Have you ever gotten a craving for a scrumptious-looking dish from a food scene in a movie? Usually, food in movies is more than just a visual appetiser. Food can be used to move the plot or paint a picture of the character who is eating the dish. If the dish is a rare delicacy, it may signify that the character likes to indulge, as in the case of Claire in The Breakfast Club (1985) — when she brings out a savoury plate of sushi in contrast to the other kids who brought the usual packed lunch.
It can also tell something about the temperament or motives of the character. In Get Out (2017), a movie tackling racism, Rose eats her coloured cereal separate from the white milk — something that's widely interpreted as a subtle way to reveal her character's true persona.
And of course, some are simply designed to be mouthwateringly memorable, like the signature recipes from our favourite Pixar and Disney films including the cute steamed dumplings in the short movie Bao.
We can't help but wonder how these iconic foods in films will taste like in real life. Ahead, we discuss some of the most visually appetising dishes to ever grace the screen and how you can recreate them. Let's dig in!
Ram-Don from Parasite (2019)
In a year full of class critique films, it's a feat to stand out, but Parasite (2019) did just that. The South Korean movie by Bong Joon Ho won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. If you've seen the film, you'd know that it was well-deserved. But amidst the gripping plot, one small feature of the film caught the eye of viewers — the ram-don dish. Although the term is coined by the movie's subtitle writer Darcy Paquet, the dish is actually called Jjapaguri. Jjapaguri has existed for a long time and is considered a budget meal.
But the Jjapaguri in the film is unlike any other, Mrs Park requests to add Hanwoo premium beef, one of the world's most expensive kind of meat. It's one way to underline that the family is so rich that they don't even think twice to use a fancy ingredient in a simple spontaneous snack. Even if you don't have the luxurious ingredient, you can still make your own ram-don with a simple steak beef. Watch Jisun's Kitchen cooking video above to know the specific steps.
Best for: Those who want to jazz up their usual ramen.
Hungry Boy Breakfast from Phantom Thread (2017)
Phantom Thread is undoubtedly a fashion film, featuring one gloriously stylish look after another. However, strange as it may be for a fashion-centric movie, the plot itself is driven by food. Two dishes are memorable, one contains — spoiler alert — poison, and the other is a very intricate order created to introduce us to a very controlling, non-compromising, A-type character who can't "recover" if "breakfast isn't right".
Dubbed the "Hungry Boy Breakfast", the spread features a "Welsh rabbit with a poached egg on top (not too runny), and bacon, scones, butter, cream, jam (not strawberry) and a pot of lapsang souchong tea and some sausages". Well, we don't know about you, but this dish is enough to sustain us till afternoon snack time. Want to recreate it? Look to Binging With Babish's version for complete instructions.
Best for: Hungry fashion people who don't mind spending some time whipping up breakfast.
Chihiro's Onigiri from Spirited Away (2001)
Every Miyazaki film places emphasis on food scenes, which serves as a momentary pause to an adventure-filled plot while providing context to the relationship between characters. In Spirited Away (2001), the onigiri symbolises the friendship of Chihiro and Haku who gave her, literally and figuratively, the strength to fight the sorceress who turned her parents into pigs.
This yummy and energising onigiri is made with pickled plum, salmon and rice. You can also add nori to make it tastier and more aesthetically appealing. Check out Alison's Wonderland recipe which is an easy version of the Chihiro's onigiri.
Best for: Busy people who want something hearty for a quick, energising snack.
Big Kahuna Burger from Pulp Fiction (1994)
If you think about it, it's strange that one of the most iconic foods in films is also at the centre of a bloody encounter — one that is supposedly meant to suppress your appetite. This "tasty burger" from the fictional Big Kahuna fast-food chain has inspired real restaurants the world over to feature their own iteration of this iconic movie meal. We're guessing that's because it's easy to recreate, you surely can make one at home — sans the ensuing violence after a bite.
Try following CinemaAndSpice's Big Kahuna Burger recipe made with that signature Hawaiian flavour (meaning pineapple and chutney). Yum!
Best for: Those who enjoy Hawaiian-style bites.
Katz's Pastrami Sandwich from When Harry Met Sally (1989)
The line "I'll have what she's having" was immortalised thanks to Meg Ryan's performance during the dinner scene in When Harry Met Sally. But it's not just this particular scene of the film that became iconic through the years, "what she was having" a.k.a. Katz's Pastrami Sandwich also gained popularity. If you get the opportunity to visit their deli in NYC, you'll even see a table marker of where the scene was shot. But while we wait for travel restrictions to be eased, you can try making your own version of this deliciously orgasmic pastrami sandwich at home. Check out Sous Vide Everything's recipe that's said to be close enough to the real version.
Best for: Those with the patience to do sous vide cooking.
Which of these iconic foods in films will you try?
(Cover photo credit: Barunson E&A, CJ Entertainment)
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