Quick Bites

26 May 2009

A new exhibition is drawing attention to the innovative packaging and catering design solutions to be found in Bangkok’s rich culture of street food.

“Quick Bites: Designs for Better Eating” investigates the city’s 200-year-old traditions of food vendors, and presents some of its food designs – such as utensils and packaging improvised from everyday materials.

Many of the street foods available across the city, derive from village traditions and are packaged in plant materials such as banana leaves – natural wrappers which function as biodegradable serving dishes when unfolded.

The exhibition also highlights the widespread ‘re-use’ in design, such as coffee cups made of discarded milk tins with handles constructed out of banana-leaf twine.

‘Re-use is nothing new to Thais. We’ve been doing it forever, mostly out of necessity,’ said Mr. Wongchirachai, the design center’s deputy managing director.

Today, Bangkok is home to around half of Thailand’s 24,000 registered street vendors, who operate from wheeled carts, portable stalls and baskets slung on shoulder poles.

The exhibition aims to help designers and businesses create original products and services by tapping the resources found within Thailand’s own culture and traditions. Mr. Wongchirachai stated that finding new applications for local materials, processes, forms and functions could help Thai industry go forward.

“Quick Bites” is being shown currently at the Thailand Creative and Design Center in Bangkok.

New York Times

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