Sajgonki in Warsaw Way

Workshop prepared by Dorota Podlaska and lecture by Ngo Van Tuong

Open A-I-R, Reflexsive Picnic, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski castle, Warsaw

Akiyoshidai Artists Village,
Yamaguchi, Japan
Duchamperie, Bydgoszcz
Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok

Spring Rolls in Poland are called „sajgonki“, and bear name after Vietnamese former capital. They are very popular in Vietnamese bars all over Poland, served in two ways – deep fried or fresh ones, the ones which don’t need to be cooked. Preparation of fresh „sajgonki“ is not complicated – it requires chopping finely ingredients of the filling and wrapping them in rice paper, which soaked in warm water. I propose playing with so called „fusion cuisine“ and mixing together different ingredients in one dish. Typical Vietnamese dish „sajgonki“ can be fillled with random ingredients found in Polish shops and markets. It can be a start for experimenting with food, igniting culinary imagination, discovering new tastes. Also chance to play with the look of „sajgonki“ – half transparent rice paper reveals its content and gives possibility of painterly effects.

Participants of the workshop will have to choose three ingredients – packed in such a way that they will not know what they pick up. The content of package they choose will be a surprise, some lottery. They will have to compose „sajgonka“ filling with what they draw, but they will be also allowed to share and exchange products. The taste of „sajgonka“ composed with randomly chosen ingredients may become new sensational discovery or unpalatable horror. It can be a beginning of culinary adventure and „domesticating“ of Asian culture existing in Warsaw.

The new culinary trends and fashion are created by migration of people, mix of cultures, easy access to traveling.  The biggest foreign community in Poland is Vietnamese, who inhabit mainly Warsaw, and work often in trade and gastronomy. In many Vietnamese bars scattered around Warsaw habitants could eat Vietnamese cuisine prepared to satisfy Polish taste, but those dishes did not resemble real Vietnamese cooking.

The place where one could taste authentic exotic Vietnamese dishes were bars at market called Stadium Market. Market was not only working place giving work to traders from East-South Asia, Africa, Easter Europe, but also „culture center’, gathering every weekend artistic intelligentsia around alley of Asian bars and shops with exotic food products. During last three years of its existence Stadium Market was visited by crowds of guests and alley of bars became local space for social-cultural integration ignited by interest in Asian cuisine and new tastes.

Ngo Van Tuong will give talk about Vietnamese cuisine and and its exotic ingredients, touching also Polish and Vietnamese mentality.