Vietnamese Cuisine as Depicted by Filipino Artistry

Although Daniel Tingcungco has only lived in Vietnam for 3 years, thanks to his artistic talent and a special love for Vietnamese street food, he has "snatched the hearts" of many Vietnamese citizens thanks to his impressive (and delicious) artwork.
September 22, 2022 | 08:29

Culinary paradise

Most of his paintings are familiar and rustic Vietnamese dishes such as rice, bread, grilled rice paper, vermicelli with shrimp paste, pho, and crab vermicelli. From the perspective of a foreigner, the painted images offer an enticing, culinary view of an exotic land. For Vietnamese, his paintings remind them of the delicious comforts of home.

Vietnamese Cuisine as Depicted by Filipino Artistry
Daniel Tingcungco. Photo: thanhnien.vn

Daniel Tingcungco (Manila, Philippines) currently lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City. His main occupation is the senior art director of an advertising agency and he is also a freelance illustrator. Daniel Tingcungco shared that after the success of his project "100 Saigon Street Corners" last year, he continued to draw Vietnamese culinary artworks because he wanted to share with everyone his love of Vietnamese cuisine through each stroke of the brush.

“With this project, I want to introduce to people the dishes that have impressed or made me happy. It is also a way for me to discover Vietnamese cuisine and many other dishes available in Saigon,” he said.

Vietnamese Cuisine as Depicted by Filipino Artistry
Crab vermicelli through the drawings of a Filipino painter. Photo: thanhnien.vn

To carry out this project, Daniel Tingcungco said he always tries to spend an hour a day drawing. Before painting each piece, he travels to many places to “capture the moment” or to get ideas. “I have to have an overall sense of aroma, heat or coolness, and taste. If necessary, I will record the “references” and translate them in my own way through illustrations on my iPad. I always try to draw the interesting moments that I have experienced myself," he shared.

Vietnamese Cuisine as Depicted by Filipino Artistry
Spring roll - Crab soup cake - Sugarcane juice. Photo: thanhnien.vn

“Vietnamese are very friendly!”

Through his paintings, he hopes people will discover not only famous dishes such as pho, bread, and coffee but also an entire wonderful culinary paradise of Vietnam in general and HCMC in particular. “For me, I am more and more interested in Vietnamese cuisine because I find it very new. It has a balance of flavors and tastes and is prepared to suit the weather, space, and available ingredients. This has captured the impression and love of many people around the world,” he shared.

When he shared his views on Saigon cuisine, where he lives and works, Daniel Tingcungco commented that it is a rich combination of regional and international cuisine. The artist believes that Saigonese people have a way of receiving different dishes, making them their own and making them special.

Although Daniel Tingcungco has been in Vietnam for more than 3 years, even though he is far from his home country, he always feels comfortable. He said the traffic in Vietnam is somewhat similar to the Philippines, not too congested because the main mean of transport is by motorbikes and they take up less space. He can easily move everywhere because traffic jams in Ho Chi Minh City are not a problem.

“Vietnamese people are very friendly and warm, just like people in my hometown. They are hard workers, but always find time to relax and enjoy life. Every day, they often sit on the side of the road with a cup of coffee, which is a familiar image I often come across," he shared.

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