All TopicsNewsCultureJapanese Snacks & CandyFood & DrinkTravelEntertainmentMember Spotlight
TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogThese Plastic Food Models are so Realistic, They’ll Make Your Mouth Water!

These Plastic Food Models are so Realistic, They’ll Make Your Mouth Water!

Ana RachmadewiAna Rachmadewi
Published Time
Posted on 
December 02, 2019
Modified Time
Updated last 
June 21, 2022

Take a look at the picture above and take a guess: are they real or not?

From weird burgers and DIY snacks to cute bread art, Japanese food culture is highly creative. And this is especially true for Japan’s highly realistic plastic food models. You can find these mouth watering fake foods, called ‘sampuru’ in Japanese, displayed in the windows of restaurants all across Japan. These plastic food models are almost identical replicas of popular dishes, such as sushi, soba, ramen, omelette rice, and so many more. They are so realistic that there is a huge demand for these uniquely Japanese products.

Image Source

Want to know more? Let’s start with the history of plastic food models.

Most people believe that Gifu born Takozo Iwasaki is the father of the plastic model food industry in Japan. As the legend goes, Takozo Iwasaki made a plastic model of omelette rice in the 1930’s that was so realistic, people couldn’t tell that it was fake.

However, these types of models were began to appear during the 1920s. At that time, restaurants in Tokyo wanted to show what they serve to customers, but were concerned that using real food would attract pests. Takozo Iwasaki then stepped in, and is credited with making the idea popular. 

Image Source

Initially, some people felt the plastic food looked unappetizing. However, the industry began to boom during the 1950s. As the number of tourists in Japan began to increase, Japanese restaurants faced a problem. Often, restaurants had no English menus, and color photography was still pricey. Many Japanese restaurants decided to invest in plastic models, helping to bridge the communication gap between Japanese staff and foreign customers. The idea was a huge success!

Since superior craftsmanship is needed to make these plastic food models highly realistic, ‘sampuru’ are not cheap. Simple models, such as a cup of green tea, can cost about $35.00 USD, while more complicated dishes can cost hundreds of dollars. Of course, the more complicated the item is, the more expensive it becomes.

Image Source 

So how do you make ‘sampuru’?

The key to making a realistic model is the mold. Restaurants freeze the food they want to base the model on, and the model makers create a mold of that exact dish, making a restaurant specific model with highly accurate textures. Next, the molds are filled with PVC and baked at extremely high temperatures to harden them. Finally, the model is airbrushed and painted according to the original sample and plated just like its real life delicious counterpart.

Image Source

So, did learning about ‘sampuru’ make you hungry? Do you hope to get a ‘sampuru’ for yourself? 

You can actually buy mini versions of the models that can be used for a whole range of purposes, from designing your phone case, to even wearing as jewelry. You can collect your dream menu items and impress your friends, or make your own restaurant display.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more news straight from Japan! 

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD

Get TokyoTreat

Author avatar
Ana Rachmadewi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

A person chilling on a beautiful anime beach.

Anime Beach: Five Amazing Episodes to Watch!

Get ready to dive into the deep end of why these episodes hold such an enduring appeal!

June 18, 2024
A lush forest on SHikoku Island.

Shikoku: Five Amazing Places to Explore on the Island!

Shikoku is one of the four main islands in Japan. It presents a captivating blend of natural wonders, rich history, and delightful traditions.

June 11, 2024
A room at the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

Nakagin Capsule Tower: What Happened to It?

In the heart of Tokyo, there once stood a futuristic marvel known as the Nakagin Capsule Tower! This quirky, innovative structure was a beacon of 1970s avant-garde architecture and a symbol of Japan’s rapid post-war modernization. So, what exactly happened to this fascinating building? When was the Nakagin Capsule Tower built? The Nakagin Capsule Tower,...

June 06, 2024
The Awaodori Festival in Kagurazaka, Tokyo.

Kagurazaka and More: Five Best Retro Tokyo Neighborhoods!

Beyond modern Tokyo’s hustling and bustling atmosphere, there are still traces of vintage scenes. Follow us to Kagurazaka and four more fantastic retro neighborhoods in Tokyo!

June 06, 2024
A psychedelic art piece in Shinjuku Station, depicting an eye.

Shinjuku Station: The World’s Busiest Train Station!

Shinjuku Station is recognized as the busiest train station in the world, with around 3.6 million passengers passing through each day. Shinjuku Station is recognized as the busiest train station in the world, with around 3.6 million passengers passing through each day. With its lively vibe and endless attractions, it truly captures the energy and spirit of Tokyo. Let’s explore more fascinating things about it!

June 05, 2024
A statue that features the Godzilla franchise.

Godzilla Franchise: Why Is It Still So Popular?

For 70 years, the Godzilla franchise has stomped and stormed through many aliens and monsters imaginable!

May 31, 2024
TokyoTreat
Subscription
PricingBeginner’s Guide to TokyoTreatUpcoming BoxPast boxes
Support & Information
FAQContactHelp CenterBlog

Be a TokyoTreat Insider!

Join our newsletter and receive tasty news and deals!



AnIchigo Logobrand.
Copyright © 2024 TokyoTreat™. All Rights Reserved.
Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available