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The art of shokuhin sampuru: How Japanese fake food models are made

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Applying finesse acquired over five decades of experience, 71-year-old craftsman Shigeharu Takeuchi tints, pours, pulls, and shapes thin sheets of non-biodegradable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into realistic food models, including a side salad, grilled egg to go, and a parfait dessert.

Process X goes behind the scenes to quietly document how the convincing commercial sculptures are made, starting with this nascent layer of iceberg lettuce:

pouring colors of liquid material into the water
Restaurants in Japan often showcase plastic food replicas of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, and desserts in front windows. These menus or in-the-street advertising displays are called shokuhin sampuru (ι£Ÿε“γ‚΅γƒ³γƒ—γƒ«)β€”sampuru from the English word “sample.”

pretending to eat the fake shrimp
The delicious-looking fake food sculptures can be made-to-order to match the restaurant’s dishes, and might look more colorful and perfectly composed than the real food. Via Wikipedia:

“In the late Edo period, in the 1800s, food sellers displayed a plate of real food each day in lieu of a written menu. During the early Shōwa period, in the late 1920s, Japanese artisans and candle makers developed food models that made it easy for patrons to order without the use of menus, which were not common in Japan at that time. Paraffin was used to create these until the mid-1980s, but because its colors faded when exposed to heat or sunlight, manufacturers later switched to polyvinyl chloride, which is ‘nearly eternal’.”

a finished fake parfait dessert
Could these also be made with bioplastic? Or could returning to wax be more sustainable? Previously on TKSST: Sampuru: How is Japanese fake food made?

Plus, enjoy these related videos:
β€’ How To Make Fake Poo, a mini psychology experiment
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β€’Β Incredible Amezaiku candy animal sculptures by Shinri Tezuka

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