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Interactive Book 'Art of Phở' Brings Saigon to Life One Click at a Time

When foreign visitors arrive in Vietnam, one facet of local culture that tops every must-do list is cuisine. Since the outside world has only recently been introduced to the magic of Vietnamese food, travelers are, of course, keen to tuck in to a bowl of phở to see what all the fuss is about.

This was certainly true for award-winning British illustrator Julian Hanshaw, who visited Vietnam in 2006 and was so enamored of the country – and its national soup – that he wrote a graphic novel titled The Art of Pho. Now, nearly a decade since his trip to Vietnam, Hanshaw and innovative storytelling site Submarine Channel have teamed up to bring a whole new, interactive version of Hanshaw's original story to the internet.

Divided into eight episodes, the interactive online comic features a combination of music, dialogue and beautifully rendered graphics to bring to life The Art of Pho, which tells the story of a small, alien-like creature called Little Blue, who wanders into Saigon one day under mysterious circumstances and becomes a successful phở vendor in the big city.

Though there are certain parts of the story that will grind you gears – the butchered pronunciation of phở bò comes to mind – the way in which Hanshaw's tale is translated into an online medium is fascinating. If nothing else, it's exciting to see the place you live depicted in fiction, whether on screen or in print.

Take a look at the story's trailer below: 

[Photos via The Guardian]

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