Reis und Papier
Huong Truong is a graphic designer based in Berlin, founder of Reis und Papier (German for Rice and Paper), a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, and cousins with one of our co-founders (we love our fam!). Born and bred in Germany where she still resides, she designs and creates stationary ranging from stickers to greeting cards that express her love for her Vietnamese heritage. We even collaborated with Huong on our new Foodie Enamel Pins inspired by some of our favorite Asian foods. We chatted about why she started Reis und Papier and her thoughts on Asian diaspora in Germany. Read more below.
1. What is the inspiration behind Reis und Papier and what are your goals for it?
As a graphic designer I was so stuck in my profession as I work for a corporate company, so I felt creatively empty. The idea for Reis und Papier (translated to Rice and Paper in German) was born during the pandemic when there was a worldwide hatred towards Asian people. I felt that I wanted to create something that makes you proud to be Asian and connects one another. During that time I felt how strong the Asian community was and how much they stuck together. My main inspiration in my work is Asian food, but especially Vietnamese food. Through my drawings on Reis und Papier I was able to get in touch with so many Asians in Germany. It was really amazing how much they could relate to my work, identify with it and how we connected through these difficult experiences by turning them into works of love, art and resilience.
2. How would you describe Asian diaspora in Germany? Was Asian history taught in schools while growing up?
The Asian diaspora in Germany is relatively large. Many Vietnamese live in Berlin in particular, and it is very easy to connect with 2nd and 3rd generation Asians these days, especially via social media. That wasn't always the case – during childhood you tended to have less contact with other Asians. You were more invisible and didn't want to be connected with people of the same heritage as you felt some kind of shame that came with it. Also in Germany you won't get taught about Asian history as Germany has this deep history through their wars and this is actually the main focus during school years. It was in my later years and age where I started questioning, educated myself and learned about my roots, my parents destiny and how and why they had to leave their country to live in Germany.
3. What does being a child of immigrants mean to you?
Being a child of immigrants means to me, always being between two cultures. I feel like a real German as soon as I am traveling abroad but in Germany itself I will always feel like a child of an immigrant, a stranger, a person who belongs to a minority. Over the years I learned that there is nothing wrong about being a child of immigrants, nowadays I truly embrace being one.
4. If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I love noodle soup, so it would definitely be Phở. It has everything, the rice(-flour) noodles, the broth, the herbs, the meat, the umami!