Narrator: Walking the streets of Japan,
you’ll notice that almost every restaurant
has glistening, perfectly plated food
tempting you from their window.
It looks mouthwatering, butyou can’t actually eat it.
It’s all fake.
These deceptive dishes are called sampuru,
from the word”sample.”
The fake foods are made of plastic,
and to this day eachone is crafted by hand. Narrator:
Food samples give a 3D picture of what the foods look like.
This, along with the historical background of artificial food samples,
has allowed them to become widespread.
Sampuru is so lucrative,the industry is estimated to
be worth $90 million in Japan alone.
But let’s take a step back
and see how they make plastic look good enough to eat.
At the Morino Sample Workshop in Osaka
artisans have been makingsampuru for 45 years.
Fourteen artisans makeall of the food samples
shipped worldwide for thecompany Fake Food Japan.
They specialize in sushi,tempura, and ramen,
but they can custom-makejust about anything you can dream up.
啤酒 冰淇淋 披萨 汉堡
Beer, ice cream, pizza, burgers.
To craft sample food,
first the artisans have to get a mold of the real thing.
Usually, that means arestaurant will have to freeze
the real food and ship it to the workshop. Narrator:
Casting molds from real foods allows us copy the fine bumps and
depressions along the food’s surface. We then color the molds in order
to bring out realistic food textures.
Once they’ve got a mold, it’s
filled with liquid PVC plastic
and baked up to 338 degrees.
The sample is broughtto life with airbrushing and paint,
and finally it’s plated.
Some smaller modelscan take a day to make,
while entire entreescan take up to a week. Narrator:
Making this udon noodle sample involves getting the ingredient together
and making a mold,depending on the sample and takes about three days
But if you’re doing all of this work for every sample,it’s very time-consuming.
For common items like udon,meat,etc.I prepare all of these ingredients in advance.
This lets me speed up the work.
Because of thedetail in each food sample,
artisans say it takes up to 10 years to perfect the craft.
But don’t be fooled, while they might look like affordable eats,
sampuru will set you back a pretty penny.
These imitations can cost up to 10 times
the real food they represent.
This mug of beer costs $ 74,
a bowl of ramen costs 109,
and an intricate tray of sushi will set you back a whopping $ 511.
The level of difficulty in reproducing it that is solely the cost.
Just based on the fact
that the ingredients and the way it’s presented just creates so much more
and a level of difficulty forthe artist to reproduce it. Narrator:
It’s said that fake food production began in the 1930s
with Takizo Iwasaki,
an artisan from Gujo Hachiman.
Story goes, he made an omelet out of wax
that was so realistic his wife couldn’t tell it apart from the real thing.
He would go on to start one of
the biggest plastic food manufacturers in Japan
that now controls an estimated60% of the fake food market.
By the 1950s, fake food hadcaught a wave of popularity. Hanus:
However, whatreally boosted the business
was during World War II,from what I’ve been told,
when a lot of the Americanservicemen were stationed here
and they couldn’t obviouslyread the Japanese menus
and there weren’t any photos on the menus,
so then let’s have a visual representation
to show people what weactually have on our menu. Narrator:
Today, even inan era of online menus,
线上菜单 饮食博客 和 Yelp点评
food blogs, and Yelp reviews,
these plastic food samplesaren’t going anywhere.
Sampuru has landed on the big screen,
in classrooms, and souvenir shops, and,
of course, in restaurant windows.
As mass tourism has exploded in Japan,
sampuru has served as an invaluable tool
for foreigners across language barriers.
Even if they don’t know any Japanese,
they can just point at what they want to eat. Hanus:
It’s something that’s very unique
to this country, somethingthat’s been around for going
on now, you know, almost 100years and it still survived. Narrator:
in Japanese culture can be seen on literally every corner,
but it’s the skill behind the sampuru art form that keeps us salivating.