“Savory Depth”

De-Colonizing Cooking Method & Memory

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For many Asian Americans, there is a struggle of belonging. “Go back to your home country” has been spat at, yet the United States is the only country they know and have. Food is a common link to their parent’s homeland, a cultural anchor that families can bond over. However, as their parent’s generation becomes older, will that bond hold true?

How might we establish a method of connecting to food heritage that can be passed down through the generations?

Đậm Đà is a nesting set that provides a unit of measurement and serving. This set is particular to a family chicken pho recipe. The intended design can easily be adapted to different chicken pho recipes and other pho types, such as beef. Đậm Đà breaks with imperial and metric standards, defining “a little bit of this”.

Đậm Đà is coded between broth preparation, bowl preparation, and serving, by the color. The product is a reaction to the informal nature of cooking found in immigrant communities and how information could be documented in some way.

As the piece ages, the crackle glaze is marked by wear and provides a subtle indication of amount. Each piece has a graphic representation of what ingredient coordinates. The underside also has Vietnamese and English labeling.

“If food doesn’t have context and story, it just doesn’t taste that good.”

- Andrea Nguyen, Vietnamese-born, American food writer  

Featured in: 
DesignPhiladelphia 2023
WantedDesign during ICFF 2023
Milan Design Week 2023
RISD ID Triennial 2022