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Food Cultures of Asia
Vietnamese Markets and Thai Food Stalls

Rice is a staple in much of Asia and represents a shared food culture. Although there is only one species of rice, many varieties that look slightly different do exist and are grown in various regions. For this edition of Found MUJI. we visited the markets and food stalls of Vietnam and Thailand to get a better understanding of their food cultures. There we found different forms of rice products such as noodles and rice cakes from each region.

In addition to seeing the culture of rice in Vietnamese markets and Thai food stalls, there was a sense of closeness in the relationship between the vendors and shoppers — a feeling that modem societies seem to have lost somewhat in their search for convenience: whether it is purchasing farm-fresh ingredients at a traditional market, or when eating at a food stall that offers only a single, perfectly prepared type of dish. The feeling also comes with conversations in tea shops on the sidewalk.

There are probably many things we can learn from such open and diverse street food cultures.

Bat Trang Pottery

Bat Trang ceramics are made from high-quality clay along the Hong River. They have long been favoured by Japanese tea ceremony masters, and the typical motifs of auspicious dragonfly are also said to originate from Japan. In Bat Trang village, there are still over 100 kilns in operation.





Blue & White

The Lampang province produces high-quality clay that leads to the thriving of local pottery industry. Such clay gives a unique white which allows the deep-blue paint to stand out. Different painters are responsible for each part of the design, and the slight differences resulted by human hands add to the characteristic of the ceramics.




Bamboo Baskets

Bamboo baskets are used in many places in Vietnam, including markets and food stalls. There is a village near Hanoi that produces bamboo baskets for the entire region, which are woven in about 300 homes. Work is done in front yards and workshops, and such handicrafts are passed down from generation to generation.




White Tableware

White tableware is often used in Vietnam. The simple white tableware can be seen in various places ̶ from ordinary household to food stalls, hotels, and restaurants. They help to show off the colourful dishes of Vietnam.




Time for Tea

In addition to the food stalls, you can also find many tea shops on the street. Instead of using signboards, the stalls advertise by displaying glasses of tea and teapots being kept warm in baskets. Locals stay there to have a cup of tea with friends or just to take a break, spending time as they please.




Stainless Steel Utensils

In Southeast Asian countries where food stalls are a part of life, stainless steel products are often used because of their durability. Chinese-style spoons, tiered lunchboxes, and cooking utensils made from stainless steel are simple to use and clean, and have long been integrated into people’s daily lives.



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