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Food documentary puts the focus on flavor

By Li Yingxue | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-19 07:52
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A screen shot from the first season of Once Upon A Bite.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Director Chen Xiaoqing has never lost his appetite for making food documentaries, and he still relishes every chance he gets to put Chinese cuisine under the lens, Li Yingxue reports.

Nine months ago, the first season of food documentary Once Upon A Bite was released, attracting nearly 1 billion views on Tencent Video, while notching up a rating of 9.0 out 10 on popular review site Douban.

The eight-episode documentary takes an up-close look at Chinese food and examines its relationship with other forms of international cuisine.

The show's director Chen Xiaoqing, 53, was nervous about the audience feedback ahead of the airing of the first episode. His heart soared when, within 14 hours of its release, the first episode racked up 150 million views online.

But online comments prompted him to tweak the editing mix for the following episodes to reflect the audiences reaction to the opening episode.

"Viewers commented that they want to see more footage of food rather than listen to stories, so we added more scenes of the dishes and cut some storylines," says Chen.

"The quality of the documentary and the reviews it receives do not always match up," says Chen. "Sometimes you just need a bit luck to make a successful documentary."

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