Sampuru: Japanese Fake Plastic Food

If you've ever visited Japan or watched an anime where they visit a restaurant, you've probably noticed that they display plastic replica food in the window. These Japanese food models are known as sampuru サンプル, or “sample" and have been around for over 100 years.



Nowadays, they have become a popular souvenir to buy for your family, friends, or even yourself! No matter what kind of gift you're looking for, we are sure there's a fake food version of it. You can get these models in almost any form you want from keychains, iPhone cases, to flash drives! But be careful to take a second look before you dig in.


For those visiting Japan with a little knowledge of the language, these fake food samples can be a lifesaver. If you're unsure how to order a meal, thanks to these realistic models, all you need to do is point to the meal you would like to eat.


Although they seem perfect for those of us with minimal Japanese skills, they were first created in the late 1920s to make it easier for Japanese customers to purchase food without a menu. During those times, restaurant menus weren't a thing in Japan until they were later brought over from the west. If you're interested in food models, be prepared because some samples done by the best in the business can leave a large hole in your wallet.

fake food keychains, mobile straps, and magnets

For cheaper alternatives we recommend you check out Maiduru, an expert in realistic plastic foods. This store sells authentic restaurant-quality plastic models that you can't get anywhere else. They cater to restaurant owners, food lovers, and tourists. Alongside popular magnets, iPhone cases, and charms, they also sell specialized restaurant fake food pieces. No matter what fake food you're looking for, we're sure Maiduru stocks it.

How are Japanese fake food models created?

The food replica industry has been advancing over the 100 years of business. They first started making models using wax, which wasn't the best ideal, considering how hot and humid Japan can get.
Nowadays, the food replicas colors don't fade or deteriorate as they are made of plastic using silicon molds. These molds believe it or not are made by pressing the actual food into a layer of silicon, and letting it sit there for a day or two. Then liquid plastic is poured into the molds to create almost identical copies of the actual food. Be prepared to be blown away by the video below:

You may have noticed in the video above that not all foods can be created by molds. Ramen noodles are often created by covering string in liquid plastic, and other foods are created in the same way you would create the real dish. There is also a lot of craftsmanship involved. Plastic is all one color, unlike natural foods, so all the molded foods need to be individually handpainted and airbrushed.
The hardest items to create are said to be uncooked natural foods, especially Japanese leeks, which are some of the most expensive.


Why is Japanese Fake Food so expensive?

As mentioned above, fake Japanese foods are not easy to create and take a lot of professional craftsmanship. A delicious cup of melon cream soda will set you back 4,100 yen (about 41 dollars), and a yakisoba iPhone case is 3,240 yen (roughly 32 dollars). Full main dishes can go up in the hundreds. Imagine being a Japanese restaurant and having to pay thousands of dollars to look the part! 

Japanese fake food magnets - ramen, fried eggs, sushi, and soba

But don't worry! With our fake food sample store, Maiduru, you can get 3% cashback on all of the replica food you're after. That means you can buy even more with the money you get back from the products! 


Shop Fake Food Samples


So, that's our complete guide on Japanese fake food samples. We hope you enjoyed this article and learned a few things you didn't know beforehand. What is your favorite Japanese dish? Let us know through our social networks below.

We are looking forward to hearing from you all.


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Article| 26/08/2019 | Food


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