Here’s a novelty: a food show that’s not about cooking, or some condescending, egotistical, white male spatula-swinger. HBO Asia’s Food Lore is an unorthodox anthology drama series examining relationships as they are shaped by the uniting, divisive, heartening, saddening and even politically charged presence of what we eat. Eight hour-long episodes visit eight Asian countries, with narrative styles shifting: “Tamarind” (Singapore’s “entry”) follows a struggling single parent trying to earn a crust from his hawker-centre stall. Life for him starts looking up when he meets a disillusioned French chef labouring in her famous chef father’s shadow. In “Island of Dreams”, we meet Nieves, a relative big shot returning from the Philippine capital, Manila, to her home island for a fiesta and taking a ferry, on which she eats a doughnut that could double as a lifebelt. Alternating parts of the story are narrated by Nieves – a domestic helper – as she looks back on her tough childhood. “I grew up hungry,” she says, having ironically earned her pittance selling sticky desserts on the street. “You’re bound to starve in a brood of five.” Meanwhile, India’s offering, “A Plate of Moon”, shows the power of a favourite dish in mentally transporting an elderly victim of Alzheimer’s disease back to a place of joy – although the cook herself, deflated and betrayed by circumstance, cannot share in his happiness. Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia provide the other settings for a sensuous, multi-flavoured meditation on the influence of something none of us can do without. Food Lore is Singapore filmmaker Eric Khoo’s progeny and can be sampled at 10pm on Sundays on HBO GO and HBO. A second helping of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories And for an extra helping of home-grown wisdom, drop in on the Master (Kaoru Kobayashi) at his cosy, unassuming izakaya in Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories (Netflix). In series two, now streaming, a Shinjuku back alley again becomes “soul food” central from midnight to 7am as a wildly disparate parade of clients finds a little dose of magic entering their lives. With the Master serving as unofficial confessor as he cooks, while listening to their hopes, regrets, ambitions and anxieties, the writer and the club hostess, the video game designer, the retired schoolteacher, the model, the businessman and more find the off-menu specials of solace and sound advice as comforting as the chicken fried rice and kitsune udon. The faces may change and the problems multiply, but kindness and understanding remain reliable ingredients. Netflix documentary follows Maradona as he tries to save an ailing football club in Mexico An entirely different world view is guaranteed by Maradona in Mexico , a Netflix documentary in which arguably the finest footballer ever to play the beautiful game goes to Culiacán, the drug-ravaged, gang-infested stronghold of the Sinaloa Cartel. Irascible Maradona, owner of the self-proclaimed hand of god; Maradona, the ex-cocaine addict with alleged former ties to the Neapolitan Mafia. What could possibly go wrong? Not as much as expected. Despite an undistinguished managerial record after his retirement from playing, Maradona’s brief is to resuscitate the ailing Dorados de Sinaloa football club, in the second division’s depths when he arrives. Can the Culiacán coup result in the unthinkable and promotion to the top flight? Maradona long ago became a one-man soap opera, a rebellious, vulnerable, passionate and contradictory polariser of opinion with more baggage than an ocean liner, but he also remains a genuine star who inspires instant devotion. That’s the stadium-transcending quality the club president banks on throughout this revelatory seven-part series: will Maradona save the club? And will the club save El Diego? A football series that’s not really about the sport – another novelty – featuring a divinely gifted player now as streamlined as a Teletubby: essential viewing.