KUALA LUMPUR: Three juicy red prawns lie on a bed of springy egg noodles but as you lean in to get a whiff of the delicious broth, you’re instead greeted by the flowery and refreshing scent of lavender.
This is just one of the many interesting treats that The Fanous House serves on their “menu” and as you scroll through their Instagram page, you’ll be shocked that these mouth-watering foods are actually scented soy and beeswax candles.
The extremely realistic candles are the brainchild of 30-year-old Jenn Lim, a self-proclaimed foodie who draws inspiration from some of Malaysia’s famous dishes to create her stunning candles.
From life-sized plates of nasi lemak to coffee shop staples like toast and half-boiled eggs, her whimsical creations can easily pass off as the real deal.
To no surprise, The Fanous House has gradually melted the hearts of many Malaysians since Lim turned her candle-making hobby into a side hustle in May.
“At first it wasn’t a business but because of the recent lockdown, I found myself with too much free time,” said Lim, who is self-taught in the art of candle-making and also runs her own jewellery and gold trading business.
“I’ve always loved candles and as I looked through my candle collection, I thought why not create my own?” said Kedah-born Lim.
After purchasing the necessary tools, Jenn embarked on her candle-making journey and with the help of YouTube tutorials, she expanded her newfound passion beautifully.
“It’s so interesting to recreate something from real life, so I started to buy moulds of all sorts and even bought moulding glue to make my own moulds; for my waffle mould, I actually froze a waffle in the freezer and then once it hardened, I poured the moulding glue over it,” she explained gleefully.
But how and why did she seek inspiration from food?
One night during a video-call with her sister, the two began reminiscing about their favourite childhood eats, and one dish stood out – Penang’s iconic bowl of prawn noodles.
Right after the call, Lim began tinkering well into the night with piles of candle wax and spent hours figuring out how to mould her favourite prawn noodle into a candle.
“The hardest part was the bean sprouts and it took me a long time to figure out how to replicate it’s curvy shape. I ended up using a cake mould as there was a curved line in it,” she said, noting that the design took her three full hours to complete.
Naturally, Lim’s approach to her unique candle-making style is a tedious one that requires a lot of experimenting.
“There’s no such thing as a rice mould so I ended up making the mould out of a crumpled sheet of aluminium foil,” she said, retelling the process of how she poured hot wax into a makeshift mould to achieve the detail of the nasi lemak rice.
“And for the cucumbers, I actually used a macaroon mould, while the ikan bilis was shaped according to the tip of a spoon,” she revealed with a laugh.
After hours of adding miniscule details and colouring each piece, Lim’s candles end up looking like perfect replicas of your favourite treats. However, she believes that there’s still one crucial element missing from her wax of a puzzle.
“I’d love to have the scent of the candles represent what it looks like, but making scents is a whole other ball game,” she said, adding that scent-making requires special and certified knowledge.
Even so, she’s hopeful that she’ll find a way some day to encapsulate these local aromas into her candles.
For now though, she’s determined to continue making realistic food candles that’ll leave her customers drooling for more.
Check out Lim’s delicious candles at The Fanous House on Instagram and message her if you’d like to treat yourself or someone special to her unique wax works.