35

In the scene where Chihiro's parents start pigging out,

O Nom Nom Nom

We see Chihiro's father eating some soft, almost gelatinous blob that seems to have fins or something.

Is this an actual food item? If so, what is it? If not, is it based off any real life dishes?

I want some! Moar!

3
  • At first i thought it was chicken but the "fins" are too close to be the wings and legs
    – Memor-X
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 4:20
  • 1
    I'm not aware of any creature with a shape like that, although I'm not a biologist. It's unusual for animals to be shaped like that in general, though. Maybe it's something native to the spirit world? Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 10:00
  • I think it'd be better to give a read circle to the object u're asking. Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 9:14

2 Answers 2

32
+100

It appears that the food was noted as "lamb stomach" (haggis or similar) at the Studio Ghibli Layout Designs exhibitions.

Haggis

The "fins" are where the haggis is sewn or tied.

On page 220 of the exhibition catalogue, the following description is given about the food in question:

中に汁気たっぷりの
具がつまっている
外の皮はやわらかく
まるでトロトロの小羊の
胃袋のよう

the exhibition catalogue says it's lamb stomach

While the description doesn't tell us the name of the food, it likens it to, and probably is, a lamb stomach.

Then on September 19, 2020, Spirited Away's key animator, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, tweeted that the food as written in the storyboard was Coelacanth's stomach (thanks to кяαzєя for bringing this to my attention). However, in the responses to the tweet, people pointed out that this information was never published in Studio Ghibli Storyboards Volume 13: Spirited Away, and what was published, in the aforementioned Studio Ghibli Layout Designs, contradicts his answer. Considering that in the anime production process, the layout designs come after the storyboards, Yonebayashi's answer recited from memory might have been revised later on. In light of the observations made above, and of the available images of haggis and a hypothetical dish of Coelacanth's stomach, I am more inclined to believe that the food Chihiro's father was eating was lamb stomach.

By the way, you can see the reconstructed food on display at the Ghibli Park.

The food that the gods eat


Addendum

Perhaps you've been told that the food is ba-wan, a Taiwanese street food. Perhaps you've been told that the town from Spirited Away is modeled after Jiufen, a tourist attraction in Taiwan. They are at best misinformation and at worst disinformation propagated by travel agencies and shopkeepers to increase sales. Hayao Miyazaki has denied twice, once in the TVBS news interview, and once more in the CTi news interview that Jiufen was an inspiration for the film's settings. What were really the inspirations and/or models for the settings are listed in this well-researched article: the Dougo Onsen, the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum and Meguro Gajoen being the officially confirmed places.

7
  • how can he use chopstick to eat that. . . that food looks heavy -_- Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 4:19
  • @NamikazeSheena Chopsticks can pick up anything.
    – Gao
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 10:54
  • ha . . . i don't have that kind of arm strenght. are they wrapped with actual lamb stomach ? Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 11:02
  • Wow, I expected the Lamb's stomach, Haggis to look different when watching Spirited Away. I've always wanted to know what the dad was eating....but it looks straight up nasty. But hey! you never know, unless you try it right? Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 23:18
  • 2
    twitter.com/MaroYonebayashi/status/1307128080725684224 An senior Ghibili animator, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, seems to indicate that it was supposed to be the stomach of a coelacanth.
    – кяαzєя
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 18:29
-6

No it's called Ba-wan. That's what it is.. There are tons of links that will tell you. https://www.buzzfeed.com/christinalan/heres-how-to-eat-everything-youve-ever-wanted-fr

2
  • 5
    If you read the accepted answer, you'll read that it has been conclusively shown that it is NOT Ba-wan and you've been misinformed.
    – Arcane
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 5:44
  • 9
    Rather than just linking to the external site, could you include the relevant content from that site here? We prefer if the answers here are complete to avoid link-rot and to make answers here complete. Link-only answers are not considered good answers even if they're correct. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/8231/…
    – Arcane
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 5:45

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