Ceramic markets are well known all over Asia for its handcrafted, artisan quality and feel.
From the small town of Arita - 有田 and Imari - 伊万里 in Saga Prefecture to Mashiko - 益子町 - in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan has artisans whom can create the perfect experience for any tabletop.
Thailand, with its own Thai Celedon has some beautiful handcrafted ceramic. With only a moped and the Nancy Chandler map, my wife and I found a green tea set in Chiangmai that to this day helps us share the Thai hospitality with guests to our home.
Most recently, I was lucky enough to take a trip to Icheon , in Gyeonggi-do Province, Korea. This village, a two hour drive from Seoul, is another excellent area to find many unique handcrafted plateware.
Icheon is very similar to most Asian pottery villages I have been to, where many unique shop fronts, all independently show their craft. Each shop has a similar feel in their ceramics, but with their own signature feeling - all tied together with one central kiln. This kiln helps to centralise costs and labor, freeing up the artisans to do what they do best, work with their hands.
If you find yourself looking for unique items to develop your food and beverage concepts, take a trip to the unique parts of Asia. While supporting 'local' is a trendy catchphrase, these towns offer what most chefs aspire for, handcrafted quality.