It is often said that “a picture paints a thousand words”, but when you are talking about food; nothing comes closer to the real thing than the innovative plastic food replicas that are a staple of restaurant windows in Japan and throughout Asia. Anything from sushi, noodle soups, spaghetti, desserts and drinks can and are replicated in order to entice diners to step inside.
This method of stirring up an appetite for delicious food and drink is believed to have it’s origin during the Meiji era of Japan, or the late 19th century. Around this time, western foods were starting to become more readily available in Japan; but mere written descriptions were not enough to explain the exotic dishes and encourage the curious to try something new.
It is believed that a young entrepreneur named Iwasaki had the original idea to create wax models of novel food in order to show the citizens of Japan what they could expect from the variety of Western foods that were slowly becoming popular. He knew that wax models were often used for physicians to study the human body and thought that the same process could be used as a marketing tool for restaurant and shop owners as well. His first creation was a rice omelet that he reproduced in wax from his shop in Osaka and he soon found a market for this replica and many more soon followed. Because this was a great business idea, other manufacturers followed suit; but to this day his original company, “Iwasaki Be-I” is one of the most famous in Japan.
Although the original replicas were cast in wax molds; they are made today in high quality plastic. The art form of replica foods has evolved to a science that enables the replication company to make exact replicas of whatever product the restaurant or shop wishes to create. The replica makers are also considered artists and it takes about two years for them to develop the skills necessary to produce realistic models as ordered.
When a replication request is desired; the restaurant must first prepare the dish or beverage that they wish to have re- created. Then, there are numerous photographs taken from all angles by the replication artist and careful notes are made regarding the placement of all the items on the plate or in the cups or bowls. The actual food must then be taken to the factory right away; where it must be dipped in liquid silicon to make a mold. When the silicon dries, the food is removed and what remains is an exact sized mold of the food item, ranging from sushi to tempura, noodles or steaks and any type of dessert. The replica artists will then prepare pre-made garnishes and sauces to further enhance the realism of the completed dishes.
The factory is full of fake chopped onions, carrots, rice, seafood, fruits and just about anything that is needed in real life to make a complete dish. The artists re-create the dishes using the fake ingredients much as a real chef would use the appropriate recipe that is needed to make the final product. There are powders in all colors that can be mixed to create identical sauces and soups, and fake chopped meat or seafood and vegetables that can be added to create a spaghetti sauce or noodle dish. When the replica mold is decorated to satisfaction, the mold is placed in an oven to harden and “voila”, the fake food is ready to go! Essentially, whatever can be made in a kitchen can be replicated in these factories.
Of course, many restaurants will reserve the identical replication requests only for their special dishes or signature meals as they are quite expensive to make. There is a place in Japan called Kappabashi that is renowned for its replication shops that offer generic reproductions of most standard fare. It is popular with restaurateurs and tourists seeking a more inexpense version of generic foodstuffs in order to display their wares and is also is very popular as an attraction and as a place to purchase a unique souvenir. Even these replications are not cheap; they usually start from fifty dollars on up. However, with proper care- these replicas will last a long time.
, we offer an inexpensive and novel way for you and your friends to enjoy the amazing quality of our replicated sushi finds. We have found the best reproductions of enticing sushi dangling from charming key chains that include your favorites such as: Egg Sushi Key Chain
, or Shrimp Sushi
to name but a few. A great way to declare your fondness of sushi while keeping your photos or important papers in view, but out of the way, is to select your favorite sushi from the many types of sushi magnets we carry. You can choose from the Tuna Roll Sushi Magnet
, Red Snapper Sushi Magnet
; and for the more gourmet sushi fans, we even have The Sea Urchin Sushi Magnet
and The Salmon Roe Sushi Magnet
along with the more common pieces. A great idea is to create a total sushi platter on your refrigerator or file cabinet with all your favorite pieces. Because MrsLinsKitchen has done the legwork for you, you can enjoy realistic, miniature pieces of sushi everyday much more inexpensively than the real thing. Just don’t be surprised when these pieces have you craving sushi in the middle of the day or night.