The Korean word 밥심 (bap-shim) doesn’t have a direct English translation but roughly means “you can do anything with the power of rice.” As a Korean American, this word has always resonated greatly with me because growing up, my family ate rice with almost every meal.
Project 밥심 showcases Korean Americans’ food memories on an interactive website that imitates a Korean American dining experience. The project seeks to evoke nostalgia through a digital food memoir and dining experience—a digital dining table set with plates of food that remind visitors of their memories as Korean Americans. Voice recordings of phrases commonly said at mealtime (by Korean moms like mine) and the background noise of my kitchen allow the user to feel like they are sitting at the dining table while scrolling through the website.
To engage people, I created postcards to leave in restaurants that convey a nostalgic and authentic Korean dining experience. A poster campaign announces the project in select public spaces to allow people to take a moment to reminisce about their own memories. A QR code leads to a submission page where people can submit their memories associated with their nostalgic foods.
While gathering memories for this project, I was able to relate to others’ experiences and connect their nostalgia with my own. The project enables Koreans and Korean Americans to feel warm nostalgia about the comforting meals of their youth. For others, the project offers a learning experience about the Korean American dining experience.