Edible paper is paper which can be safely consumed by people. As a general rule, it has a neutral flavor and texture, and usually it is designed to melt away upon contact with moisture. There are numerous variations on the basic edible paper concept, including flavored versions and varieties with more texture. Cooking supply stores usually stock this product, and people can also make their own, with the right equipment.
Technically speaking, most paper products are edible, in that people will not experience health problems as a result of eating them, but conventional paper is not very fun or easy to eat, because it has a high cellulose content and it is designed to last. Edible paper is classically made from rice and other starches, and the texture is much softer and more giving. While it may not be terribly exciting or fun to eat, it poses much less of a challenge than something like newspaper.
Most commonly, people use edible paper in cake decorating. They can print or paint a design on the paper with edible ink and then apply it to a cake. The moisture from the icing dissolves the paper, causing the image to sink into the frosting as though it has been printed on the cake. Commercial cake appliqués which home cooks can use to decorate their cakes rely on the same principal.
Other types of edible paper are designed to wrap sticky foods so that they do not make a mess before they are eaten. This practice is especially common in Asia, where edible papers are used to wrap candy and confections. People can peel the paper off, or eat it along with the candy. This type of edible paper tends to be a bit more durable, as it needs to be able to resist some moisture, but the heat and moisture of the mouth usually causes it to break up very quickly.
People can also use this type of paper as a novelty product. Edible origami, edible paper flowers, and a variety of other craft projects can be made with paper which is safe to eat, and decorated with safe inks and food colorings. Edible menus are another interesting way to use edible paper; restaurants which like to use edgy or peculiar devices to intrigue customers may offer their menus on edible papers, and in these cases the paper or ink may be flavored to add to the experience.