Anyone who loves the work of Yasujiro Ozu, the famous filmmaker I often describe to the (shocking amount of) people who’ve never heard of him—let alone seen classics like Tokyo Story and Good Morning—as the Japanese Jacques Tati, has at some point watched Wim Wenders’ ode to Ozu, Tokyo-Ga. In it, Wenders documents a shop that make the fake wax replicas of dishes often shown outside Japanese restaurants all around the world (created with as much painstaking attention to detail as Ozu pays to his films). Little know fact: these don’t all come from some massive restaurant depot that sells generic-looking bowls of noodles or plates of fish. In Japan, restaurants specially commission the dishes modeled after the exact menu they serve.
As Wenders describes, “It all starts with real food, over which a gelatinous mass is poured, then cooled. The finished molds that result are filled with wax, and then these wax forms are trimmed, painted, and worked on further.”
Watch the fascinating clip from the film to see exactly how it’s done. There are other methods, too, like these ways of making a head of lettuce and shrimp tempura.
And if you’re wondering if you, too, can commission your own fake food, the answer is yes. In fact this company will not only make it for you, but they’ll make it into a keychain or a pair of earrings, too.