New Japanese art?! Food samples

Did you think this food looks delicious? If you think so, you are completely deceived by the fakes. Those are called food samples or fake food, and they are a model or replica made from plastic, wax or resin commonly used as displays for windows at restaurants in Japan.

Food samples are very useful since we can see popular dishes provided at a restaurant before we enter and look at their menu, and it helps us to imagine the portion of the dish. ( I often have experienced that the dishes I ordered were much smaller or bigger than I expected when I just looked at pictures in menus.)

Most of the food samples are hand crafted since shapes, colors, potions and arrangements of food are all different depending on restaurants even if they are the dish of the same name.

Food samples used to be just for displays at restaurants in Japan, but nowadays they are also unique items which we can buy and use in daily life.

Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya

There are some companies which create food samples in Japan. Let me tell you about a food sample shop called Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya running by a food sample company called IWASAKI CO., LTD. (*Ganso means the originator, the inventor, Shokuhin means food)

Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya is a shop which sells food samples not only for professionals at restaurants but also for individual customers. There are two shops in Tokyo and one in Yokohama.

I went to the one in Tokyo Soramachi of Tokyo Skytree.

Walls covered by food samples

The shop is kind of small, but they have so many varieties of food samples. Look at this wall covered by food samples. All of them are toast with toppings. I’m sure you can recognize some of the toppings in this picture such as ‘sunny side up’, sliced boiled egg, bacon, ham, cheese, avocado, tomato, lettuce, strawberry, whipped cream, jam, mayonnaise, chocolate sauce etc.

Another wall is covered by Sushi decorated in Hangiri or wooden plate. You might not know what Hangiri or Sushi-oke is, but it is commonly used for delivering sushi. I cannot recognize all of sushi in this picture ( I should have wrote down sushi’s name when I took this picture) , but there is tuna, boiled prawn, salmon, yellow tail, squid, salmon roe, scallop, rolled sushi of tuna or cucumber, omelet with dried seaweed, herring roe with dried seaweed, seabream, and horse mackerel.

You cannot buy these toasts since they are a part of decoration of this shop, but please don’t be disappointed! You can buy other unique items, including sushi.

Unique items at Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya

Dishes of deep fried prawn, Hamburg stake, curry with rice and Kara-age ( Japanese style of deep fried chicken).They are the type of samples for restaurants display, but you can buy them even if you don’t own a restaurant.

Bento boxes. Very typical Japanese style of lunch boxes. A grilled slice of salmon, square shape of omelet, boiled and seasoned vegetables, pickles, white rice with umeboshi, which is Japanese pickled plum, and black sesame seeds are very common food in a lunch box.

A glass of beer, grilled fish, Yakitori, Japanese style of grilled chicken on a skewer, A glass of sake served in a square wooden measuring cup, sushi with hangiri, sushi with wooden plate, sashimi (sliced raw fish) and a cup of miso soup.

Sushi magnets. Fatty tuna, lean tuna, salmon, boiled prawn, omelet, octopus, horse mackerel, sea urchin with dried seaweed, sea bream, sea eel with sauce, spotted shad, squid etc.

Banana magnets. From left side ; young green, little bit yellow, beautiful yellow, spotted yellow, and all black (too late to eat).

Cistus fruit pen holders. From left side, lemon, yuzu ( Japanese citron) and tangerine orange. I think they are one of the best realistic items in this shop. You can put two pens for yuzu and tangerine as well. ( we just cannot another hole in this picture.)

A lotus root pen holder. It has 8 holes, but I don’t know how many of them are available for pens. Maybe two or three holes…

Key rings of cooked shells. From the left side, a short-neck clam with green onion, small scallop with soy sauce, and an oyster.

Clips of small cup cakes. Banana with whipped cream and straw berry with whipped cream. I bought banana one and I put it at my desk at work. I always look at it whenever I get hungry. (Since I’m trying not to eat snacks while I’m working to lose weight)

Book marks. From the left side, snack, fried bacon, normal bacon, and ham. I bought a normal bacon book mark, the reason is the same as above, haha.

Accessory cases. From left side, pancakes with vanilla ice cream, pancake with strawberry sauce, and cream puffs. The pancake with vanilla ice cream are a limited item you can only buy at Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya in Tokyo Skytree.

Small bowls of ramen. The left one has a clip and the rest of them don’t. (just ornaments.)

Food sample kit you can make food samples by yourself. Spaghetti Napolitan (It’s not related to Napoli at all, it’s spaghetti with stir fired onion, green bell pepper, and sausage, seasoned by tomato ketchup), Spaghetti Bolognese, Soba (buck wheat noodle), Yakisoba (fried noodles), Ramen, Fried rice, Curry with rice, Pizza, etc. You don’t have to make food samples from ingredients. Noodles, rice, other ingredients and sauce are already made, so you just assemble them neatly.

There are also some displays of process of making sushi samples. We can see silicone rubber molds created by using real food, how to color samples, and how to serve up the ingredient food samples into sushi samples.

At first, I thought the price of these food samples was very expensive, but I understand the reason after I found that they are hand crafted and take a long time to make. They are art pieces which cannot mass-produced. You would want to buy one if you went to the shop and found your favorite food. It’s okay even if you don’t buy their items, and just take some pictures for your memories. (It’s no problem to take pictures and paste them on your blog)

The address of each Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya stores.

Tokyo Skytree shop

East Yard on the 4th Floor of Tokyo Soramachi, a commercial facility in Tokyo Skytree Town.

Kappabashi shop

3-7-6, Nishi Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

The nearest station is Tokyo Ginza line Taharamachi station, twelve minutes on foot


Yokohama Aka renga Souko shop

Shinkou, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Aka renga souko 1F

The nearest station is Minato Mirai line, Bashamichi station or Nihon Odori station, six minutes on foot


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