Plastic Japanese fake food

Plastic Japanese fake food

At the stunning new Aeon shopping mall in central Okayama, the sixth and seventh floors are a delight for foodies. Creating their own separate world, isolated from the hubbub around them, concept restaurants offer every variety of Asian food.

But it’s the way their food is merchandised that grabbed our eyes. Outside every restaurant, the menu is presented on plates, its texture reminding us of Lenin lying in his subterranean Red Square tomb, and for a few moments we did wonder if this was actually real food embalmed. But no. Somewhere in Japan there must be a factory where chefs can send their dishes to be converted into plastic fake food.

We went online for more facts and discovered that fake food called sampuru, which originated in 1926, is a multi-million Yen business; restaurants pay a lot to have their dishes faithfully reproduced. First, silicon is poured over the food to create a mould, this is then filled with plastic and the whole thing cooked in an oven, followed by intricate detailing and painting, and a few secret techniques.

It’s interesting that whilst this food promotion is standard in Japan, where people want to taste with their eyes, we haven’t seen it (yet) in any other country. A quirky example of how modern Japanese culture delightfully surprises and may always remain an enigma. To our British eyes, fake food seems just too shiny and plasticky to be appealing.


3 thoughts on “Plastic Japanese fake food

  1. I was 13 years old when I visited Japan and I remember just being amazed and fascinated by these plastic displays of food. I would stand there staring and debating whether this was real food that was somehow entombed and preserved in plastic. This bothered me for years actually. Though back then, there was no such thing as the internet and I wasn’t able to get the answer so readily myself. I watched a video on YouTube last year at a factory where they make these plastic replicas. I am just amazed at the Japanese infatuation of plastic in general – including packaging. Each individual piece of product – one of many in a package will also be individually packed.


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