Small Bites 一口一个越南

June 5, 2020 2020年6月5日

Look closer: this mouth-watering bowl of pho, topped off with rare beef and fresh scallion, isn’t edible.

This realistic sculpture is part of a larger series of works by An Ha Nguyen of Veene Studio, a Hanoi-based atelier that specializes in dolls and miniature models. Aside from iconic Vietnamese dishes such as phở and bánh mì, the full collection of mouth-watering models also feature lesser-known yet equally beloved dishes from central and southern Vietnam, such as kho quẹt (a caramelized pork & shrimp dip that’s often paired with scorched rice or vegetables), cá kho tộ (caramelized & braised catfish), and the comfort food of Hanoi autumn, chè cốm (a sweet soup made from young green rice).


一碗令人食指大动的越南河粉,上面还摆了生牛肉和新鲜葱粒——仔细看看,这碗 “河粉”其实不可食用。

这件生动逼真的雕塑作品来自 Veene Studio 的艺术家 An Ha Nguyen 的系列作品之一。Veene Studio 是河内一家专门制作玩偶和迷你模型的艺术工作室。除了河粉和法式面包三明治(bánh mì) 等特色越南美食外,系列中还包括各种越南中部和南部鲜为人知但深受当地人喜爱的菜式,例如“kho quẹt”(蜜汁猪肉和虾酱,通常搭配锅巴饭或蔬菜吃)、“cá kho tộ”(蜜汁红烧鱼)以及河内秋季特有的绿扁米甜品“Chè Cốm”(用未成熟的绿色米粒制成的甜汤)。

To Nguyen, the architecture graduate turned miniature artist and entrepreneur, sculpting had long been a fun hobby, but she had no plans of turning it into a job. The turning point happened when she was still in university and baked cakes for some side income. One day, Nguyen was asked to make her older sister’s wedding cake. To decorate the cake, she carved a bride-and-groom cake topper out of wood and it was a hit with the wedding guests. She started receiving commission requests for similar designs.

As commissions poured in, Nguyen soon realized that her passion for making handcrafted trinkets and toys far outweighed her passion for architecture. And so, she decided to turn the side hustle into a career. After graduating in 2015, Nguyen started Veene, which began with a focus on wooden dolls, similar to the ones she made for her sister. The studio has since expanded to other small-scale models done in a variety of materials, with the latest being the Vietnamese food series.


An Ha 原本毕业于建筑专业,后来却成为了一名微雕艺术家和创业者。她一直以来都很喜欢制作雕塑,但是从未想过要将其变成职业。转折点发生在她大学期间,当时她做蛋糕来赚外快。有一天,An Ha 的姐姐请她帮自己做一个婚礼蛋糕国,于是她用木头雕刻了一个新娘和新郎公仔,用来装饰蛋糕。婚礼上的客人都很喜欢,于是开始有人找她做类似的雕塑作品。

随着客户越来越多,An Ha 很快意识到,自己对于制作这些精致手工饰品和玩具的热情远远超过了建筑设计。于是,她决定将这份副业变成自己的职业。2015 年毕业后,An Ha 创立 Veene 工作室,一开始专注于制作木偶,类似于她为姐姐制作的蛋糕木偶。之后,工作室开始延伸到用各种材料打造迷你模型,而越南美食系列就是他们的最新作品。

Despite her busy workload, Nguyen has started feeling creatively unsatisfied. “I feel like those creations are not my own,” she says. “They don’t carry my personal imprint.”

This food-focused project is Nguyen’s way of returning to the basics, a means of honing her skills and sharing her love of Vietnamese cuisine with more people. Her team at Veene spent two months completing the first set of the collection, turning down a number of commissioned work along the way.


虽然工作很忙,但她感觉这样的工作无法真正让自己发挥创意。她说:“我感觉这些作品与我无关,也看不到属于我的个人特色。”

在这次以食物为主题的项目中,An Ha 希望能回归本质,磨练自己的技巧,和更多人分享她对越南美食的热爱。她在 Veene 的团队花了两个月的时间完成了第一批作品,为此,期间他们不得不推掉了一些客户的工作。

For each dish, Nguyen studied every ingredient involved so that she can bring these culinary delights to life with complete fidelity: from the roots of spring onion to the groove on each young green rice grains to the seeds inside fine shreds of red chili, nothing is left out.

Nguyen also paid special attention to the plating presentation, which she bases on the intimacy of street and home-cooked dishes. Her crispy bánh mì resembles one sold on a makeshift cart after school. Her bowl of phở is served with familiar street-stall condiments such as pickled garlic, chili sauce, and fried stick bread, classic northern style. Cá kho tộ comes in the signature clay pot atop a rattan trivet. She even hand-paints intricate patterns on the ceramic bowl and spoon for the chè cốm set and garnishes it with lotus flowers. 


An Ha 仔细研究每一道菜式的食材,栩栩如生地再现出来:从香葱的根部、每颗绿米粒表面的纹路到细辣椒丝中的籽,一丝不苟地雕刻出所有细节。

她也很别注重摆盘的形式,尽力呈现出街头美食和家常菜的那种亲切感:酥脆的法式面包三明治像是学校门口的临时摊档卖的那样;越南河粉旁边搭配着街头食摊上常见的调味品,例如腌大蒜、辣椒酱和炸油条,经典的北方风味;“Cá kho tộ”(红烧鲶鱼)放在砂锅中,下面铺上藤垫;她甚至在“chè cốm”甜汤的陶瓷碗和勺子上手工描画了精致的图案,再以莲花装饰点缀。

These appetizing miniatures, which come as part of cardholder stand, don’t come cheap. Their intricacy and the artisanal creation process means steeper prices than the locals are used to. “Our customers are mostly foreigners or Vietnamese expats who want to collect little snippets of the country,” says Nguyen.


这些秀色可餐的迷你模型摆在一个小名片架上,售价其实并不便宜。因为工艺复杂,纯手工制作,其价格超出了当地的消费水平。她说:“我们的客户大部分是外国人或越南侨民,他们想收集一些有越南特色的小物品。”

Nguyen has also sculpted other food items in the past, including salted-egg mooncakes, tropical fruits, and more. Despite this recent interest in sculpting edible fares, Nguyen has no interest in limiting her scope of work to just that. She’s started a brand new series of miniatures based on traditional Vietnamese attire, a taxing endeavor considering the different materials that are involved. But these constant challenges are part of the allure for Nguyen, who sees creative obstacles as what makes art exciting.


An Ha 过去也曾制作过其他美食雕塑,包括蛋黄月饼、热带水果等。虽然雕刻了许多食物类的作品,但她对雕塑的兴趣绝不仅限于食物。最近,她开始创作一个新的迷你模型系列,以越南传统服饰为主题。由于涉及多种不同材料,这个新项目将极具挑战性。但是,An Ha 喜欢挑战,因为她认为,正是因为有了创作中的种种挑战,才让最终的艺术品如此令人期待。

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Contributor & Photographer: Ha Dao
Chinese Translator: Olivia Li


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供稿人与摄影师: Ha Dao
英译中: Olivia Li