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Phil Rosenthal on Returning to Asia

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phil Rosenthal hasn’t been to a country in Asia for his Netflix food travel series “Somebody Feed Phil” since the “Singapore” episode of Season 4 aired in 2020. But with the Season 7 debut Friday, the “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator is back in the east with four out of eight episodes, including an installment featuring one giant bucket-list destination Rosenthal has been anxiously dreaming about for years.
“I’ve always wanted to go to India, so Mumbai was a real thrill for me. I’ve always loved Indian food, I have so many beautiful Indian friends,” Rosenthal told Variety. “But there were two things that kept me away.”
First, he was “afraid” of the ethical complications of doing his goofy bits in a country with such deep contrasts in its population’s standard of living.
“They call Mumbai Maximum City because it has everything,” Rosenthal said. “You have incredible opulence next to dire poverty. I was afraid of that. I was afraid of doing my light-hearted and loving show, where I try to convince you to go to each of these places. How do I reconcile this? And it took me maybe this long, by doing it in other episodes, where you acknowledge that there are disparities and then you try to help, which is what we try to do in every episode anyway. You try to leave the place a tiny bit better than you found it. And that’s all we can do when we travel.”
Second, after his one-and-only episode of food poisoning on the show, which took place on a trip to San Francisco in Season 4, he was a little worried about contracting an illness in India based on anecdotal evidence.
“Many people told me that they had gotten sick from the food or the water there, so many people have told me, so I was afraid,” Rosenthal said. “And then I was assured that we would be perfectly fine and that we would take every precaution. You know, people told me that they had done that, too, but they have still gotten sick so I was still a little nervous.”
In the Season 7 opener, Rosenthal makes it to Mumbai, which he says was “well worth the trip” and where he “did not get sick” at all. But just in case he did, Netflix was prepared: “If I did go down, we were going to have a two-week break after Mumbai, so I could recover, if needed.”
Other stops Rosenthal made — and avoided food poisoning in — in Season 7 of “Somebody Feed Phil” include: Washington, D.C., Kyoto, Iceland, Dubai, Orlando (where he shows you the “real” city eats outside of Disney World), Taipei (the “best street food” he’s ever had) and Scotland.
The release is timed just ahead of the publication of “Just Try It!,” a children’s book about food co-written by Rosenthal and his daughter, Lily Rosenthal (featured on this season of “Somebody Feed Phil,” on March 5, and before Rosenthal takes off on his latest nationwide live tour for the series.



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