Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly Atlas of Eating Issue

Local Lens: Our Favorite Instagram Tongue Teasers

Hailing from Vietnam, Turkey and Italy, these photographers show that a love of beautifully arranged food knows no borders

Smithsonian Journeys Quarterly

When exploring the world—whether places close to us or far away—food can be a gateway to unknown pleasures. So it’s not surprising that so many of Instagram’s 500 million users focus their lenses on canapés, cupcakes, cappuccinos and other culinary delights. (At the time of this writing, a casual search for the tag #vietnamesefood yields 802,821 posts.) Much like the mushroom forager, scanning the forest floor for rare specimens, we scoured the wilds of Instagram to find photographers whose food images stood out. A few of our favorites:

Nguyên Công Bình and Nguyên Ngoc Yên—a husband and wife team from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam— have a passion for food photography that began with a desire to capture the simple beauty of their everyday meals. From there they expanded to more artistic interpretations, work that showcases the wide range of color and form that make traditional Vietnamese cuisine so unique.

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Another married team, Gülçin Atalay Tunç and her husband, Berat Tunç, blend their love of food and travel with freelance work as photographers and videographers. In one shot, they elegantly capture some of what makes life in Istanbul, Turkey so enticing: family, Turkish coffee and Old World charm.

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Mahroo Amiri, born and raised in Tehran, now lives in Lake Como, Italy. She retains strong connections to Iran and its cuisine. “I remember my grandma’s kitchen as a very mysterious place, with cardamom perfume and open cupboards filled with copper saucepans,” she says. That allure persists. “It’s a beautiful, vast country with many different geographical landscapes, people from various ethnic groups and cultures, and lifestyles which even for me, who was born and grew up there, are unique.”

A photo posted by نُقلِ مِى (@noghlemey) on

Read more from the Smithsonian Journeys Travel Quarterly Atlas of Eating Issue

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