A Japanese Shioyaki (salted grilled fish) Candle

In Japan, Shioyaki, salted grilled fish (pictured top left) is traditionally cooked over a charcoal grill. I made my red snapper (pictured top right) using a plastic mold. The wax fish was then hand painted using the other picture as a model.

To increase the depth of this candle, I decided to place it over a bed of rice. Since I didn’t have a silicone mold for rice, I steamed a pot of short grained sticky rice on the premise that its natural glutinous properties would help with holding it together better than long grain rice. After letting the rice cool, I molded it into a rectangular shape and froze it to make it nice and firm for the silicone. Once the rice was frozen, I glued it into the bottom of a plastic carton. After letting the glue set, I refroze the rice. After the rice was again nice and firm, I mixed some silicone and poured it over the rice.

The rice popped free from from the bottom of the mold and floated to the top of the silicone thereby ruining the mold.

I wound up buying this sushi silicone mold from this vendor on Etsy. Since there is no candle oil fragrance for rice, I mixed ginger, lemon grass, bacon, hickory smoke, and garlic. This is the same fragrance mixture that I used for the fish. As a side note, I will mention that fresh fish should NEVER smell fishy. It should smell fresh, briny, and sweet.

To avoid adding too much fragrance to the rice, I weighed the wax and added 10% of its weight in candle fragrance oils. Since I wanted to simulate white rice, I did not add any colorants. After making several sushi molds, I “glued” them together using warm wax. I then placed the fish on top of the rice.

This candle was sized to fit a heavy glass banana split dish. To add color, I made some Chinese cabbage (pictured left) using another mold. Although I had originally wanted to place this cabbage under the fish and rice, I wound up not doing this given the limited depth of the dish. Instead of placing the cabbage under the fish and rice, I wound up adding it to either end. I simulated an underlying bed of cabbage by adding crumbled pieces of this wax model along the top and bottom sides of the fish.

To make the candle even more visually interesting, I made some baby carrots and chopped green onions. The carrots were formed using a silicone mold. The green onions were made by pouring wax onto a non-stick silicone baking mat. After the wax had cooled, I used a pair of scissors to cut “green onions”. The sauce was made using candle gel mixed with Golden Soy 402 (container candle wax) and a bit of black and brown dye. The melted gel mixture was poured over the fish. The vegetables were then quickly applied.

Although the cabbage was a uniform light green with off-white stems, I decided to give some of the cabbage more of a bok choy or Swiss chard appearance by literally using acrylic paint to paint some of the leaves dark green.

Pictured below is a closeup of the red snapper’s head.

Here is the tail.

I made this candle as a proof of concept model and for the fun of just seeing if I could really do it. Given how labor intensive this candle was, it’s unlikely that I will ever make very many of these.

In making this candle I also took some artistic liberties. Shioyaki would never actually be served this way. The fish would be on a platter with appropriate dipping sauces served in tiny bowls. The rice would be in a separate bowl. The vegetables would be in yet another bowl. Serving food this way allows diners to pick and choose morsels of fish and vegetables to eat with their rice. Since this was not conducive to presenting this candle, I put the fish on top of the rice and added vegetables around the fish.

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