In the windows of Japanese restaurants often see reproductions of tempting food menu offered made of pure and very artificial … plastic? Represent faithfully and in great detail sushi, sashimi, bowls of ramen and even pizza and plates of spaghetti with meat sauce! These replicas are born from the need to create appetite through a visual stimulus, and to help non-Japanese speakers in the choice of food to be eaten at the restaurant. These samples of food are called Sampuru (from “sample”, model) and are a form of art artisan whose origins date back nearly a century ago! Everything seems to have begun in 1932 when a Takizo Iwasaki got the idea to visually explain some culinary innovations and, to that end, he realized an omelette rice wax, perfect replica of his alter-ego edible. This gimmick was a great success and was well received by the restaurants of Tokyo, who saw their receipts grow considerably thanks to the exposure of these “menu figurative” in the windows of their rooms. Skilled craftsmen reproduce all by hand. The starting point is always the real food that is used to make casts through the silicone liquid that is poured into wooden crates. After obtaining the forms, the “food” fake is hand painted, respecting exactly the colors and nuances of the original. Kitchen tools are used for chopping, cutting, slicing the matter, so that the final look is as faithful as possible to reality. Laboratories resemble in every way to the kitchens, pity though that the smell and taste of real food missing!
It certainly can not define the sampuru as an art itself, just think that any of these samples made from Maizuru Company in 1980 were exposed Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The high-class restaurants are the ones that have the most similar to the real imitations, that can get to the exorbitant costs: the entire menu made by the best craftsmen can get to one million yen (just over 8,000 euro). The models will be forged on the basis of the exact appearance of the food, as it is cooked in every restaurant.