⟨ Food ⟩

Eating as Meditation

Food Market by MUJI

Words / Elva Pang
Translation / Fanny Chan

一行禪師在《怎麼吃》一書中,記錄了一次他問一些小孩為甚麼要吃早餐的故事。小孩回答禪師吃早餐是為了得到一天所需的能量,也有人說吃早餐的目的就是吃早餐。在繁忙的生活裡,有時候吃是為了充飢,或是成為了聯誼、工作的一部分;有時候吃是為了解憂抒壓,滿足口腹之欲來驅走負面情緒。匆匆地吃下去,滑著手機吃下去,想東想西地吃下去,最後卻忘記了用五官去感受食物的味道、質感,以及食物如何在口腔裡、腸胃裡翻滾著,最終成為身體的一部分。一行禪師說進食如坐禪和行禪般,同樣是禪修的時刻。若抱有正念來吃,會讓「吃」變得和以往有所不同。

In his book How to Eat, the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh recalled the time he asked some children why they had to have breakfast; some replied that breakfast provides the energy needed for the day, while others replied that the purpose of having breakfast is simply to have breakfast. Nowadays, people lead very busy and hectic lives, eating, to them, is sometimes merely to satisfy hunger, for friends to get together, for entertaining business partners, or sometimes eating helps relieve negative emotions and pressure. Eating in a hurry, eating while scrolling through the phone, or eating with a busy mind, all of these distract from immersing yourself in the taste and texture of the food with your five senses. These passive methods of eating also mean that you don’t get to feel how the food travels from your mouth to the stomach and eventually becomes a part of your body. Master Thich Nhat Hanh said that eating is also a kind of meditation, similar to a sitting or walking meditation. If you eat mindfully, “eating” will no longer be the same to you.

認真地對待「吃」這回事,就由食物的來源開始。無印良品在九龍灣的新店首度新增的食材市集,由農場直送蔬菜和新鮮水果,如產自鹿兒島縣鹿屋市的紅遙芋,當地人活用當地預學廢置校舍,於校舍內熟成40天,令糖分更高、口感更軟糯可口。理解食物背後的故事,能讓進食變得更有趣味。另外,無印良品與日本一家集合當地有機或低農藥栽培農作物的網上超市Oisix合作,引入日本各縣的農作物,不但注重它的季節性和栽培方法,並以極力減少農藥、關顧環境為前提。食材市集把當季新鮮的蔬果送到餐桌上,讓我們能品嚐來自大自然的美味。

To take “eating” seriously, we should start with finding the right food source. MUJI recently introduced the “Food Market” in their Kowloon Bay store which features farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Among which, the Beni Haruka sweet potatoes from Kanoya City in Kagoshima are being cured in the city’s abandoned school premises for 40 days before reaching the store. The curing process intensifies the sweet flavor and texture of the sweet potato making them more soft and delicious. We believe that knowing the story of our food makes eating more fun. What’s more, MUJI cooperated with Oisix, an online grocery in Japan that sells locally-grown organic produce and other low-pesticide crops, to bring a great variety of Japanese produce to Hong Kong. The collaboration focuses on seasonal produce and their cultivation methods, and it aims to reduce the use of pesticide and to promote caring for the natural environment. The “Food Market” brings along fresh seasonal produce to the dining table so we can have a taste of different varieties of natural delicacies. 

除了新鮮、當季的食材,為了滿足繁忙的都市人,新店首次引入冷凍食品,不添加化學調味,兼顧美味與健康。例如日式蘿蔔蓉鯖魚,只需放於微波爐約1分鐘便可享用,這些簡單的解凍、加熱等步驟,讓我們即使在忙碌的日子裡,仍能便利地吃到既多元化又美味的食物。新店內更特設的茶米工房、提供手沖咖啡和新鮮烘焙麵包等,讓人一踏進店內,嗅到淡淡的咖啡和麵包的香氣,感受到食物的美好,也令人有「想好好的吃一頓飯」的想法。《怎麼吃》裡,一行禪師說道吃進身體的一顆米,吸收了陽光、空氣、土壤的養分來成長,還有農夫的汗水,經歷著多少路途來到我們手中的碗裡,一顆米包含了整個宇宙,也是宇宙送來的禮物。因此,好好吃飯,就是我們當下需要做的事情。

Besides fresh and seasonal ingredients, the Kowloon Bay MUJI store introduced, for the very first time in Hong Kong, a frozen food series to satisfy the taste buds of busy metropolitans. The frozen food has no added artificial flavourings which takes care of both your health and yearning for delicious food. Imagine that you can enjoy Japanese style simmered mackerel with grated daikon simply by reheating it in the microwave for a minute. The simple steps of defrosting and heating allow us to easily enjoy a variety of delicious food, even on busy days. The new store also comes with a rice and tea ordering counter, and a cafe and meal section that offers hand drip coffee, fresh baked goods, and many other delicacies. The aroma of coffee and bakery fills the air, anyone who steps inside the store will immediately desire a proper warm meal from the cafe. In How to Eat, master Thich Nhat Hanh wrote that a grain of rice consists of the sun, the air, the nutrients from the earth, and the farmer’s sweat. It has travelled such a long way to end up in the bowl in our hands. A grain of rice contains the universe, and it is also a gift from the universe. Therefore, to eat mindfully is a gift.