Meet the Real People Behind Japan's Fake Food Displays

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt |

One of the ways you know you're in Tokyo is walking past cafes and noodle shops with glistening dishes in the window to entice you inside. Of course, putting real food in the displays would be wasteful and, well, stinky come dinner time. And so there's a major market for ultra-realistic fake food in Japan and elsewhere. The plastic replicas serve as advertising and a sort of visual menu, allowing even those who don't speak or read the native language to know what they're getting into.

Related: This Artist's Insanely Realistic Food Drawings Will Keep You Guessing

The folks at Great Big Story went behind the scenes to not only look at how those delicious looking inedibles are made, but to meet the craftspeople who put time and dedication into perfecting realistic bowls ramen and seductively deceiving sushi. According to the video, easy items may only take a year or two to get the hang of, but complicated things like fish can take three or more years to master. Over 30 artists work at this particular factory, and that human touch is what makes this fake food look as good as the real thing.

If you're curious as to how the process is completed from start to finish, How It's Made takes you step-by-step through making an faux ocean-fresh sea bass:

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