Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey trip left an odd taste in the mouth

Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey trip left an odd taste in the mouth . . . and it wasn’t the bug crisps: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey 


The revolting sight of Noel Edmonds glugging a snail smoothie on I’m A Celebrity is supposed to be gross-out family entertainment — not sci-fi.

But according to Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussain, that’s what we’ll all be drinking at the end of the world, to wash down a meal of silkworm larvae served with ant caviar.

Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey (BBC1) took us to an haute cuisine restaurant in Thailand, where a swivel-eyed chef called Doomsday Mike prepared ‘meals of the future’ from insects.

Nadiya’s Asian Odyssey took us to a haute cuisine restaurant in Thailand, where a swivel-eyed chef prepared ‘meals of the future’

Munching on a grasshopper, he announced that after Armageddon we’d have no choice but to eat insects: ‘This will be the last source of protein for humans.’ Here’s a nasty thought, Doomsday Mike —with all the nuclear radiation, those cockroaches will be ten feet high . . . and they might eat you.

Gamely, Nadiya showed us how to make crisps with powdered crickets. It wasn’t the most distasteful recipe of her travelogue, not by some distance. 

By accident, Nadiya (whose family came to England from Bangladesh) revealed that authentic South-East Asian food — rather than Westernised versions — may be the least appetising in the world.

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Every meal is flavoured with a fermented fish paste that she described as ‘pungent like blue cheese’ — in other words, it stinks. 

And noodle dishes such as Pad Thai are laden with sugar, which is like sprinkling Silver Spoon over your spaghetti bolognese.

For dessert, there’s a mushy pear called a durian, said to be the world’s smelliest fruit, which reeks so badly it has to be wrapped in plastic even when sold in a street market. Nadiya’s translator said it smelled like a sewer.

Nadiya (pictured with Cambodian palm sugar producer Yorng) showed us how to make crisps with powdered crickets

The whole show left an odd taste in the mouth. We spent the first five minutes watching Nadiya’s three children tearfully telling her how much they didn’t want her to go away for two weeks. 

These days it’s normal to relish the sight of celebs pushed ‘outside their comfort zone’ but it’s disturbing to see this happening to adolescents.

Nadiya spent much of the hour in tears — guilt-ridden at the spectacle of poverty, missing her family and remembering her grandfather in Bangladesh.

When a glimpse of water buffalo started her sobbing, I began to worry that solo travelling isn’t healthy for her. Alan Whicker she’s not. 

The premise for her trip was a DNA test that revealed she has Thai, Cambodian and Nepalese ancestry. 

Nadiya seemed to think this meant she was personally related to everyone she met, and kept thanking them ‘for making me feel like family’.

Battle stations of the night: HMS Duncan’s defences bristled on Warship: Life At Sea (C5) as more than a dozen Russian fighter planes harassed her off the Crimean coast. 

This real-life action sequence was as gripping as any war movie. 

Babies: Their Wonderful World


Shaky science was the basis of Babies: Their Wonderful World (BBC2) as it continued a series of half-baked experiments on tots. 

Parents were asked to sit in front of their six-month-olds and studiously ignore them for two minutes, no matter how much they wept and pleaded for attention. 

It was so unpleasant to watch that I completely missed whatever theory it was supposed to ‘prove’.

Parents were asked to sit in front of their six-month-olds and studiously ignore them for two minutes in another episode of Babies: Their Wonderful World (pictured, Dr Guddi Singh)

Presenter Dr Guddi Singh assured us that such an upsetting experience couldn’t possibly harm the children — they were just babies, after all. But the rest of the show argued the opposite, by claiming that babies even at one week old were surprisingly aware of the world.

And surely no one could trust a word psychologists say, after seeing cruel footage from the Fifties of baby monkeys deprived of all love and physical contact.

The wretched creatures clung to anything for comfort, even scraps of carpet — and these too were taken away from them.

This sadistic, hateful experiment was utterly discredited. What on earth was the point of showing it to us?

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