Kappabashi Street is a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan popular for its various restaurant and kitchen supply stores. Aside from those, however, there is a shop that sells “fake food” or food replicas called Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya. Their food replica products are ideal for display and souvenirs. Why don’t we check out the step-by-step process of making food replica?
The actual origin of food replica in Japan is unknown. However, it is said that they were invented between the end of the Taisho period and the beginning of the Showa period. It was invented by more than one researcher and some artisans from different areas. Its popularity became widespread in Japan along with the rising trend of restaurants and department stores. Food replicas are often used to model food outside of cafes and restaurants.
The original material for making food replicas was wax. However, since wax tends to melt under the sun, the material changed to resin which is more durable.
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In Tokyo’s Kappabashi Kitchen Town lies Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya, a shop easily noticeable by its spaghetti Neapolitan logo. Aside from selling food replica products, they also offer a workshop (60 to 75 minutes) for those who want to experience making their own. If you want to participate, make sure to book in advance for the shop doesn’t allow same-day bookings. Also, the workshop will be in Japanese so if you don’t understand the language, you should bring a translator with you.
A staff will teach you how to make the food replica and it is very important to follow the instructions carefully.
The first step in making your food replica is choosing the “ingredients.” If you are making a tempura, you can choose from seven ingredients: bell pepper, eggplant, sweet potato, shrimp, mushroom, pumpkin, and lotus root. You can choose different ingredients to make your plate look colorful.
After choosing the ingredients, you now have to make the “batter” for your tempura. Next, you have to cover your base ingredient with the batter. Make sure not to touch the surface too much in order to not ruin it. Then, you need to shape it under cold water. You’ll be surprised to produce an authentic-looking tempura from every angle! It is advisable to wrap your finished product in plastic since wax is prone to collecting dust.
Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The shop is a five-minute walk from Exit A2 of Asakusa Station, a 12-minute walk from Tawaramachi Station, or a 15-minute walk from Exit 1 of Iriya Station.
If you’d like to experience the world of food replica, you should definitely try this workshop at Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya. It will allow you to appreciate traditional Japanese culture as well as your own handmade creation. You can bring your food replica creations home and share the exciting experience with your family and friends! (Or, you can also try and trick them.)