Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Singapore Fake Food - Plastic Food Models

Take a look at this picture, and it sure looks like a delectable bowl of local wanton mee, and you will be hard pressed to think it is fake.

But it is, for this entire bowl is made of pvc and plastic, and it is totally inedible. Yet, it looks incredibly realistic and utterly yummy. It is, in fact, a prime example of Singapore food models.

I was very fortunate enough to meet up with Philip Lim, a local designer who actually runs a business to custom build food models like the wanton mee above.

Philip is probably the only one in town who does this for local and Singaporean food, and unlike the Japanese food models you see in Waraku and such, his models are actually much closer to the real thing.

Chicken Rice Model

To make each model is not easy, and it is also somewhat costly as each model has to have a custom build mould made first. 

To do that, Philip has to send an actual food sample that is specially vacuum packed and even freeze dried, overseas to his mould makers in places like Japan and Taiwan.

Prata Model (With Curry Sauce)

From there, a mould is made out of vinyl using the food sample and then PVC plastic is poured into the mould to create the final model and sculpt.

This is where it gets tricky as only experienced mould makers will know the details of how much viscosity to use for the PVC that is needed and how to elicit the best details from the food samples.

Fried Rice Model

After the sculpt has been made, the next phase is the detailed coloring process and this is where the food model comes to life.

Using the food samples as a guide, talented colorists will put the final touches to the food model to replicate the same color details as the original.

Strudel Model

Lastly, final and fine details like sesame seeds are added to things like chicken wings and such to give the final look. In fact, actual sesame seeds are coated first with a special protective finish to give it a more realistic look.

Once it is finished, the models are then carefully packed and shipped back here to Philip's clients for display. All in all, it is an arduous process but the final result is quite stunning.

Char Siew Bau Model

Take a look at this incredible char siew bau model and you can see the details of the fillings and the sponge so intricately reproduced, it is really hard to tell it apart from the real thing until you actually touch it.

Currently, no one else has done food models of local food except for Philip, and he has an ambition to create an entire line of Singapore food models.

Unfortunately, the cost of making this is not cheap (about $150-$200) as this includes all the shipping and mould making costs which is usually only one time as this is not a mass produced product.

Philip Lim

Still, Philip has a string of eager clients that range from private collectors to the Singapore Museum who recognise the artistry of these beautifully crafted models and Philip is hopeful to accomplish his goal one day.

In our pursuit of local food delights, it is gratifying to see a local foodie put his skills and talents to good use in replicating our favorite food in an artistic and visually appealing way.

Who knows, maybe in time to come, Philip's food models will become very rare collectors' items that future generations will want to collect and keep as national treasures.

In light of our evolving and sometimes disappearing street food culture, it is heartening to know that, at least the images of this culture is still preserved in a 3-dimensional form by folks like Philip Lim.

If you are interested to know more about Philip's works, or perhaps you are keen to get him to do some models for you, you can reach him at:

Philip Lim
Mobile: 96745435

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