The story of how Ruby Bean and the Hungry Peas came to be…
Being a Vietnamese born Australian living in the foodie haven of Melbourne has all culminated to manifest itself into Ruby Bean. Vietnamese families obsess over food and growing up I’ve had the love of all things delicious instilled into me. Special occasions and family gatherings always revolved around the central tenet of eating. It would be a whole day affair starting from morning with food preparation where everyone got involved; the kids picked the slimy ends off bean shoots, the aunties bossed their husbands around to fry and grill, groups would huddle around tables folding perfect spring rolls and people shouted across the house to catch up on family gossip. Then afternoon would be a continual bustle of filling bowls up with food and passing them around, eating, talking and laughing. Nights would be spent packing all the leftovers into take away containers to be distributed amongst the family members rolling themselves out the door to go home.
Growing up, we all consciously develop our sense of identity and having the duality of eastern and western culture became at times confusing. I found that I identified very easily with cuisine; food to me defined people. Since eating is so everyday, people express ingrained habits that I could strangely notice and define. Some slurp noodles; others twirl it around their fork. Some comfortably eat the last morsel on the plate; others persistently insist that their fellow diner should have it. I found that in my Vietnamese upbringing, I was accustomed to sharing dishes and later on in life could not understand why anyone wouldn’t share their meal with me. This everyday affinity that differed between people helped me grow to feel comfortable with my own cultural identity as well as embrace the myriad of ethnic backgrounds in multicultural Melbourne.
Suffice to say, I am more understanding now when fellow diners choose not to share their dishes with me!
I began my blog in 2009 as a simple food exploration of Melbourne dining. Several trips later, my blog and life has expanded into a quest to eat my way around the world. I’m only at the beginning of my foodie quest, having covered 15 countries across 4 continents thus far.
But already, I have learnt and discovered amazing life lessons and experienced culture shock by simply having a meal. The act of eating is so incredibly varied around the globe; generations of history are instilled into national dishes, a country’s struggle and battles is reflected in its cuisine, terrain and weather is garnered in its produce, family and religious values are seen in the way people congregate for meals. It’s an abundant world of sensory overload and fascinating diversity – I’ve set myself the lifelong challenge to discover it through my tastebuds and iron stomach.