Friday, September 25, 2015
Japanese restaurants frequently put plastic food in display cases or even out on tables to lure in diners, or to show the variety of their menus. I didn't make enough of a study to determine whether the practice is also helpful to non-Japanese speakers -- you can't point to that plate of food if the plate is out on the sidewalk.
I have pathetically little experience with ordering food in Japan, despite two weeks on the ground. On my first visit, five years ago, I was always accompanied by Japanese speakers who not only knew how to read the menu, but knew what was the best thing on it. On my most recent visit, an organized tour, our meals were generally pre-ordered and simply appeared on the table. There was no plastic food in any of the restaurants we visited.
But I saw plenty of it on the streets, and it did look pretty good. As I review the photos, I can barely tell the difference between the plastic food and the real stuff!