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10 Japanese Food Art Practices That Make Us Glad That The Japanese Play With Their Food


The Japanese clearly never took the order “don’t play with your food” very seriously, and we’re very glad that they didn’t! Because, through playing with their food, they’ve perfected the practice of various forms of food art. 

1) Kyraben 


Kyraben is when food in a single take-out box, otherwise known as a bento box, is arranged to look like cartoon characters from comic books, TV shows or video games

2) Oekakiben


Similar to Kyraben, Oekakiben is when food in a bento box is arranged to look like scenery, animals, buildings or people. 

3) Amezaiku 


Amezaiku artists fashion melted taffy into a sculpture using their hands and scissors. The sculptures are often intricate animal figures. Amezaiku sculptures were originally offered to Gods in temples during the Edo period and then became popular throughout Japan when crowds gathered to watch street performers practice Amezaiku. 

4) Taiyaki


The Taiyaki is a cake made of a filling of red bean paste, custard, chocolate, cheese or sweet potatoes that is wrapped with pastry in the shape of a fish. It is then cooked until golden brown. 

5) Mukimono


Mukimono is when one carves images into fruits and vegetables or carves the produce itself to create pleasing shapes such as flowers or animals.

6) Miyagegashi


This is a sweet that is made and sold as a souvenir. Many regions in Japan have their own unique versions of miyagegashi. 

7) Fake Food 


While the name may leave you dubious about whether this practice is an art, let us assure you that it is. Whole livelihoods are devoted to fashioning food out of plastic to resemble actual dishes. These are then displayed in restaurants to show customers life like versions of what they’re ordering.

8) Hochodo


Hochodo is the traditional art of filleting a fish without using ones hands. The fish is filleted using a knife and a pair of chopsticks. The art can be seen at some temples in Japan, or at culinary festivals. 

9) Sushi Art


Sushi art is not the most traditional practice, but it is adorable! Rolls of sushi are constructed to resemble a character, an animal or a scene. 

10) Kakigori 


Kakigori is a shaved ice dessert; a popular street snack, where the vendor shaves chips of a block of ice. It’s fascinating to watch!