“Oh look honey, they have…fish? In block form? And miso soup! Also in block form!”

Take a trip down any street in any commercial district in Japan and you’ll likely run into a restaurant. What kind of restaurant? Well, it’s likely the window will give it away – stocked full with delicious-looking meals, elegantly arranged into bowls and plates. You might wonder why those plates of display food never seem to go rotten or get replaced, but the truth is that these succulently rendered samples are crafted from wax and plastic to resemble the dishes written in the menu.

And what a good idea! Honestly, with all the confusion that can come from unfamiliar foods, it’s nice to get as much of a forecast before choosing your order as possible. But producing all that plastic and wax seems wasteful, considering how we’re trying to cut down on plastic usage, so how to address the problem for restaurant displays?

Well, one restaurant owner came up with an idea, documented by Twitter user @sepuriesu.

“The place where I had lunch had an, er, ‘novel'(?) set of samples.”

In the photographed samples, you might notice that none of these fake foods are made from plastic! In fact, you might even notice every single item shown on the food tray is a wooden block, helpfully labelled in ballpoint pen to tell you what it is. One large block on the left side purports to be a salmon roe and sea urchin rice bowl, while other platters hold such delights as “fish”, “pickled side items” and “dipping sauce”. Some of the blocks are even labeled with more esoteric etchings such as “daily specialty” and “Yamaha Cuisine”.

But that’s just for the deluxe meal! If you order a single item, you’ll still be treated to (squints) “a sea urchin rice bowl, or whatever else”, “pickles” and “miso soup”.

Before you start worrying for @sepuriesu’s digestive tract, rest assured in that the follow up image in the thread was of their actual order: a decidedly edible, non-cuboid helping that looks a lot more tempting to the palate.

“For your consideration.”

The quirky display captured the imaginations of the Japanese netizens of Twitter, who cracked jokes about how “this is how it loads when the image pathway is not specified”, “you have to use your imagination to make it look yummy” and “ah, a lot of baumkuchen!” (Baumkuchen is a German cake named for its likeness to a cut tree-trunk…tree-trunk equals wood equals wooden blocks, geddit?)

▼ Others mentioned seeing knitted or sewn samples, but never wooden blocks

Our favorite response is this drawing of a hypothetical order of one of these samples:

If you’re more of a fan of fake food that looks like food, you’ll be pleased to know that Japan offers opportunities to dress up in it from head to toe – you can even wrap your phone in doppelgangers of delicacies!

Source: Twitter/@sepuriesu
Top image: Pakutaso

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