Americans in Tokyo for the Olympics may notice something odd about the food on display along Kappabashi Street: It’s plastic.
Known as shokuhin sampuru, or sample food, it allows non-Japanese-speaking customers to see what’s available at a restaurant. For example, an American might not be familiar with nigiri, but a model makes clear it’s a form of sushi that’s not rolled, featuring thin slices of fish over vinegary rice.
But the samples look so tasty that they’ve become an art form. In addition to Japanese favorites, models are sold of pizza, beer and plenty of other foods.
Kappabashi Street is where all the chefs in Tokyo go to get their supplies, with more than 170 restaurant-related shops along its half-mile.