Watch Teeny Tiny Japanese Meals Get Made in a Miniature Kitchen: The Joy of Cooking Mini Tempura, Sashimi, Curry, Okonomiyaki & More

Every time I go to Japan, I mar­vel at the arti­fi­cial sand­wich­es, omelets, bowls of noo­dles, and par­faits dis­played out­side even the hum­blest shop­ping-arcade cafés, all made to give the cus­tomer a more vivid sense of the dish­es on offer than would any two-dimen­sion­al pho­to­graph. But while those fake foods, made to scale with polyvinyl chlo­ride and oth­er ined­i­ble mate­ri­als, do reflect Japan’s long tra­di­tion of high-qual­i­ty hand-crafts­man­ship, they don’t reflect some of the cul­ture’s oth­er virtues: the advanced Japan­ese skills of minia­tur­iza­tion (remarked upon by even the ear­li­est West­ern vis­i­tors to the once-closed coun­try), not to men­tion the deli­cious­ness of actu­al Japan­ese food.

At a stroke, the Youtube chan­nel Minia­ture Space com­bines all of those into a sin­gle project: its cre­ators repli­cate a vari­ety of clas­sic Japan­ese, West­ern, and Japan­ese-West­ern dish­es like shrimp tem­pu­ra, cur­ry, and okonomiya­ki on video, all at what seems an impos­si­bly small scale. Not only that, but they use only minia­ture kitchen tools, right down to wee knives, spat­u­las, and rolling pins as well as tea can­dle-pow­ered stoves.

Some of these, writes iDig­i­tal­Times’ ND Med­i­na, “come from Re-Ment, a Japan­ese com­pa­ny not­ed for the impres­sive detail of its minia­tures. How­ev­er, many of the tools used have long been out of pro­duc­tion, like any­thing by Kon­a­pun, a brand which made fun minia­ture cook­ing sets for kids to expe­ri­ence the joys of cook­ing.”

Minia­ture cook­ing at this lev­el of rig­or requires not just con­sid­er­able man­u­al dex­ter­i­ty but a cer­tain knack for cre­ative sub­sti­tu­tion: tooth­picks instead of stan­dard skew­ers, quail eggs instead of chick­en eggs, spe­cial shrimp from the aquar­i­um sup­ply store small enough to fit inside one’s thim­ble-sized cook­ing pot. Though aes­thet­i­cal­ly sat­is­fy­ing on many lev­els and tech­ni­cal­ly edi­ble to boot, these mini-meals would­n’t sat­is­fy any nor­mal human appetite. Nev­er­the­less, watch­ing enough Minia­ture Space videos in a row will almost cer­tain­ly get you hun­ger­ing for a reg­u­lar-sized grill of yak­i­tori, bowl of spaghet­ti, or plate of pan­cakes — and leave you with some of the know-how need­ed to make such dish­es, even in a non-minia­ture kitchen.

You can view a playlist of minia­ture Japan­ese cook­ing here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Cook­pad, the Largest Recipe Site in Japan, Launch­es New Site in Eng­lish

How Japan­ese Things Are Made in 309 Videos: Bam­boo Tea Whisks, Hina Dolls, Steel Balls & More

Build Your Own Minia­ture Sets from Hayao Miyazaki’s Beloved Films: My Neigh­bor Totoro, Kiki’s Deliv­ery Ser­vice & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.