In the first episode of Sik Fan Lah! – a fast-moving documentary series celebrating Chinese New Zealanders through the lens of food – Sam Low describes the show as “a dégustation of modern Kiwi-Chinese life”. I’d say not so much a sedate dégustation but more of a night market of snappy, tasty snacks as hosts zip around the country offering bite-sized helpings of history, culture, identity, heritage, people and lots of food. The series’ hosts include: MasterChef winner Sam Low; Wellington coffee entrepreneurs Natalie and Stephanie Chin; Black Fern Tyla Nathan-Wong; Dunedin’s Royal Albatross Centre educator Janice Chi Fen Huang; meme queen Abigail Masengi and playwright Nathan Joe. At just 23 minutes, there’s a lot to pack into each episode, so Sam whisks us off to a Rotorua takeaway with a secret menu for those in the know, and sees a blend of Māori and Chinese cultures cooking pāua and prawns in a bubbling geothermal pool. Janice chats with the descendants of Dunedin’s first Chinese settlers and learns of the hard-scrabble life of the Otago gold miners, before tucking into claypot chicken rice on the windswept goldfields. Then she meets Jing Song who makes award-winning pinot noir in the Bendigo hills and who cooks up a bubbling Szechuan hotpot served with wine from a teapot. The diversity of the kai reflects the variation of what it means to be Asian in New Zealand and the show admirably covers the spectrum of experiences. As Sam says of the pāua steamed in pungent Rotoroa vapour, “You can’t make it anywhere else but right here.” TRACY WHITMEY