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How to make the bountiful, cursed buffet from ‘Spirited Away’

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If you love Studio Ghibli films, you know how important the food is.

The beloved animation studio behind Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Wind Rises, and so many more relishes in animating truly delicious-looking meals inspired by food made by director Hayao Miyazaki himself. From Mei and Satsuki’s bento boxes in My Neighbour Totoro to Ponyo‘s steaming ham ramen to fire demon Calcifer’s full breakfast in Howl’s Moving Castle, every meal seems to jump out of the screen, steaming and swirling so compelling you could almost take a giant spoonful of it.

In the ever-iconic Spirited Away, food plays an integral role to the narrative, when Chihiro’s parents turn into pigs after gorging themselves on a cursed unattended restaurant stall buffet. It’s the gluttonous act that sets off Chihiro’s whole journey.

YouTube cooking channel Binging with Babish specialises in recreating meals from popular culture, and the series anime expert, Alvin Zhou, specifically focuses on dishes and foods from anime. In the latest episode, Alvin makes a feast worthy of the Spirited Away buffet.

“It’s not mentioned exactly what every single dish on that massive feast table was, but I’m guessing it’s an inspiration from Taiwanese street markets,” says Alvin, who rationalises out five Taiwanese-inspired dishes from the animations, including grilled mochi sticks, roasted Cornish hens, king crab legs, pork sausages, and the giant sticky rice dumplings Chihiro’s dad appears to obliterate in one go.

If you want more tutorials for Ghibli dishes, food blogger Sylvia Wakana has made a bunch of TikTok tutorials.

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