One of the coolest things in Japan is the fake food. Restaurants across Japan have these vivid display windows filled with lifelike food. It is incredible.
Where does this fake food come from? I found out a couple months ago, when a friend took me to the Fake Food Museum in Tokyo. And, at the museum, they had a little “gift shop” where you can buy and assemble your own fake food. They had products such as spaghetti, ice cream sundaes, mabu tofu, and pizza.
Each box had the level posted (ranked from one to four) as well as the price (freakishly expensive). I picked up a green melon ice cream sundae set for about $17. It looked like this. It was ranked level two – something that seemed feasible enough for a newbie like me. Since the instructions are in Japanese – I wanted to translate it into English. Or at least make a guide for people who bought a similar box set of fake food props.
How to make an Ice Cream Parfait: Japanese fake prop food (Preparation)
1. Go to the Fake Food Museum and buy a box of your favorite flavored parfait props
I wrote a post earlier about the Fake Food and Food Prop museum and shop in Tokyo (to read it, click here). They have a couple selections of prop food you can buy (pre-assembled) or box sets (assemble yourself). I really wanted to make my own, so I picked parfait.
2. Look at the instructions for preparation.
As I mentioned before, the instructions were all in Japanese. However, I wouldn’t worry about it. They were nice enough to include pictures.
3. Spread out the contents
You should have:
- One cherry
- One pineapple slice
- One pear (?) slice
- One peach (?) slice
- Two oranges
- Several sticks of un-cut sprinkles
- One parfait cup
- Plastic flavor bottle with a red cap
- One bag of whip cream
4. Cut the sprinkles, pineapple, and other fruits.
The fruits and sprinkles will come in blocks. You need to cut them up. I ended up making the sprinkles a bit too long and the pineapple chunks a little awkwardly shaped. Make sure you have a strong, sharp pair of scissors. I tried with a knife (fail) and a dull pair of scissors (ended up with awkward shapes). Once you finish, it should look like this: (and no, I don’t actually know what the other fruits are. Sorry. The only thing you DON’T need to cut up is the orange slices)
5. Pour boiling water into a ceramic cup and drop in the plastic container of “color”
In the packet, there should be a small, plastic container with a red lid. My parfait was melon flavored, so the flavoring was green. Just drop the liquid in the cup of boiling water for about three minutes (until it is a smooth liquid). While you do this, find the “whip cream” packet. Right before you pour in the flavoring, pierce the top of the whip cream and attach the tip. The whip cream dries in less than a minute, so only do this right before you are ready to pour in the flavoring.
Fake food Parfait: Making and designing your Parfait
6. After the flavoring is fully melted – pour it into the cup
7. Pour the whip cream packet on top.
The whip cream is pretty hard to squeeze out. Don’t worry if you mess up in the beginning – it will be squished by the fruit in the middle, so no one will see your mistake in the “final” form. Try to push the whip cream under the flavor packet – it looks a lot cooler in the end.
8. When you get half-way to the top, stop.
Time to put in the fruit.
9. Arrange some fruit.
Try to put the fruit on the outside – so you can see it in the final form. There is a lot of fruit.
10. Finish putting the whip cream on the top.
You will have to do a couple different layers. The whip cream is a strong enough consistency that you can pile it up as high as you want.
11. Add some fruit on top
This was the recommended layout. It ended up looking pretty classy. In the end, the cherry looked a little bit fake – so if I had to a chance to do it again, I would skip the cherry. It ended up being the only think that looked “fake” in the final product of the Japanese fake food.
12. Put in the sprinkles
I finished it in time for my (future) sister-in-law’s 21st birthday. She had a long day out with her friends; when she came back, we handed her the finished product and told her we purchased a parfait for her birthday.
I hid it in the freezer beforehand, so it was believable. We were wondering whether she would lick it or not. She didn’t. Instead, she tried to eat one of the oranges.
Once she found out they were fake, she was a bit disappointed – but we all got a good laugh out of it.
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