Why Hunger on Netflix should be your next movie – and 5 more foodie thrillers

Hunger image, showing Aoy placing a lobster tail on a plate delicately
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix continues to broaden its menu of dramas focused on ultra-fine-dining culture with the launch of Hunger. A new Netflix movie for 2023, this tense Thai film premiered on the streaming service on April 8, and is a great choice if you're looking for something thoughtful to watch. 

It follows a young chef called Aoy (a quietly amazing performance by Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying), who we first encounter working in her family’s noodle restaurant in Thailand. Aoy is soon invited to join an elite fine-dining kitchen called Hunger, swapping traditional stir-fry noodle dishes with wafer-thin slices of wagyu. The story follows her through a rollercoaster ride of emotions centering on her own ambitions, as well as on the class divide between the people she's cooking for and the community she's come from.

In the middle of it all is Chef Paul (Nopachai Chaiyanam, who perfectly portrays a man who might just be too intense, or might be quite unhinged, as a real human), who swings between being a champion and a mentor to Aoy, and her most brutal antagonist. He builds her up when he wants to; he breaks her down when he feels like it. Is he doing it with a purpose, or is he barely in control?

Either way, he unlocks the hunger within her, which is what the title really refers to – the overpowering desire to be someone 'special'. The story that follows is a bit meandering, but maybe it needs to be in order to cover as much social commentary ground as it does, touching on what makes people crave success; who exactly wants to pay for astronomically priced private dining experiences, and why; and the amorality that people allow to creep in if it lets them hold onto success.

This array of themes don't come together in some satisfying crescendo, so Hunger may not make it onto our list of the best Netflix movies overall, but there's still a ton of interesting and enjoyable stuff happening in the course of Aoy's journey, and in the two central performances. Chuengcharoensukying plays Aoy as quite detached and repressed initially, but keep and eye on her body language and posture as the film goes on – she's communicating so much even in how she holds herself over a wok.

It's also a gorgeous film, full of moody lighting on expressive faces… but mostly some truly incredible shots of food being flash-fried in slow motion. If you've got one of the best TVs around and want to give it the chance to show off, this film will do it.

And if you've seen Hunger, and are feeling, well, hungry for more, here are five more foodie dramas that mix fine-dining and superstar chef culture with thrills and dark humor.

The Menu

Where to watch: HBO Max and Disney Plus

Much like Hunger, this film is obsessed with class, and at the center of it all is a mysterious chef with a once-in-a-lifetime menu – but The Menu is dark comedy with moments of horror, compared to the more conventional drama of Hunger. The plot follows the events of an extravagant dinner at a restaurant on a private island, with a group of entitled guests ranging from movie stars to stockbrokers to food critics.

A young couple (played by Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult) who are part of the exclusive guest list soon realize that the lavish menu includes some shocking surprises. The horror that ensues is a satirical take on the ‘experiential’ dining industry, and the high-society types that flock to it. 

Available to stream on HBO Max in the US as well as Disney Plus in the UK and Australia.

The Bear 

Where to watch: Hulu and Disney Plus 

Cries of “Yes, chef!” also abound in the high-intensity kitchen setting of The Bear. The eight-part series tells the story of a young fine-dining chef called Carmy (played by Jeremy Allen White), who returns to Chicago to run his family’s sandwich joint.

While you wouldn’t expect making steak sandwiches to involve that much tense yelling and shouting, you get a lot of that in The Bear as the chain-smoking, frazzled Carmy fights to transform the shop and leave his mark on the family business.         

Available to stream Hulu in the US as well as Disney Plus in the UK and Australia.

Boiling Point

Where to watch: Roku, Netflix and Amazon Prime 

What stands out about this 90-minute film is the fact that it’s shot in a single, incredible take. Directed by Philip Barantini, Boiling Point totally immerses you – head-first, it sometimes feels like – into the buzzy world of an East London restaurant. 

The story centers on head chef Andy Jones (played by Stephen Graham) who is in the middle of a hectic dinner service during the Christmas holidays at the restaurant Jones & Sons. It doesn’t need extra high-concept thrills when you’re following everything in one totally unbroken shot – and apparently, it’s really is one shot too, without any digital stitching.

Available to stream on Roku in the US, Netflix in the UK and Amazon Prime in Australia.


Where to watch: Netflix

One of the most interesting aspects of this movie is its real-world connection to celebrity chefs, with the likes of Marcus Wareing consulting on dishes and Gordon Ramsey executive-producing. 

Burnt follows the comeback journey of a chef called Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper), who's determined to redeem himself by taking over a flagging restaurant at the Langham Hotel and earning three Michelin stars. Adam gets his old kitchen team back together in the manner of a heist movie, and goes on to tackle the culinary competition in scenes similar to a training montage sequence.     

Available to stream on Netflix in the UK and US. In Australia, there are currently no streaming services showing the film.


Where to watch: Netflix 

Director Bong Joon-ho is known for his satirical, dark-comedy spin in movies such as Snowpiercer and Parasite. Okja is no different, examining corporate culture through the lens of animal activism, in particular around the food industry. We previously named it as one of the 10 best Netflix Original movies in 2020.

The 120-minute film tells the story of a young girl named Mija (played by Ahn Seo-hyun) who is separated from her beloved friend Okja, a genetically engineered super-piglet destined to be the potential solution to world hunger. Mija’s struggle to rescue her pig from being made into pork steak is a heartwarming tale that pulls at the heart strings as much as it makes you reflect on the horrors of industrial animal exploitation.

Available to stream on Netflix worldwide.

Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.

With contributions from