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.
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.
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.