Fake Food

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It is quite impressive to see a delicious display of dishes in front of the restaurants in Japan. They actually look real as if chefs had just made them first thing in the morning. But all Japanese know they are fakes! They are tasteless and not edible.

These food models easily capture the appetite of customers and they make it easy to decide on what you want to order because you can actually see exactly what you are getting! They are mainly made from wax and gelatin and painted with colors. They have practically no expiration date!  So you don’t waste any food at all. 

The food models were invented in Japan at the beginning of the 20th century. Mr. Takizo Iwasaki was a pioneer who introduced the food model technique to all of Japan, building a successful business in the process.  He came up the idea in Osaka and built a factory at Gunjoyawata, Gifu prefecture, his hometown. Gifu is now the number one producer of food models in the country, with its market share at about 60%.  In other words, more than half of the delicious food displays in Japan come from Gifu! It’s great fun to join some of the plant tours and watch how the food models are made.  Many factories accept a reservation and allow tourists to experience food model making for themselves.

These food models are not just made to be used in the restaurant industry. They are attractive items for anyone to possess. It is not surprising that they are “must have” souvenirs among foreign visitors!  Sushi lovers can have many choices of permanent Sushi look likes. There are other unique yet functional pieces widely available, such as “tempura shrimp shaped USB memory sticks”,  “omelet computer mouses”, “cake key holders” and “pizza smart phone covers”, the list going on endlessly.  They look so real, even with a closer look. Gifu food models could really surprise an unsuspected colleague or boss who happen to find one on the desk! We hope it will be one of the pleasant sort.

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