a bunch of different types of food

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Food models, commonly seen in the display cabinets of Japanese restaurants, are usually made from plastic or resin. But Japanese Twitter user @meganenooo has shown us that these food models can be made from paper too – specifically washi , a Japanese craft paper.

These paper foods — pizza margherita, tempura (fritters), sunny-side-up egg, and salmon bento box — were created by Twitter user @meganenooo’s father. Given washi ’s texture and its slightly translucent look, the food models not only look realistic, but also incredibly appealing.

@meganenooo explained that his father, who was in his seventies, started working on these paper foods as a means to kill time. Accompanying the explanation are mouth-watering yet fake Japanese delicacies: hot pot, egg omelette and fried shrimp.

The old artist creates these food models by using cardboard boxes or paper with similar thickness as a base, and sticking strips of washi on it using glue. He does not add any colour, but instead carefully chooses the washi with the colour that he needs, and stacks the strips to create subtle colour differences. Hidden within this level of commitment is indeed the warmth of a “home-cooked meal”.

His most popular work last year is the takoyaki (octopus balls), which he recreated from what you would usually see when the cook flips the balls over to grill the top side. Interestingly, the art piece replicates the scene as if time has stopped: the left of the takoyaki grill shows the balls that are already flipped, the middle with half-turned balls, while the right is the uncooked batter.

Even the takoyaki grill is made from paper!

This washi art was so well-received that there is even a mini exhibition of the paper foods, which is being held in Osaka until 18 February. Over 20 artworks, including unpublished ones, are on display.

If you think realistic but inedible food is not for you, check out these edible miniature foods by a Japanese YouTuber.