mother in an accident. Her goal? To do nothing.
This slice-of-life series, written and directed by Lee Yoon-jung and Hong Moon-pyo, explores simple living far away from the hustle of cities and high-flying careers that often take us away from living and enjoying life as it was meant to be.
The Brothers Sun
Created by Brad Falchuk and Byron Wu, The Brothers Sun arrived on Netflix in the first week of January 2024. The story follows the Sun family, who rule one of the notorious Taiwanese Triads, Jade Dragons. Bruce Sun’s ordinary Californian life takes an unexpected turn when his older brother, Charles Sun, arrives from Taipei.
Unaware of his family’s past, Bruce discovers his family’s criminal background as prominent gangsters. The series stars Michelle Yeoh as Mama Sun, Justin Chien as Charles, and Sam Song Li as Bruce.
The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House
For fans of culinary delights and Japanese culture, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House is a delectable treat. This series follows the journey of a talented young chef, Kiyo, who moves to Kyoto along with her friend Sumire with dreams of becoming a geisha.
The Makanai not only showcases mouth-watering dishes but also delves into the cultural heritage of maikos (apprentice geisha) and geikos (another term for geisha).
BEEF, the American comedy-drama limited series by Korean director Lee Sung Jin, stars Steven Yeun and Ali Wong in a feud stemming from a road rage incident. As things snowball into a raging storm, Yeun and Wong deliver powerhouse performances. The ten-episode series also has terrific writing and direction.
The 13-time Emmy-nominated show is fun, sharp, and yet deeply philosophical. This dish will leave you wanting more.
No list of essential Asian series on Netflix would be complete without mentioning the global phenomenon that is Squid Game. Hailing from South Korea, this dystopian thriller has taken the world by storm, earning praise for its sharp social commentary and intense storytelling.
Squid Game follows a group of contestants as they participate in deadly games to win a massive cash prize.