Tag Archives: pinto

Meal Packaging: Tingkat

17 Mar

Takashimaya Mall in Singapore presented a Chinese New Year promotion a while back, offering a free food tingkat (pictured below) with a purchase above a certain minimum value at a household department.


Singaporean artist and blogger Heidi Koh took the following picture in Penang, Malaysia. For a still-life in oils she got a Peranakan (more on this in another blog entry) household utensils list from an aunt, which included a tingkat. Heidi says that the Peranakan people knew these colourful enamel food containers as tingkat (tiers) and that they were popularized in Penang, Malacca and Singapore during the British colonization.


Singapore celebrates an annual Food Festival. In July 2010 one of the many fringe events was the “Singapore Chinese Tingkat Cruise” on the Singapore river. From a bright red tingkat such as below left – which you got to keep! – you could taste Chinese dishes such as Teo Chew Carrot Cake, Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls and a Pokka Green Tea drink. The blogger KeropokMan (maybe brother to Henkel Man and Chicken Man?) has an entry on the river cruise on his blog Keropokman: Signapura Makan here. Keropok seems to be the Singapore word for the little prawn/shrimp crackers – I remember that my mom used to deep-fry colourful little krupuk (kroepoek) chips – as they are known in Indonesia (Dutch-colonial Indonesia) – when she made her Indonesian Rijsttafel, mmmm! KeropokMan also has a blog entry on tingkat-inspired-packaging here for mooncakes, part of the mid-autumn festival, which features in Judge Dee mysteries.


To find tingkat images on .sg-sites via google I used the word tingkat. For hits on .my-sites I had to use mangkuk tingkat, without really finding a sensible translation of this. In Malaysia the mangkuk tingkat gave its name to a reality TV cooking show, visuals below. TV9 , the channel presenting the now defunct series, classified it in the genre comedy. The idea: viewers meet celebrities who cook a challenging meal for them.

TV9_SHOWS_MT_header_814905714_kleintv9mt_logo_kleinSome other mangkuk tingkats I found were an old brass one, collected by baharuddinaziz presented on his blog collectible items


… and these more modern versions in stainless steel, plastic and foam from a Malaysian supplier.

Mangkuk_Tingkat_kombi_kleinParticularly astounding was this little gem from a news site: The Penang Municipal Council initiated a campaign against the use of polystyrene food containers by traders on the island. After a period of three months in which old stock may be used, any trader still offering food in or selling old stocks of polystyrene will be strictly dealt with. Google translation gives Public Health chairman Ong Ah Teong as saying “In contrast to other countries, they still do not run a campaign like this. We understand that this campaign is not a popular campaign, but for the sake of future generations of our children, it should be conducted. […] If the former can be decomposed polystyrene certainly it can be used. But because it was only able to decompose in 200 years time, we strictly do not want it used on the island state”. Below you see Ong Ah Teong (RHS) with Council Member Lim Cheng Ho (LHS) surrounded by packaging and exhorting traders to use mangkuk tingkats rather than polystyrene carriers.



Culinary practices in crime

9 Mar

Whodunnits – set in other times and places – are a favourite of mine, certainly because of the crime stories but also because of the small window into another culture and into another era, courtesy of the authors. Two in particular I would mention here: Firstly, the Erast Fandorin Series by Boris Akunin (Grigory Chkhartishvili), whose tongue-in-cheek treatment of his tsarist-Russian hero adds to my reading delight. Foodscapes in the form of banquets and cafes feature as backdrops for the unfolding stories.


Secondly, the Judge Dee Series by Robert van Gulik, set in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Here culinary habits add to the temporal setting. The detective escapades are based on the historical magistrate Di Renjie (or: Ti Jen-chieh). van Gulik, a Dutch diplomat to Asia, first translated an 18th century Chinese detective novel Dee Goong An on the legendary Tang statesman, before starting off on his successful series.


One of the recurring customs in the Judge Dee books is the serving of tea kept warm in a tea basket to the judge. I always imagine Judge Dee puzzling over the aspects of the crimes while sipping hot tea kept warm in a travelling tea set such as the following examples.

936746_kleintea 5_kleinteaset_kleinUnbenannt_kleinTea Set 2_klein

Meal Packaging: Henkelmann

7 Mar

If you were thinking that the tiffin, pinto and rantang are so very Asian, let me assure you that we can come up with some continental European versions too. I give you not Chicken Man, but Henkel Man from Germany.


The Henkelmann, which is the most widely used German term, has a history strongly intertwined with industrialisation and the move from farm/rural labour to factory/urban labour. So being, it is also strongly associated with the Ruhr area, where development was notably influenced by coal mining and steel giants. The Ruhr (represented by the city of Essen) was the European Capital of Culture in 2010.


Also known as a Döppen (loosely translated: dunking under water) in the local Ruhr dialect, these enamel or aluminium food carriers made their debut before the advent of company canteens. Typically housewives would fill the Henkelmann with a meal and the carrier+food would be heated by means of hot water or steam at the factory. Judging by the lunchbox market here and here there could be a renaissance underway…


In a similar turn on a theme as the Thai packaging designer did for pinto and rice here, the student canteen association in the city of Bochum (absolutely Ruhr) recently used well-known features of the henkelmann (white, metal carrier, portability) for its meal services.


The Ruhrpott, as the region is lovingly known, has some entrepreneurs upholding this cultural icon such as the soup-and-salad bar Henkelmann Deluxe in Düsseldorf below and the Jazz Club Henkelmann in Iserlohn below-below. The -pott part comes from pütt, a term used for the mines; much as we like to play with its cooking connotations (Der Pott kocht).


Meal Packaging: Some Pretty Modern Renditions

5 Mar

Today lets look at some more modern renditions of these food carriers. If we want to enable habit changes, whether it be what you carry your lunch to school/study/work in or your take-away concept, then I think we will only be successful if we make things (more) attractive. These make the mark IMHO, starting with the ceramic+teakwood rantang (next two pictures) from Jenggala Keramik company in Bali.

2010_06_29-rantang1_klein 2010_06_29-rantang2_kleinMiss Sinclaire has the tiffin lunch kit coming up next for sale on the artist platform BigCartel. It’s a two-tier ceramic version with a cork lid with a cloth strap & stainless steel fittings.


Melamine + colour = yay! These stacked carriers have been on the markets for some time but they are still delightful. The simple form and the bright colours make them very attractive while being rather durable and dishwasher-safe.


Food carriers like these are ideal for travelling in any form. Below is a stainless steel vacuum insulated food carrier with a food jar bag. The individual bowls have lids while the Thermos version includes chopsticks or folding spoons.


And then there is this beauty: Designer Rob Englert of Ram Industrial Design calls this Dabba (Lunchbox).  It has a felt covering-cum-placemat, a bamboo lid and silicone-based bowls. Roll on lunch & picnics.


Meal Packaging: Rantang

4 Mar

The set of stacked containers for transporting food is known in Indonesia as a RANTANG, such as these colourful enamel exemplars.


According to the translation help I got from Paralink customers in Banda Aceh below are shown considering golden rantangs for the hajj.


On a wordpress blog that wants Indonesians (and others) to stop selling ancient bikes overseas there was a nice picnic entry with rantangs (see the next two photos), which just goes to show that they are still very much part of life there (I hope so). (Translation courtesy of paralink)


While traversing the Indonesian Interwebs in search of yet more Rantangs I found some non-metal variations, such as the teak rantang up next, suggested use: snack plate when entertaining guests. Also bamboo and other woven versions, use: probably fruit, nuts, any dry foods, I guess, if used in a rantang sense, though they’re not really ones. The lower right hand one is an Ate Grass Basket, woven by Nengah Danantara, according to the artisan story that goes with the product.