Miniature dumplings. Photo: Eric Siow.

At first glance, these pictures of Malaysian dishes just seem like your average food photos. But take a closer look and you’ll see that they’re tiny: dumplings smaller than a 5 cent coin, mixed rice trays that barely fit on a fingertip.

Pork mantou. Photo: Eric Siow.

These are the creations of Eric Siow, a graphic designer turned pastry chef who also happens to be a keen miniature food enthusiast. What is miniature food, you ask? It’s the art of creating teeny weensy models of food from polymer clay.

Steamed chicken and beansprouts. Photo: Eric Siow.

Miniature food clay craft is well established in places like Japan and the US, but Eric thinks that it’s yet to catch on in Malaysia. “There are many great clay teachers and artists in Malaysia, but they specialise in figurines, western pastry and plants –  not local delights,” says Eric.

Mixed rice. Photo: Eric Siow.

So what made him decide to pursue this hobby? “I like to eat, and also observe food, I like the food culture in Malaysia. Without the passion in food you can’t do miniature food,” explains Eric, who has now started teaching others how to make miniature Malaysian food.

Wan tan mee. Photo: Eric Siow.

“I enjoy the process of making a model, it’s unique and no two look the same. It’s three dimensional, long lasting; most of all, it gives me satisfaction when people tell me they thought it was real food. My next attempt will be Nyonya miniature food, that’s very difficult to do but I think I can conquer.”

Eric teaches miniature food clay craft for adult beginner, intermediate and advanced levels at Clayci Art Cafe, SS2, PJ.