Banh mi, pho add flavor to Australian art project

By Long Nguyen   May 6, 2020 | 06:17 am PT
Two popular Vietnamese staples feature prominently in an online project on artists' favorite Asian food memories during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Seeing Asian eateries fall quiet during the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Souvanthalisith and Muriel-Ann Ricafrente (owners of a Sydney-based studio) worked with local artists to "invite people back into our beloved Asian restaurants in their time of need."

In this way, "More of Something Good" was born.

Artists joining the project were asked two questions: What’s your favorite dish from an Asian restaurant in your city? And, why? Dishes were then replicated in several artistic styles.

Banh mi xiu mai by Kim Lan. Photo by MSG/Kim Lan.

Banh mi xiu mai by Kim Lan. Photo by MSG/Kim Lan.

Vietnamese banh mi and pho were included with other Asian dishes like Thai street food sai krok isaan (fermented pork sausage), and ebi mazesoba (dry, soupless ramen with prawns), etc.

"There’s no glamorous way to go about consuming this cornucopia of promised goodness, other than ‘smashing’ it, with crusty crumbs snowing and happy head nodding," artist Kim Lam commented about the banh mi xiu mai drawing, adding xiu mai (meatball) is her ultimate.

Anime-styled pho by Mike. Photo by MSG/Mike.

Anime-styled pho by Mike. Photo by MSG/Mike.

Meanwhile, artist Mike chose to illustrate an anime-inspired bowl of pho bo tai, saying the rich taste of pho is tightly woven together with his memories of family and his hometown of Springvale.

Stating his mother's pho is his all-time favorite, the artist maintained the noodles from Pho Hung Vuong Restaurant in Springvale is a close second.

Other artists also chose Vietnamese dishes: William Nghiem drew a bowl of mixed combination dry noodles and Viet-My Bui opted for char siu dry noodles.

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