The Plastic Foods of Kappabashi
Perched atop the Niimi Building, the giant head of an Italian chef welcomes visitors to Kappabashi-dōri, a street whose shops sell everything needed to run the restaurants of Tokyo: chopsticks, cups, bowls, knives, takeaway containers and, naturally, an infinite variety of plastic foods.
We love plastic food. When deciding between restaurants, we’ll always choose the one with the most plastic food in its windows. No, it’s not some strange new diet. It’s just that, in Japan, menus tend to be written in Japanese and only Japanese. (The nerve!) Frequently, the plastic foods in the window are the only way for us to know what’s being offered. They also provide a convenient way to order. Rather than attempting to mime “Curry Udon”, we can just drag the waitress outside and point.
On Kappabashi-dōri, we discovered the stores in which Tokyo’s restaurants buy their plastic foods. More than mere marketing tools, these fake plates of spaghetti, donkatsu, sushi and cakes are vibrant, brilliant works of art, which should be admired and adored. Ice cream! Sashimi! Hamburgers and overflowing mugs of beer! It all looked so good, I had to constantly remind myself that “this is plastic, plastic, plastic”, lest I succumb to a futile biting frenzy.
It’s not all plastic foods on Kappabashi-dōri. There are other stores selling any kind of kitchenware you could want, from ceramic plates to tea sets, all at bargain-basement prices. This is an area meant for restaurants to buy in bulk, but unlike at Tsukiji’s wholesale fish market, visitors are more than welcome to browse and make their own purchases.
Attack on Titan!
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April 18, 2014 at 3:06 am