Inside the Tiny Food Phenomenon

Inside the Tiny Food Phenomenon

Have you ever been scrolling through your Facebook feed and come across a video featuring extremely tiny portions of food and normal size human hands preparing it? Well, there is a name for these humorous videos: Tiny food. Tiny food is a phenomenon with Japanese origins that has taken over the internet-- first in Japan and now in the United States.

The official name for Tiny food is “Kawaii” cooking, which translates to “cute” cooking. These tiny food videos began on YouTube, primarily produced by the Japanese channel Miniature Space. Now, the well-known internet site and app Tastemade has completely changed the tiny food game by creating Tiny Kitchen, a series devoted solely to--you guessed it-- the creation of tiny food. Currently on it’s 88th video and 9th season, Tiny Kitchen has made everything from tiny tacos, to tiny cake pops, to tiny grilled cheese and tomato soup, to tiny macaroni and cheese. 

And it is not just the food that is tiny-- it’s a tiny kitchen, a tiny pot, tiny utensils, and tiny ingredients. Yet normal sized human hands, monstrous by comparison, deftly create these minuscule masterpieces. 


In the earlier seasons, Tiny Kitchen focused on creating meals, snacks, and side dishes, ranging from American food to Italian, and from breakfast to dessert. However, in recent seasons Tiny Kitchen began to experiment with creating fast food dishes and popular supermarket brands. In season 6, the tiny Snickers Bar and tiny Pop-Tarts were born; in season 7, the Chipotle Burrito; and in season 8, tiny KFC.


Watching these Tiny Foods being cooked or baked is enthralling, and honestly quite adorable. It is satisfying to the human mind, yet unfortunately, not so satisfying to the stomach. The typical Tiny Food is roughly 1/12 of the normal size of that food. If you have ever watched one of these videos, you may have found yourself completely and inexplicably mesmerized by the fluid and perfect movements that this set of human hands makes to craft these meals. The videos typically last anywhere from a few minutes to over 10 minutes (see “Tiny 4th BBQ”), but almost feel as if they were over in the blink of an eye.

So, why is the act of watching these videos so addicting? The answer is backed by science. It has been proven that these videos can evoke a sense of calm in the body and the mind. It provides a break from the real world, and showcases the precise control that we as humans find so satisfying. So if you ever find yourself stuck inside on a rainy day, grab some popcorn (normal sized, please), sit back, and binge watch the 9 seasons of Tiny Food videos. We promise, you will not be disappointed. 


Big thank you to our summer intern Maddie for this piece. 

Header photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence

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