Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Japanese Fake Food Displays


Near the entrance of many Japanese restaurants, there are often elaborate displays showing plastic replicas of menu items. We were a little bemused by all this fake food. Personally, I didn't find anything tempting or appetizing about these displays.

But according to Wikipedia, fake food displays have a long history in Japanese culture and are a real art form. They are called sampuru, which comes from the English word "sample." Such displays first started appearing in the 1800s and were made out of wax. Now they're hand-molded out of plastic vinyl and cost big bucks to manufacture. Custom-made for each restaurant, replicas of a complete menu can cost over a million yen to produce.

[Photo by My Rare One]

25 comments:

DEZMOND said...

strangely interesting!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

same as in korea! though they are not all that appetizing, they come in handy when you don't speak the language since you can just point!

Francie said...

It would be a bit off putting to western eyes, I suppose although some people do like to have realistic plastic fruit bowls on display in their homes. I hope the shop keepers at least keep them dust free and attractive looking. Otherwise, YUCK.

Robin Larkspur said...

Nothing like genuine fake food!

SUZY8-TRACK said...

There is a Japanese Restaurant near my office that has a window full of that fake food and I have to say, it does not look appetizing.

laurie said...

I think its really cool. I would love to be the one making the replicas, its something I think would be fun,

Leeanna Henderson said...

Hmmm, to bad they don't display their sign that says, " No! We no see cat of yours! No more ask please." BWWAAHAHAHAAHAAAHAAAHAA!!!

Holly said...

It never ceases to amaze me that make an artificial something can take longer and cost more than making a 'real' something. And, it's amazing how many people will go to all the trouble to do the fake when the real would be so much more appreciated and savored!

Yvonne said...

Oh my ,I had no idea they did this. I can't figure out why they do it though, especially since it is so costly. Like you said, it can't be very appealing to look at. Every culture is different and oh well, to each his own. :)

Workingdan said...

A million yen? Good lord! What are they putting in their plastic?

mxtodis123 said...

We see a lot of that here in the city. Personally, it does nothing for me either.
Mary

CraveCute said...

Very interesting! I wasn't aware it was that common!

Jane said...

Amazing that they'd waste what I expect is very expensive real estate on a showcase of fake food. You'd think the space could be put to better use.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I guess it's a cultural thing that just doesn't make sense to us. It does sound expensive, though. Over a million yen? Sounds like a fortune (I'll have to check and see what it amounts to in Canuck money).

Joyful Things said...

There actually is a documentary (PBS showed it I think) on the manufacture of the plastic and fake food. It is painstakingly hand formed and hand painted and they take great pride in their end result.

Snap said...

That's quite a little industry ... big $$$$$!!!!!!!!!!!

Lois said...

Less calories in fake food. :)

Elsie said...

I saw that in Europe too, it's very neat!

mrsduncanmahogany said...

Dropping a line to say hello to a fellow Canadian! I came across your blog through Jaz at Octoberfarm. I spent the morning going back through your posts! Lovely stuff!!

Dianna

Lois said...

You can be as self-centred as you like! I don't mind. Having my afternoon zone-out and wishing for coffee...

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

every thing the Japanese people do is art.

Jim said...

I hope they are 'dusted' on a regular basis! Strange tradition but I am sure it helps business.

Jeanne said...

A good way to advertise to tourists!

laughingwolf said...

this side of the pond, artsy folk make a living shooting pics of fake food they create, for ads, spending hours to make em look 'real'...

you've seen the results - eg. the photo vs. the item from your local fast food shop....

JD CREATIONS said...

If you are looking for an online shop that sells [Made in Japan] fake food related items in English and ships all over the world, you may want to check out Fake Food Japan: http://fakefoodjapan.com/

All the best,

Justin