米食的遠行 A Rice Journey
內文撰稿｜Lazy Susan（印尼）、Bea Misa Crisostomo（菲律賓）、黃嬿庭（泰國）、顔仕宇（馬來西亞）
攝影｜Lazy Susan（印尼）、Geric Cruz（菲律賓）、陳凱倫（泰國）、劉國耀 Kok Yew（馬來西亞）
顧問｜傻瓜書日 Fotobook DUMMIES Day
Copyrights of the texts and photographs are reserved by the authors and photographers.
©All rights reserved.
Click to read more
Click to read more
Rice is a staple food in many Asian cultures, and rice crops have grown into different variants under various terroir and climates. Evolving with the changing technologies for harvesting and manufacturing, rice has now become an indispensable part of local dietary cultures.
The predecessor of this project was pn̄g uân, a zine published in 2020. Throughout the course of the project, we discovered that the different ways rice have been prepared into rice balls, rolls, buns, etc., is inextricably connected to the migration and journeys of humans, i.e., traveling far away for work, displacement from war, and students on educational trips. Even the rice balls that people now purchase before work or school for their convenience and portability reflects the connections between rice and human migration in daily life.
The project, “A Rice Journey,” was thereby hatched, but this is more than the journey of rice. It is also a journey of crops, food, ethnicities, and culture.
The varieties and harvesting of crops are simultaneously impacted by our natural environment and production technologies, while the ingredients and condiments that complement rice are also highly relevant to the history of human migration, trade, and colonization. People of various eras have brought their dietary preferences and palates with them to different places. The wide range of rice balls in terms of form, filling, flavor, and packaging have also become the best proof of “A Rice Journey.”
The project invites writers and photographers of dietary cultures in Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia to explore the history of local rice balls, visiting local vendors and recording the unique rice ball culture, flavor, and life.
The project’s sections are collected independently. We require writers to provide the same basic information (e.g., the history of rice balls, the environment where rice ball vendors are located, how rice balls are made, a profile of the customers, etc.) but do not limit the style of their writing, language, and images as we hope to compile a book on “A Rice Journey” that is unique to 2021.
As such, the writing and images for each country paint a vivid portrait of the local scene, giving rise to a rare dietary record from the pandemic.
We were delighted to find that, though the styles and genres of each article were drastically different, all articles were able to present a striking portrait of local rice cultures and rice balls.
The “Indonesia Chapter” contained many different local rice balls, reflecting the diversity of rice balls around Asia and the world. It shows that while different landscapes exist not just in different cultures but even within a single culture.
The “Philippines Chapter” is a poetry-like article written in the first person that introduces readers to the impact of the country’s colonial past on local dietary cultures from a personal perspective, perfectly showcasing the realities of how an individual is influenced by changing times and environments and how that impact has been condensed into one simple rice ball.
The “Thailand Chapter” is more akin to a news article, spotlighting a single rice ball shop and carefully portraying the production process and sale of rice balls. It outlines the shop owner’s resilience and reminds us that food means more to people than simply filling our bellies.
The “Malaysia Chapter” is written in the style of investigative research, telling the origins, fillings, and manifestations of various local rice balls. From its research, the article presents an interesting and valuable record of social significance, history, and culture to outline a memory that spans across an even broader period of time and space.
The phrase “diets are a reflection of a society, culture, history, and its people” has now become a cliché. We hope that, from this worn-out metaphor, that we can explore the different possibilities of “taste” from vivid portraits of local scenes. From striking photographic records and evocative hues, we wish readers can peruse and traverse across various the rice balls of Southeast Asia. Allow our writers and photographers to introduce you to different rice balls and to take you on a journey with rice balls.