(Đọc phiên bản tiếng Việt tại đây)
After the much beloved series 100 Views of Saigon where he captured Saigon’s essences like never seen before, Daniel Tingcungco continues to stun us all with his latest passionate painting project named ‘100 Tasty Food In Saigon”. In this series, Daniel turns pictures of Saigon’s most signature and popular foods that we usually take for our social media into something more elevated. He makes food become art, one picture at a time.
RGB is super thrilled to catch up with him again to share about this exciting project.
Hi Dan! We’re so happy to see you launching another paintings series just shortly after finishing ‘100 Views Of Saigon’. Tell us more about this new exciting (and delicious) project as well as how you make it happen please.
Dan: Glad to be able to share this
meal project with you! I guess I got hungry after going around many corners of Saigon, where there’s also too many good places to eat… As I was working on ‘100 Views of Saigon’, food has become an integral part of the experience, and I have decided to continue exploring – this time with the palate!
We can tell that you love Vietnamese food. Is that the main reason why you decided to create this project? How did you come up with the idea to make this series?
Dan: I have grown to love so much Vietnamese food that even with years of living here, I have yet to discover so many great dishes. Doing the ‘100 Views of Saigon’ project has helped me expand my knowledge from just eating Bánh mì and Phở, I have then realized how Saigon, and the whole of Vietnam, deserves to be considered a food paradise!
Would you call ‘100 Tasty Food In Saigon’ a sequel of ‘100 Views Of Saigon’?
Dan: I would say it can be a sequel as it has been inspired by this initial series, but it can also stand on its own with rich content showing an important aspect of Saigon’s culture.
Are there any differences or similarities in terms of creative process or approaches for this series (in comparison with your previous projects)?
Dan: Indeed the same as well, as it is a must for me to experience the dish on-site before I could decide if it is something I would want to share with everyone. I get a lot of recommendations from friends and followers, sometimes I encounter articles or features or happily stumble upon places that I later on realize were very good! I would devour the feeling, the aroma, the heat or coolness, the vibe, the taste, the overall experience… Capturing references through photos and later on translating it in my own way through illustration where I do my best to present the dish with my fondest memory of the experience.
Did you experience any difficulties with this project? What was the most challenging part to you in capturing the essence of the food?
Dan: One difficulty would be the sheer number of many dishes to feature, being that there are definitely more than 100 dishes! Next would be which version I should feature – just like one bowl of Hủ tiếu from one stall is not the same as the next one – I have to decide which one ‘hits the spot’ for me the most.
Food and landscapes, which one is easier to draw?
Dan: Between food and landscapes, food is indeed ‘easier’, but I’ve grown so much with landscapes that I don’t mind which type of subject I draw as long as I enjoy it. Applying what I’ve learned with the ‘totality’ and ‘completeness’ with my landscape views has aided me to have this similar approach to food – not just the dish but also the context where it is set, as authentic to my memory as can be. Food is a dear subject for me because I also love to eat, so it’s easier for me to go into detail, but also try to restrain myself to just show the right amount – just like you can’t overcook a dish or overeat one! Choosing the right colors and creating the vibe to enhance appetite appeal are challenging, but I learn a lot as I go along.
You once shared with us that ‘bún thịt nướng’ is your most favorite Vietnamese food. Is that still the case? Have you found any new dish that changed your mind (and appetite)?
Dan: Bún thịt nướng is still my favorite, but recently I can’t get enough of Bún Đậu Mắm Tôm and Phở Sa tế! Might be because I like the strong flavors of the sauces/broths that contrast the lightness and textures of the other components of these dishes. I always have seasonal cravings for certain foods too, but the ones I mentioned have been my staples.
Any project in the near future?
Dan: I’m currently focused on eating my way through this project, but definitely am preparing something soon! 😉