Posted by: David Stewart | June 5, 2011

Where do restaurants come from?

OK gang, you have decided to create a restaurant, or refurbish an old one. Fortunately, you live in Tokyo, where you can buy all you need in one place.

Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street

Yes, it’s Kappabashi. For years I have heard of the street where you can go in Tokyo to find plastic food.

Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street

Most restaurants in Japan have a display case out in front which contains little life-like models of the food that they offer. These displays are really helpful when you want to know what a place serves and you can’t read the menu. Some of this stuff is just crazy realistic looking. Like I honestly thought this steak was real food:

Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street

But it’s more than just the plastic food. You can really find everything needed to set up a restaurant, at least one in Japan. Rice cookers, pots and pans, knives, mixers, display cases, chairs and tables, uniforms, ketchup and mustard bottles, order forms, utensils, dishes, glasses, chopsticks, tablemats, Chinese lanterns, signs and display boards, even signs which say "open" and "closed".

Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street Kappabashi - Kitchenware StreetKappabashi - Kitchenware Street

I especially liked the place which sold just coffee making equipment.  With of course every conceivable form of device for making coffee – and the place next door which sold green coffee beans and roasting equipment.

Kappabashi - Kitchenware Street

Great fun … and here’s a tip: I found at least three shops selling plastic food. If you want to take some home as a souvenir, hold out until you get the the third store, the one farthest away from the subway station. This place has much lower prices on their plastic.

But if you take some home, and they ask you in customs if you brought home any food, what would you say?

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