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Mapping the Food Universe

A collaboration between Bryan Wu and Thy Tran

Figure 1. Topology-based handheld food classification system

Figure 2. Mapping the Dumpling Universe

Figure 1.

A Topology-based Handheld Food Classification System v1.1 (proposed)


  1. Sandwich = two+ distinct manifolds (surfaces with boundaries aka edges) of carbohydrates on either side of a filling

  2. Layered items = one distinct surface with topping on one side of the surface

  3. Wrap = Filling is semi-enclosed by a surface

  4. Dumpling = Totally closed carb surface that encapsulates a filling

  5. Aggregate = A volume with voids containing bits of filling

Fun fact: When a hard-shell taco breaks along its spine during eating (and it will), it transitions from a Wrap to a Sandwich!

See also: Mapping the Dumpling Universe

2015 Bryan Wu & Thy Tran