Updated: Jun 21, 2018

Photo: Studio Ghibli

We'll say it: the Japanese make animated food that gives the real thing a run for its money. Studio Ghibli is just one of many production houses that takes the representation of edibles in anime beyond the stratosphere. With series like Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars), you might occasionally find yourself sorely disappointed tucking into the real thing.

With so many viewers drenching themselves in drool over a couple of pixels on a screen, blogs like this find a niche in a market where 'looks better than it tastes' is a good thing.

The art of fake food though - we promise, it's an entire actual industry! - is something else entirely. In a strange case of art imitating life imitating art, the quest to make inedible forbidden fruit continues, with the mantle now assumed by resin and wax instead of animated frames.

Photo: Bamboo Innovator

You'll see them at nearly every Japanese restaurant, and if it weren't for the phantom utensils or the fact that these things don't spill when tilted at a 60-degree angle, you'd be hard pressed to figure out what you can actually put in your mouth.

Takizo Iwasaki invented fake food when a serendipitous spillage of candle wax sorta kinda maybe really looked like an omelette and ketchup, and then when Mrs. Iwasaki thought it was real, an industry was born.

Photo: Japan Info

Fake food displays are used as menus that jump right out at you, and do wonders for attracting customers. For one, you know right off the bat what you get when you order (though, a word of caution: the replicas tend to look better). They're also really mesmerising, and even more so when you realise how much work actually goes into it.

Beyond in-store promotion, the fake food industry has evolved into an art form and a consumer business. It's an amazing development for something that at its roots seems to have bloomed almost out of necessity.

At the end of it, just remember that if you ever find yourself drawn into a restaurant because of its window displays, take it with a pinch of salt (but make sure that actually is salt).