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[Illustrations] A Playful Look Into Vietnamese Ingredients by Lucia Pham

Lucia Pham has created a set of four illustrations of Vietnamese cuisine featuring whimsical, personified ingredients. 

Pham told Saigoneer via Facebook messenger that she graduated from the Hanoi University of Industrial Fine Art, majoring in graphic design. After coming up with the idea for the design, she took two days to find references and create a mood board. After this, it took her three days to sketch and complete the pieces.

When asked why all of Pham's illustrations in the cuisine series feature an animal, she explained that she lives in Hanoi with her family and their pet cat, Mimi, a mixed-breed white cat. Her adoration of Mimi is why she always puts a white animal in her illustrations: "I love him so much." 

The first in the set (the banner image) shows bánh chưng's component parts. You can see frowny-faced glutinous rice sitting in a blue bowl, a somewhat world-weary triangle of mung bean, and a smirking cake pan, among other bánh chưng necessities. In the far left of the image, you can see a self-assured large pot for boiling the rice cakes set upon a fire. The carefully wrapped and perfectly squared bánh chưng are visible inside. Two children and a lone feline sit vigil peaceably over the process. 

The next piece is all about stir-fry. A frying pan is center-stage as a small blue man tips a waterfall of oyster sauce into the dish from a gigantic bottle. The mushrooms, peas, corn, onions, beef, chili, and enokitake surround the pan with a variety of expressions upon their "faces." They watch as their sliced and prepared versions sizzle inside the pan. Pham told me that it is Mimi featured in this piece, proudly holding a head of broccoli up to the heavens. However, Mimi "hates broccoli." 

The last two images feature fresh and fried spring rolls, respectively. In the gỏi cuốn piece, a rectangle of bánh tráng sits neatly in the corner, ready for rolling. Smiley shrimp sit on a leaf of lettuce, herbs peek out from the sides, and spears of vegetables lay amiably next to each other. Worried eggs can be seen close by, as they look upon their cooked form with chubby cherry tomatoes sitting on top them inside the roll. It is easy to imagine how it will all be manifested into the ever-pleasurable gỏi cuốn.  

In the last bright pink image, the make-up of nem rán is carefully laid out. Cloud ear fungus, mushrooms, pickled vegetables, garlic, a dubious black pepper grinder, herbs, fish sauce, pork, and vegetables with somewhat aghast expressions sit in a colander. You can see all the ingredients in a pan together, along with a runny and skeptical-looking egg, being tended to by two ant-sized individuals.  

Find more works by Lucia Pham on her Behance page.

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