Of all the art-you-can-eat creations that seem to be trending in Japan these days, most use easily manipulated and relatively sturdy substances such as rice and grated daikon radish, plus obvious stuff like cake and marzipan. So if these trendy edible canvases rank an eight or a nine on a 1-to-10 food art skill rating, we’d have to wager that ice-based food art is cranking it up to 11. And with ice melting in a matter of minutes, you’d think somebody would have to be crazy to try and make an edible sculpture out of it.
We can picture it now: The poor, young shaved ice art prodigy ridiculed and shunned by the food art community, forced to take his craft to far-off Okinawa and a decrepit-looking shop on an unassuming corner to carry out his trade in relative anonymity.
That’s the romantic backstory we have in our heads for how Yonehachi Soba in Okinawa City found its resident shaved ice master, anyway. The below creations are apparently the work of a mohawked 20-something who works at the long-running store, and they look so complex and downright beautiful we’d be more inclined to rush them to the nearest air-conditioned museum than tuck in with a spoon:
▼ On second thought, we went with eating it…
The skill and innate talent that must be required to put these amazing sculptures together becomes even more apparent when you consider that they must be painstakingly hand-crafted with tiny shards of shaved ice that are quickly melting under the heat of the sculptor’s hands.
And to think of how viciously proud I was at the gorgeous macaroni duck I made for my mom at the tender age of 27.
Also sort of shocking is that Yonehachi Soba doesn’t even really seem to advertise the shaved ice sculptures. Soba, the place’s main dish, is right there in the name, while nothing but a generic, mass-produced sign for “shaved ice” even indicates the cold treat is on the menu at all.
▼ Come for the shaved ice, stay for the delicious soba.
A bowl of Yonehachi Soba’s “Triathlon Soba” – with three types of pork – and a shaved ice dessert will set you back the astonishingly cheap sum of just 950 yen (US$9.50). If you find yourself in Okinawa for whatever reason (you lucky devil…), be sure to check out Yonehachi Soba’s website for directions.
And if you want to try your own hand at a shaved ice sculpture, you can check out this delightfully quirky video of the anonymous Yonehachi Soba chef at work:
Source: Another Tokyo