Love of food is just as strong as any geek fandom, and now you can show off your favorites with pieces of flair. Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot — an Asian pop culture magazine turned art gallery and brick and mortar store — has used his beloved Sawtelle Japantown neighborhood as his muse to create pins based on popular Asian eats (gallery below).
Sawtelle Japantown in West Los Angeles is a street dotted with ramen joints, boba shops and tons of Japanese-American pop culture. Truth be told, I’m there every week as it’s some of the best food in the city. Based on a wave of nostalgia, enamel pins are collectibles that allow the wearers to show off their style and these pins reflect those dishes that are doled out on the daily.
Boba tea has reached worldwide popularity and one pin features that sweet, refreshing milk tea with little kawaii boba eyes. Just as popular as boba right now and set for world domination is ramen. The number of ramen shops nowadays is staggering and here you can show your love for either shoyu broth or tonkotsu.
Sushi is represented with toro, hamachi and uni enamel pins. For non-raw fish eating sushi lovers, futomaki and its close cousin Korean Kimbap are sushi rolls filled with pickled veggies and meat — it’s an old school jam and depicted in pin form along with spam musubi for all the Hawaiians in the house.
My favorite pin and possibly the most obscure is the Suama Mochi pin. Suama is a Japanese wagashi snack also known as “Poor Man’s Mochi” because it’s unfilled and made with non-glutinous rice flour. The pin depicts a pastel pattern native and familiar to Southern California mochi-lovers. The mochi is red (pink) and white to symbolize celebration.
These pins are a cool nod to Japanese-American food culture in Los Angeles but the designs are universal. They also make you very, very hungry the more you stare at them.
Check all the pin designs in the gallery below. The Asian food pins are available in store and online at giantrobot.com