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BackEat & Drink » Food Culture » [Photos] A Saigon Studio Made 'Cơm Tấm' Out of Discarded Styrofoam and Sponges

Are you tired of your trash looking plain-ol' trashy and your food too temporal and foody? 

Lucky for you, the Saigon-based food photography studio FPDB has a solution: make your trashy trash into artsy art that captures popular Vietnamese dishes in all their glory.  

Cơm tấm.

FPDB, along with visual artists Cherry Huynh, Justin Le and Duc Bui (the founder of FPDB), created models of essential Vietnamese cuisine out of garbage they collected, proving that it is true what they say: one man's trash is another man's treasure. With Vietnam's plastic waste discharge among the highest in the world, there is plenty of treasure to go around.

Trà đá.

The inspiration for making the plastic food was found in a scrap yard on a drive home, when the idea struck of turning the discarded materials into art. This was the genesis of the Food x Plastic project, which turns recycled sponges, straws, plastic bags, electrical cords, rubber bands and bottle caps into cơm tấm, bún chả, mì Quảng and trà đá. Bui told Saigoneer via Facebook Messenger that it took three weeks to complete the four replicas. 

Mì Quảng.

The carefully crafted "meals" were shot against pastel backgrounds. In the images, millennial pink meets millennial mint, peach and mauve; the vibrancy of the food, which is usually found in similarly vibrant environments, is set in austere surroundings. In this way, the images showcase a balance between the modern aesthetic of the photography and the traditional foods.

Bún chả.

Take a look at the photos to see how electrical cords can take the form of a graceful twirl of noodles, bottle caps turn into slices of red chili bobbing buoyantly in fish sauce, a chunk of Styrofoam metamorphoses into a mound of rice, and a plastic bag transforms into a flurry of green herbs sticking out the side of a soup bowl.

[Photos courtesy of FPDB via their Behance page]

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