To be fair, anime is not a 100% reliable source to learn about Japanese cultures and people. However, it does a great job in portraying the beautiful “land of the rising sun”, including Japanese food. There are numerous times when we can see tons of delicious-looking Japanese food in anime, which eventually making us wondering: Are they real? How good they actually are in real life? Well in that case, ready your stomach cuz we are going to check out the top 20 Japanese Food in Anime!
Kicking off the list we have one of the best food choices for any journey: Onigiri, or basically… rice ball. This traditional food is so common that we can pretty much see them in most of anime, like Pokemon. For those who have faithfully followed Shokugeki no Soma since season 1, you probably remember “Three Kinds of Onigiri” dish made by Megumi in episode 6. And while it might look difficult to make at first, Onigiri is actually really simple. In short, Onigiri is simple rice ball shaped in triangular form and often wrapped with seaweed (or nori in Japanese). A traditional Onigiri tends to be filled with umebushi (pickled plums), katsuobushi (smoked skipjack tuna), kombu (a type of edible kelp), tarako (pollock roe), salted salmon, or any other salty or sour ingredient. Interested in making Onigiri? Check out the video below by A Taste of Anime!
How to make Onigiri
(Source: A Taste of Anime)
Taiyaki – the Japanese fish-like cake is a favorite dish of many anime characters, for example: Yami from To Love Ru. It is said that this traditional dish originated from the Meiji era. The cake is molded in the form of Tai, a Japanese Red seabream (hence the name Taiyaki), and filled with red bean paste made from adzuki bean. It was quite a simple dish, but who knew that it soon became one of the most popular foods in Japan throughout streets, markets, to festivals. Nowadays, there are even more flavors added to the traditional Taiyaki, like custard, chocolate, cheese, or even gyoza or sausage. Want to learn how to make Taiyaki? Check out the guide below from Just One Cookbook!
How to make Taiyaki
(Source: Just One Cookbook)
Coming in number 3 we have another “yaki” dish called Takoyaki. It is another extremely popular snack in Japan which can be often spotted on streets and festivals. And like Onigiri, we can easily see this dish in many anime. There is even a series dedicated to Takoyaki named Takoyaki Mantoman (it’s quite cute so we recommend trying it out). This dish is often made of wheat flour batter and molded in ball shape. It normally has minced or diced octopus fillings (or tako in Japanese), along with green onions and pickled ginger. The filling is not necessarily needed to be octopus, though most of alternative ingredients tend to be seafood. For the toppings, they often use takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, and vegetables like green laver (aonori) and dried bonito. If you enjoy Takoyaki, we suggest visiting Osaka since it was the first place where Takoyaki became popular. And if you are interested in making Takoyaki by yourself, Just One Cookbook has just the right thing for you:
How to make Takoyaki
(Source: Just One Cookbook)
Ever wonder what did Mrs. Anko often ate in Naruto’s Chunin Exams Arc? It’s Dango, a traditional Japanese dumpling made of rice flour (mochiko). It is among the most popular sweets in festivals. In fact, there is a typical “stereotype” in anime in which cute girls often wear yukata and have Dango on their hands. In anime, people often see 2 types of dango: dango with 3 colors green, white, and pink, or white dango with sauce. But in reality, there are much more varieties of dango with different names like chadango, botchan dango, denpun dango, chichi dango, kushi dango, kuri dango, and more… Since there are so many dango types, let’s focus on how to make simple one like Mitarashi Dango, presented by Japanese Cooking 101:
How to make Dango
(Source: Japanese Cooking 101)
5. Japanese curry rice
India is the birth place of the worldwide famous dish – curry. Nowadays we can pretty much find this dish in almost everywhere in the world, including Japan. Curry was first introduced in Japan during the Meiji era and it quickly became extremely popular even today. Curry in Japan has been changed quite a lot in order to cope with Japanese cuisine. Among those changes we have curry rice which is basically a rice dish served with lots of curry. Its basic ingredients include onions, carrots, and potatoes for the vegetables and beef, pork, chicken for the meat. Japanese curry rice actually also makes lots of appearance in anime, especially in Shokugeki no Soma season 1 with their entire Autumn Election Preliminaries Arc dedicated to curry. If you are tired of traditional curry with bread and wish to enjoy something new, here’s the guide to Japanese curry rice by Japanese Cooking 101.
How to make Japanese curry rice
(Source: Japanese Cooking 101)
6. Kare Pan
Continue the Japanese curry dishes we have a pretty fascinating (and good looking too) curry dish called Kare Pan (カレーパン), simply known as curry bread. As its name suggests, this dish is having curry filled within a dough coated with bread crumbs and got deep fried. In some cases, the dough is baked instead of being fried, but deep fried is still the most common. It is indeed an interesting way to enjoy curry. In anime, kare pan has made lots of appearance too like in Ranma ½ when Saotome Ranma and Hibiki Ryōga’s rivalry began, or in Kuroshitsuji when our favorite demon butler – Sebastian performed a spectacular cooking show with his “curry doughnut”… Wow, talking about Kare Pan really makes us hungry, why not try out recipe TabiEats and cook some kare pan for ourselves now?
How to make Kare Pan
This peculiar dish called Omurice has made lots of appearance in anime like Shokugeki no Soma with Soma’s Curry Risotto Omurice dish for Tōtsuki Autumn Election Preliminaries. And while it may not look interesting to some people, it is in fact a popular food in Japan especially among children. The dish was originated from a Western style restaurant in Ginza district of Tokyo called Renga-tei. Its name comes from “omelette” and “rice”, together, the two words become omurice which refers to egg omelet filled with ketchup rice and meat and topped with more ketchup. Interested in making Omurice yourself? Let’s get visit JunsKitchen and see how he did it!
How to make Omurice
Ramen – Naruto’s most favorite dish of all time even when he becomes Hokage. The origin of Ramen is still a big mystery. Some said that it was originated in China and made its way to Japan in 1859. But no matter where and how it came to Japan, we can’t deny the extreme popularity of this dish. Literally, we can find Ramen throughout all Japan, and each region has its own version of Ramen. The most basic form of ramen includes Chinese wheat noodle served with meat or fish-based broth, soy sauce or miso, and toppings like pork, nori (dried seaweed), menma (made from bamboo shoot), and green onions. As mentioned, ramen has around 30 regional versions of ramen. For example, ramen in Tokyo often features slightly thin, curly noodles served with soy-flavoured chicken broth and dashi, and topped with chopped scallion, menma, sliced pork, egg, nori, and spinach. While in Sapporo, Hokkado, ramen is changed to cope with cold harsh climate, including rich miso and toppings like sweetcorn, butter, bean sprouts, finely chopped pork, garlic, and sometimes seafood. For Japanese people, ramen definitely has a special place in their daily life. And so, let’s visit JunsKitchen again and see how to prepare this awesome Japanese food!
How to make Ramen
Ramen is extremely delicious, no doubt. But sometimes preparing a ramen can be unnerving, especially when we want some quick noodle. In that case, Yakisoba should be a great choice. Yakisoba is commonly fried noodle dish served with bite-sized pork, vegetables like cabbage, onions or carrots, and yakisoba sauce, salt and pepper. And it may not look as much at first, Yakisoba is kind of a… “versatile” dish. It can be either be main dish, or side dish, or fast food, depending on your needs. In many cases, you can enjoy Yakisoba bread in hot-dog-style (literally having Yakisoba filling in a bun). Feeling hungry yet? Then Just One Cookbook just have the right thing:
How to make Yakisoba
(Source: Just One Cookbook)
10. Nagashi Somen
Yet we have another noodle dish called Nagashi Somen and this one is especially fascinating. Nagashi Somen, a.k.a flowing/floating noodle, is special thanks to the way it is served. Instead of having a plate or bowl of noodle as usual, the noodle will be served on a… long bamboo gutter with flowing cold water. The noodles, or somen to be precise, will flow along with the water on the bamboo gutter and customers will have to use chopsticks to quickly pick them out. This “dish” is especially popular during summer and also, we can easily see it featured in anime like Nichijou (sadly Haruna did not get any). Unfortunately, making Nagashi Somen can be pretty difficult since it requires some work. But nonetheless, it should be fun seeing how they prepare the dish:
How to make Nagashi Somen
(Source: internationally ME)
To be honest, putting Sake in a Japanese food list here is a bit of stretch. But since it is Japanese iconic beverage so why not! To put it simple, Sake is Japanese wine made by fermenting rice. Yet unlike Western wine which is made by fermenting sugar from natural fruits like grape, sake production is more akin to beer production. And while its production does simple, there are actually a lot more varieties of sake than we may think. There are already 5 basic types of sake including Junmai-shu, Honjozo-shu, Ginjo-shu, Daiginjo-shu, and Nama-zake. Each has its own brewing methods, and of course, unique flavors. Making sake is definitely not a simple process as it initially sounds, but in case you are interested in brewing one yourself, American Homebrewers Association has the right article for the job.
Losing is definitely not something pleasant for Junpei and friends, but that means it’s time for some hot, tasty treat! In episode 14 of Kuroko no Basket, Kuroko and his gang went to the restaurant and ordered an extremely delicious-looking food called as Okonomiyaki. The name comes from the word okonomi which means “what/how you like“, and yaki meaning “grill“. Sometimes it is also referred as “Japanese pizza”; however, it is totally unlike Western pizza. The most predominant style of Okonomiyaki is from Kansai and Hiroshima; that said, you can still find this dish in all Japan. In Kansai, Okonomiyaki is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs, cabbage, and other ingredients like green onion, konjac, mochi, cheese, and meat (commonly thin-sliced pork) or even seafood like octopus, squid, and shrimp. In Hiroshima, the dish is made in form of layers rather than mixed. The layers often include batter, cabbage, pork, and optional ingredients like cheese, squid, and octopus. It also has noodles topping such as yakisoba or udon with fried egg and a lots of okonomiyaki sauce. And unlike Osaka style, Hiroshima Okonomiyaki often has three or four times more cabbages. Overall, it is a great light meal after a long school day. And talking about light meal, let’s see how a Okonomiyaki is made by Just One Cookbook!
How to make Okonomiyaki
(Source: Just One Cookbook)
Are you a fan of Yuri on Ice? Are you a fan of Yuri Katsuki? If so then you must have known his favorite dish: Katsudon! The name Katsudon comes from the Japanese words “tonkatsu” (meaning pork cutlet) and “donburi” (meaning rice bowl dish). So in short, Katsudon is a pork cutlet rice bowl topped with deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, vegetables, and other spices. This “simple” rice bowl dish looks so delicious that it makes you really want to have it just from a mere thought. Furthermore, in Japan there is a “tradition” for students to have Katsudon the night before a major test. The reason is: “katsu” from Katsudon also refers to the word勝つ – katsu which means “to win”. In addition, for some reason in many detective manga, anime, and Japanese films, there is a “cliché” that suspects are invited to have Katsudon. It is believed that Katsudon will make the suspects burst out of tear and speak the truth when asked “Did you ever think about how your mother feels about this?” We honestly don’t know whether they do this in real life but… who can resist a tasty-looking grilled-pork-cutlet rice bowl? And for that reason, we have to visit Feast Of Fiction and learn how to make Katsudon!
How to make Katsudon
(Source: Feast of Fiction)
Aside from Ramen and Sake, Bento is another world-wide famous Japanese food. Even people who are not into anime and manga probably have heard of the name at least once. In short, Bento is packaged meal, traditionally features rice/noodles, fish/meat, with pickled and cooked vegetables. This “dish” is extremely common throughout Japan. Almost all families know how to make Bento and they tend to make Bento for their children, spouse, and themselves. But in case you are in hurry, you can always buy a pre-made Bento from many, many places like convenient stores, bento stores, department stores, or railway stations. In the West, making a Bento is not really necessary but if you are looking for a healthy lunch, Bento should be a nice choice for a change. So, let’s check out HealthNut Nutrition and see how to make some easy Bento:
How to make Bento
(Source: Feast of Fiction)
15. Japanese Parfait
So far we have covered lots of Japanese main dish and snack, but how about a sweet dessert this time, specifically Japanese Parfait? Despite not being a traditional Japanese food, parfait is actually quite popular in Japanese cuisine, especially in cafés. Japanese parfait is often made of ice cream, corn flakes, red bean, mochi, and other toppings like pocky, waffles, and fruits. And if you prefer healthier parfait, Fruit Parfait should be a great choice. You can pretty much find Fruit Parfait in any town in Japan. These tasty-looking ice cream sundaes often have lots, lots of fruits. Imagine the freshness, sweetness of the fruits like apple, strawberry goes along with fluffy cream, it is indeed the dessert queen for hot summer days. Having fruit parfait for breakfast dessert? Why not? And if you have times to spare, let’s learn how to make it one yourself with Everyday Health!
How to make Fruit Parfait
(Source: Everyday Health)
16. Miso Soup
Miso soup can be an unfamiliar concept for Westerners, but in Japan, no everyday diner is completed without it. Miso soup is often made of dashi and mixed with miso paste, complemented with other ingredients based on personal preferences. A standard miso soup often includes tofu, wakame (a type of edible seaweed), and scallion. Now, let’s be mistaken with Miso paste (みそ or 味噌) which is a traditional Japanese seasoning made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji. In some cases, miso production may also include other ingredients like rice or barley. Aside from being used for Miso soup, this paste can also be used as sauces and spreads, pickling vegetables or meats. If you are interested in making yourself a traditional Japanese diner, Miso soup is a must. Let’s check out Just One Cookbook and see how they did it:
How to make Miso soup
(Source: Just One Cookbook)
17. Ebi Fry
Ebi Fry, or simple fried shrimp, is not only a popular dish in Japan but also in Asian countries like Korea and Philippines. In Japan, Ebi Fry is so popular that you can pretty much see them in any meal like Bento, home diners, and restaurants. You can also spot this shrimp dish in many anime shows (just pay attention to the meals like bento). The shrimp is often covered with flour, egg, and panko (bread crumbs), then got deep fried. Probably the best part about Ebi Fry is that: it is very easy to make. Most of its ingredients can be found in America so let’s try and make some then!
How to make Ebi Fry
Gyoza is the [email protected]’s favoriate dish and in real life, it is extremely easy to find especially in ramen restaurant. This food is originated from China’s dumpling dish called as Jiaozi, which is not only popular in Japan, China but also the entire East Asia region. In Japan, Gyoza is often made of thin dough wrapping with meat like pork and vegetables like green onion, cabbage, ginger, and garlic. Using along with Gyoza is soy sauce and sesame oil which provide even better tastes. Of course, Gyoza’s fillings can be varied, not just pork, green onion, cabbage, ginger, and garlic. It is a rather versatile dish in terms of fillings; you can even make vegan gyoza which is not only healthy but also extremely delicious. In addition, the dish goes along well with ramen. And if you are preparing a ramen bowl, let’s also try to make some gyoza!
How to make Gyoza
(Source: Just One Cookbook)
Yup, Sushi – the most famous Japanese food in the whole world – which can easily be found even outside of Japan. The first time we heard of this well-known dish was in Great Teacher Onizuka – GTO, a comedy manga and anime series. In particular, the main protagonist – Mr. Onizuka – is in love with sushi. Standard sushi often has Sushi-meshi which is rice mixed with rice vinegar, sugar, salt; Nori; and Neta which is usually raw fish or other seafood like squid, octopus, shrimp, and even red meat. Sushi is often eaten with sauces like shōyu, soy sauce which can be flavored with wasabi. In some cases, you may even see sushi chef using pufferfish like fugu which can cause poisoning if not prepared carefully. Normally, a sushi chef will have to pass the prefectural examination in Japan if they want to prepare these kinds of fish for customers. But in case of ourselves, we can still try making some safe sushi:
How to make Sushi
Now that we have experienced many Japanese foods throughout stores and restaurants, it is time to return home and have a nice Japanese hot pot dish with friends and family, namely: Nabemono (or Nabe for short). Now this particular dish is not commonly seen in ramen or sushi restaurant. But there are certain restaurants in Japan specialized in Nabe and in fact, it is the most common dish at home, especially in cold days. For easier illustration, in Shokugeki no Soma season 1, Megumi presented a dish called Goosefish Dobu-Jiru Curry which actually resembled a lot like a Nabe hot pot dish. In real life, most Nabe dishes feature a pot of stews and soups, then people simply sit around the hot pot and enjoy while the foods are frequently cooked. It is quite a special dish as you and your friends or family can relax, have a fun time eating and cooking together. There are also many variations of Nabemono, for example: Chankonabe which was for Sumo wrestlers specifically (there is a school club called Chanko Nabe Research Society in Shokugeki no Soma dedicated to this dish); Sukiyaki which includes thinly sliced beef, tofu, vegetables, starch noodles, and sweetened shoyu stews; or Motsunabe made with beef or pork offal. After a hard-working day, nothing is better than enjoying hot pot and beer with friends. And the best way to enjoy such moments is at home where we can prepare Nabe ourselves:
How to make Nabe
(Source: Micaela ミカエラ)
And that’s it folks! Which Japanese food in anime are your most favorite? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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