21 food documentaries on Netflix you should binge-watch this weekend

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We live in an golden era of food films, visually stunning buffets of information. There are movies for every interest, from those that tackle tough issues of our time like food sustainability and childhood obesity to films that dive deep into the histories of beloved dishes. Others offer up-close looks behind the scenes with some of the best chefs in the world or into the highly intricate world of wine.

And now, thanks to streaming services, they're available with just a click of a button; you can watch them anywhere, anytime, and wearing pants is not required.

We sorted through the cornucopia of food documentaries available on Netflix and narrowed it down to the 21 movies you must watch, separated by what kind of information you might be craving. And before you bust out the popcorn, we've paired each film with a snack that'll take your viewing experience to a whole new delicious level.

For history buffs and knowledge fiends

Source: YouTube

1. The Search for General Tso

If you've ever looked a Chinese takeout menu and wondered, "Who is General Tso and why does everyone love his chicken dish so much?," this documentary is for you. The film takes a look at the somewhat dubious origin story of the popular sweet-and-spicy fried chicken dish, the rise of American-Chinese food and whether not the general was a real person. It will definitely have you craving what you see on-screen, so maybe plan to order in.

Pair with: Chinese take-out, duh. Preferably General Tso's Chicken and some spring rolls.

2. Cooked

Acclaimed food writer Michael Pollan transformed his popular book Cooked into a four-part docu-series. The skillfully shot series includes appearances from instant noodle scientists, cheese-making nuns and even grandmas from the Australian outback. Pollan also spends a good chunk of time making a killer loaf of sourdough bread that will definitely inspire you to make your own.

Pair with: Sourdough toast.

3. Sushi: The Global Catch

If you're a sushi enthusiast who'd rather live in ignorance than know where your fish comes from, definitely don't watch this documentary. Sushi's popularity has exploded globally, which is great for everyone's taste buds, but not the best for the environment. The film takes a look at the effect of the sushi boom and the fishing industry and will make you want to switch to avocado maki rolls for a while.

Pair with: Avocado rolls and miso soup.

4. The Irish Pub

This documentary explores the concept of the pub, a storied institution in Ireland. Filmmaker Alex Fegan takes a deep dive into the history of Irish pubs and momentous occasions that took place within their walls by gathering stories from bar owners from across the country. The documentary serves as a history lesson on both the popular watering hole and Ireland as a country.

Pair with: A pint of Guinness and fish and chips.

For health nuts

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1. Fed Up

Filmmakers Stephanie Soechtig and Laurie Lennard (who's also behind the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth) tune way in to America's sugar problem, particularly the amount that adds up in kids' meals. It's an eye-opening look at the role of sugar industry lobbyists during the rise of childhood obesity in the U.S. News anchor Katie Couric serves as narrator and co-producer.

Pair with: A crudité platter.

2. Food, Inc.

This Oscar-nominated documentary is perfect for those who want to better understand the impact of food as a giant, commercialized industry. While it isn't the only documentary on Netflix to focus on such topics, it's done in a very authoritative manner that will definitely stick with you. Food, Inc. won't give you warm-fuzzies inside, but it will make you a more enlightened consumer.

Pair with: Organic fruit bowl.

3. Hungry for a Change

If you ever needed motivation to stick to your resolution to eat healthier, turn on this documentary. It reveals the secrets that the diet, weight loss and food industries are keeping from consumers to get them hooked to their products and programs. The filmmakers called upon a number of nutrition and food experts, including Dr. Alejandro Junger and chef Jamie Oliver, to explore the dirty details.

Pair with: Kale salad.

4. Super Size Me

Super Size Me, one of the most famous food documentaries of all time, follows TV show host Morgan Spurlock as he attempts to live off of just McDonald's for one full month. Unsurprisingly, his health changes dramatically and his vegan girlfriend is definitely not lovin' it. McDonald's enthusiasts might not love the documentary either.

Pair with: Burger King. (Or a homemade Big Mac. Or just, like, a plain potato.)

5. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

It's possible the juicing trend can be traced back to this 2010 documentary. It follows Joe Cross, an overweight man suffering from an autoimmune disease, as he tries to heal himself by only consuming fresh fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days. He does this while driving across the U.S. The movie might not convince you to turn to a life of juicing, but it might make you feel better about paying $11 for that morning elixir.

Pair with: A big green juice.

6. Forks Over Knives

This movie might convince even the staunchest of carnivores to adopt a more animal-compassionate diet. Physician Caldwell Esselstyn and professor T. Colin Campbell spend the film offering up a number of relatively convincing arguments about how disease and obesity can be treated with a plant-based diet — all while managing to stay away from being preachy. The film definitely doesn't oversimplify the science, so be prepared to put your thinking cap on.

Pair with: A tofu and veggie stir fry.

7. Soul Food Junkies

Soul food — which includes dishes like mac and cheese, fried chicken and collard greens — has a reputation for being delicious, but also unhealthy. Filmmaker Byron Hurt, who grew up in Georgia, decided to take a look at how a diet heavy on salt and fat can have impact a person's health. Hurt opens up about the death of his father who passed away from pancreatic cancer, which he believes was brought on his father's diet. The film also takes a look at a new generation of chefs hoping to give soul food a healthy makeover.

Pair with: A lightened-up macaroni and cheese.

For food-porn addicts

Source: YouTube

1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

If you haven't seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, skip everything else on the list and watch this documentary first. The film, which follows the now 90-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, has quickly become a modern day classic, thanks, in part, to its gorgeous cinematography. The slow motion and close-up shots of Ono's skilled sushi making will make you question why you ever bought those grocery store California rolls. The imagery will also make you want to buy a one-way ticket to Japan to dine at Ono's restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, which is located inside of a Tokyo subway station.

Pair with: Good sashimi.

2. Chef's Table

While Chef's Table isn't technically a documentary, the Netflix series should be required watching for anyone who loves food. The series, which will release its third season in September 2016, is directed by David Gelb of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame, so expect plenty of stunning visuals. Each episode profiles a renowned chef from around the world including Massimo Bottura (whose restaurant was ranked the best in the world this year), Enrique Olvera and Dominique Crenn.

Pair with: The prettiest dish you know how to make.

3. For Grace

Owning a renowned restaurant can look like a beautiful life on the outside. How challenging can life really be when you live your live surrounded by stunning plates of food? For Grace, which follows chef Curtis Duffy as he builds his ambitious Chicago restaurant reveals a whole new side of the story. The very personal documentary examines just how much Duffy had to sacrifice and overcome in his personal life to achieve his professional dreams. Definitely keep a box of tissues handy when watching.

Pair with: Deep dish pizza and Chicago-style dogs.

RELATED: The history of Netflix

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An exterior view of Netflix headquarters is shown in Los Gatos, Calif., Friday, July 21, 2006. Netflix earnings report will be released after the bell. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings holds up two of their most popular DVD rentals "The Perfect Storm" and "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" at their distribution plant in San Jose, Calif., Monday, Sept. 10, 2001. Online DVD rental company Netflix is emerging as one of the Internet's rising stars that has attracted a cast of 300,000 subscribers who pay a $19.95 monthly fee to get up to three DVD rentals mailed to them. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
400303 03: Ready-to-be-shipped DVDs roll down an assembly line January 29, 2002 in San Jose, CA. The online DVD rental site Netflix.com has 500,000 subscribers who can rent, receive and return unlimited discs per month by mail. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
400303 01: Netflix.com Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings holds a ready-to-be-shipped DVD January 29, 2002 in San Jose, CA. The online DVD rental site has 500,000 subscribers who can rent, receive and return unlimited discs per month by mail. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
400303 05: Packages of DVDs await shipment at the Netflix.com headquarters January 29, 2002 in San Jose, CA. The online DVD rental site has 500,000 subscribers who can rent, receive and return unlimited discs per month by mail. (Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
**FILE** Netflix customer Carleen Ho holds up DVD movies, "Talladega Nights" and "Pirates of the Caribbean' that she rented from Netflix, at her home in Palo Alto, Calif., in this Jan. 24, 2007 file photo. Netflix is expected to release quarterly earnings on Monday, July 23, 2007. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
Close up of the Netflix's new set top box at Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2008. Netflix Inc. on Tuesday will introduce its first solution for subscribers who want entertainment delivered directly to their television sets with just a few clicks on a remote control. The breakthrough comes in the form of 5-inch-by-5-inch device tailored for a year-old service that uses high-speed Interneet connections to stream more than 10,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix's library. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings shows off their new set top box at Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., Friday, May 16, 2008. Netflix Inc. on Tuesday will introduce its first solution for subscribers who want entertainment delivered directly to their television sets with just a few clicks on a remote control. The breakthrough comes in the form of 5-inch-by-5-inch device tailored for a year-old service that uses high-speed Interneet connections to stream more than 10,000 movies and TV shows from Netflix's library. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Actress Teri Hatcher, second from left, and actor James Denton, right, perform together with the celebrity cover band "Band From TV" at the "Netflix Live! on Location" concert and screening series at Griffith Park in Los Angeles on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008. (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
FILE - In this July 20, 2010 file photo, a Netflix subscriber turns on Netflix in Palo Alto, Calif. Netflix's streaming-video audience of more than 20 million subscribers has led many to label it a kind of digital TV network, and one that may grow into an HBO rival _ if it's not already. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
Actor Steven Van Zandt and wife Maureen Van Zandt attend the premiere of a Netflix original series "Lilyhammer" at the Crosby Street Hotel on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos and wife Nicole Avant attend the TIME 100 Gala celebrating the "100 Most Influential People in the World" at Jazz at Lincoln Center on Tuesday April 23, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Taylor Schilling, left, Cindy Holland and Piper Kerman attend the premiere of the Netflix original series "Orange is the New Black" on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
A general view of atmosphere seen at the Netflix Emmy Party, on Sunday, Sep, 22, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey and Cindy Holland, Netflix VP of original content seen at Netflix 'House of Cards' Los Angeles Season 2 Special Screening, on Thursday, Feb, 13, 2014 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Ricky Gervais and Conan O'Brien seen at Netflix 'Derek' Season 2 Academy screening at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on Tuesday, May 28, 2014, in North Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
The cast at a Special Fan Screening of Netflix's "Hemlock Grove" held at The Arclight Theater on Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Laverne Cox at Netflix's FYC "Orange is the New Black" Emmy Panel on Monday, August 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix seen at the Netflix Celebration of 2014 TIFF on Sunday, Sep. 7, 2014, in Toronto. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Actress Jacinda Barrett attends the Netflix original series premiere of "Bloodline" at the SVA Theatre on Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR LG ELECTRONICS - Matt Lloyd, director of photography for Marvel’s “Daredevil," explains how OLED technology helps deliver his creative vision to audiences at LG and Netflix’s Dare to See OLED event, Wednesday, April 8, 2015 in New York. (Photo by Jason DeCrow/Invision for LG Electronics/AP Images)
Kevin Spacey seen at Netflix 'House of Cards' Academy Screening at AMPAS on Monday, April 27, 2015, in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Tina Desai seen at the world premiere of the Netflix original series "Sense8" on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in San Francisco, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
Jane Krakowski, from left, Tina Fey, Ellie Kemper and Robert Carlock arrive at Netflix's "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" Q&A Screening at Pacific Design Center on Sunday, June 7, 2015, in West Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)
attends Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" ORANGECON Celebration at Skylight Clarkson SQ on Thursday, June 11, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
This June 24, 2015 photo shows the Netflix Apple TV app icon, in South Orange, N.J. (AP Photo/Dan Goodman)
Director/Producer, Hot Girls Wanted- Jill Bauer, Director, What Happened, Miss Simone? - Liz Garbus, Director, Virunga - Orlando von Einsiedel, Director, Chef’s Table - David Gelb and Subject and Executive Producer, Tig - Tig Notaro seen at Netflix 2015 Summer TCA at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, in Beverly Hills, CA. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images)
FILE - In this March 13, 2007 file photo, Steven Avery listens to testimony in the courtroom at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis. The Netflix documentary series âMaking a Murdererâ tells the story of a Wisconsin man wrongly convicted of sexual assault only to be accused, along with his nephew, of killing a photographer two years after being released. An online petition has collected hundreds of thousands of digital signatures seeking a pardon for the pair of convicted killers-turned-social media sensations based on a Netflix documentary series that cast doubt on the legal process. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gives a keynote address, January 6, 2016 at the CES 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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For anyone who just wants entertainment

Source: YouTube

1. Somm

If you enjoy seeing grown men cry (and also learning about wine), press play on Somm. The movie follows four sommeliers as they prepare to take the tough and prestigious Master Sommelier test, which very few people manage to pass. There's plenty of studying, wine swirling and dropping of strange wine descriptors like "musky with a hint of brie and mellow olive overtones."

Pair with: An interesting, but affordable, bottle of wine.

2. Steak Revolution

Director Franck Ribiere lived every carnivore's dream, traveling the world in search of the perfect cut of meat for this documentary. The film, which is over two hours long, explores what goes into a great piece of steak, from the farm to the butcher block to the cooking process. Viewers can expect plenty of meaty shots of well, meat.

Pair with: A piece of grass-fed steak.

3. Foodies

Who exactly are the people who drop thousands of dollars to fly to different country just to eat at a restaurant? You'll find out in Foodies. The movie offers a closer look at a group of international food bloggers who are obsessed with eating at the world's best, and often most expensive, restaurants.

Pair with: Champagne and caviar.

For thirsty folks

Source: YouTube

1. Somm: Into the Bottle

Made by the team behind the film Somm, Somm: Into the Bottle focuses less on the people who serve wine and more on wine itself. The film explores what wine really is through 10 different mini stories with titles like "History," "The Cost," "The Winemaker" and "The Barrels." Brace for plenty of dusty cellars, cinematic shots of the French countryside and people drinking some seriously old and expensive bottles.

Pair with: That fancy bottle of wine you've been saving, and some fancy cheese.

2. The Birth of Sake

Sake, or Japanese rice wine, is incredibly difficult to make. This visually rich and highly stylized documentary follows workers in North Japan, who endure challenging working conditions (like frigid temperatures) to make the wine the way it has been made for the past 2,000 years. The movie will give viewers a new appreciation for the drink and the amount of work that goes into making it.

Pair with: A bottle of sake and some edamame.

3. Crafting a Nation

Over the past decade, craft beer has evolved into a giant industry in the U.S., but starting a brewery is not an easy process. The documentary paints a vivid pictures of just how much time, money and sheer determination brewery owners put into their businesses. If you're hoping to learn a lot about the beer making process, however, you might want to seek out another documentary. This film focuses mainly on the business and personal aspects of working in the craft beer industry.

Pair with: Your favorite craft beer and some pretzels.

4. A Year in Burgundy

Burgundy, France, is one of the world's greatest wine making regions. This documentary looks into the daily lives of seven notable winemakers over a year's time. It's packed with over-the-top lines about wine and has a piano score that'll make the whole viewing experience feel positively dramatic. The movie is also entirely in French, so if you're drinking wine while watching, understand that the subtitles might get blurrier and blurrier.

Pair with: A good bottle of pinot noir from France.

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