Anime Cuisine: Taking A Bite Of Asian Food From The Small Screen
Food plays a central role in cultures across the world. Each region, country, and continent has its own culinary delights on offer, and exploring this side of society can be a great way to get to know places better.
For those who love to watch anime, though, few locations will be more alluring than Japan. This island nation has a wealth of different cuisines on offer, and many of them are completely different to what people are used to in the Western world. Thankfully, food also plays a heavy role in anime shows and movies, and this gives you a great place to start when you want to try food from this part of the world.
To make this all the easier for you, this article will be exploring some of the different foods found in anime, giving you an idea of where they come from, what they taste like, and how you can try them for yourself.
It would be wrong to make a list like this without talking about ramen. Usually coming in the form of a simple noodle dish, it’s hard to say where ramen came from originally. Some people say that it came from Japan, while others claim that it originated in China. No matter where it came from, ramen has featured in a wide range of animes, from Naruto to Cowboy Bebop, and this is one of the first meals you should try if you want to break into anime foods.
Yakiniku covers a wide range of dishes, and roughly translates to “grilled meat”. This will change depending on your location in Japan, and the type of meat and preparation methods will vary, too. Delicious Yakiniku can be found in restaurants across the globe, but you’ll always find the most authentic examples in Japan itself. Yakiniku-ten Sengoku is an anime about a boy starting his first job working for a Yakiniku shop. It isn’t the best-known anime in the world, but it’s a cute take on this important part of life.
Taiyaki is very common in animes of all different types, though a lot of people mistake this treat for something entirely different. Taiyaki is traditionally shaped like a fish, leading a lot of people to believe that their favourite characters are chowing down on something from the sea. In reality, though, Taiyaki is a sort of pancake, typically filled with something sweet like red berries or chocolate. Yami from To Love Ru can’t get enough of these treats, and you’ll get hooked just as easily.
Onigiri (Rice Balls)
If you’ve watched much anime in your time, you will have certainly seen rice balls before. Known as onigiri, this delight is quite simple; rice wrapped with seaweed and various types of fish. You can make this at home, but the most authentic tastes will come directly from Japan. Onigiri features in loads of different anime shows and movies, and there is even a show named after this delicious food. This is one that any Japan-enthusiast will want to try for themselves.
Miso soup is a popular dish both on and off the screen in Japan, and is one of the most common dishes you’ll find in Japanese-inspired restaurants across the globe. Miso soup is a soup made with dashi, miso, and a range of vegetables to add to the flavour. You can find tofu in many miso soup dishes, and a lot of people have many of the ingredients they need for this meal in their cupboard. It’s common to find miso soup in anime, and you can even find recipes online from shows like Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon.
Moving away from foods a little, it’s time to look at one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Japan; Sake. Traditionally made from rice which has been chewed and fermented, this drink has been around for a very long time. You can buy a bottle just about anywhere in the world, though the best examples come from Japan itself. A hit anime movie called Your Name is responsible for a real-world sake brand, with the bottles of this brand being shaped to look like those in the film.
Nabemono, or Nabe for short, is a popular hotpot dish which is found across Japan. This meal comes in a range of different pots, including curries, stews, and soups, and the whole thing is designed to be enjoyed together with the people you care about. Yama no Susume featured a delicious-looking tomato nabe in one of its episodes, and you can find a recipe for this sort of dish if you look around the web. There are loads of different ways to make a nabe spread, and it’s worth doing your research before you dive in.
I would be wrong to talk about Japanese food without covering sushi. This type of dish has become wildly popular across the world in recent years, offering a tasty way to consume something healthy. Usually consisting of rice, seaweed, fish, and vegetables, sushi comes in countless different forms. Shōta no Sushi is a manga series based on the journey of an apprentice learning to be a sushi chef, and there are loads of other mangas and animes which feature this type of food. In fact, it’s probably been on-screen more than any other Japanese dish.
Japan is a beautiful country with a rich culture and a long history of culinary exploration. This has resulted in loads of dishes being created which don’t follow the same rules as food elsewhere in the world. Anime shows and movies have long been popular in the West, but it’s about time that you started soaking up more of this culture, and eating the food is an excellent way to approach it.