Foods in anime and manga

By Curtis Hoffmann
Converted to HTML by Rob Kelk

Recipes (Sukiyaki, Okonomiyaki)

The following list is by no means complete, and may need some additional fine-tuning.

A number of people have asked about, and commented on, various Oriental foods that appear, or are featured, in manga and anime. I'm starting up a more formal listing. Feel free to add to it.


Half (E.g. Tenshinhan: A half order of Tenshin.)
Rice (E.g. Tenshinhan: Tenshin and rice.)
Grilled. (E.g. Yakitori: grilled chicken.)


{} -- Indicates where the associated food appears in manga or anime.

Bean paste sandwiched between two mini pancakes.
{Dorayaki is Doreamon's favorite food.} [TK]

AKA: pot stickers. Little balls of ground meat wrapped in a thin, moon-shaped dough shell.
{Dragon Ball Z, the character named Chou-zu (alternate pronounciation of Gyouza)}

A mixure of vegetables sauteed and covered in a thick transparent sauce. Literally, "eight treasure vegetables."
{Ranma ½, the character named Happosai} [Tanaka]

Of Chinese origin, manju is kind of like an-pan, with anko (red bean paste) in the center, and Chinese dough on the outside. The outer coating can have different flavor additives as well.

The name for soy bean paste (sometimes includes wheat or rice.) The paste has lots of salt added, and the better pastes can be fermented, like cheese, for 1-2 years. Miso soup is called "miso shiru", and is probably originally from China.
Miso paste can also be added to ramen and other foods.
{Shows up whenever a character makes supper}

A short-grain rice (mochi gome) is steamed and then pounded into a very smooth, glutonous mass. Sticky, with no real flavor. Used as the base for some other food, ala tofu.
[Usually found on New Year's Day in the soup (Ozouni)... [RT]]
[Mochi (in korean culture) is a dessert... it's that sweet rice pounded into a smooth mass.. there is an inner filling of red bean paste (very sweet and yummy) and powdered with flower on the outside as to not make your hands messy or stick to the dish. [edwinyoo]]
{Folk tale, Our Man-in-the-Moon is Japan's The Rabbit That Is Pounding Mochi}

Norimaki (Rolled in Seaweed)
Usually refers to rolled sushi, but as it also identifies a specific flavor, it is possible to find Norimaki crackers.
Rice meal is used to make a kind of cross between our corn-based chips, and wheat-based crackers. Various things can be added, and spices placed on top. Senbe and Arare are types of rice crackers.
{Dr. Slump, the characters Senbe Norimaki, and Arale Norimaki}

Mochi is rolled into 1" balls, impaled by thin wooden skewers, and topped with things like red bean paste, and yaki sauce.
{Sailor Moon, Usagi is called "Odango Atama", or "Odango Head".}

Okonomiyaki (Favorite grilled foods)
A Japanese dish you eat by frying a mixture of flour-paste, veggies, and various kind of meats (in whatever combination you like) on a Teppan (iron plate) in front of you into a pan-cake like form. It's eaten with a kind of Japanese sauce, and some grated toppings. [JC]
You can find various okonomiyaki stalls around the parks in Tokyo.
{Ranma ½'s Ukyo}

This is a loan-word, introduced by the Portuguese 400-500 years ago, meaning "bread." Yes, the French have a similar word, but the Japanese were on better terms with the Portuguese 300- 400 years ago, and the Portuguese "Pao" was rendered into "pan" by the Japanese of the time.
This is an English loan word, meaning sandwich. A ham sandwich is called "hamu sando".
A dough that is used in Chinese cooking. Chinese dough in a bun shape, with a meat filling (niku) is called "niku-man."
Bread, formed into a bun, with bean-paste filling is called "an-pan". (Sweet red bean paste is called anko. So, a bean-paste bun is "an-pan." This is why the title character of one children's anime was called "Anpan-man" -- he was an animated an-pan.)
{Used to explain Ryouga's hatred of Ranma early on in Ranma ½}
{Dragon Ball GT, the character named Pan}

A brand name for a long thin cookie-cracker stick, with different coatings. Chocolate, chocolate with almond bits, strawberry, etc. Pocky is supposedly the sound made when you break the stick in two when you bite it.
{3×3 Eyes, Pai eats them in an early volume of the manga.}

Thin noodles, in a soup with chopped veggies. Usually has a little sliced disk of swirly fish paste on top, and a sheet of seaweed.
{Everywhere. Everyone eats ramen at one time or another.}

Shabu shabu
You cook the meat by moving the piece of meat back and forth in the broth. The point is to cook it to your desired doneness w/o letting go of the meat. The sound it supposedly makes when you move the meat in the broth (usually the "kobu" seaweed, sometimes others, sometimes just plain water) is "shabu shabu". The usual greens are onions and Napa cabbage. Sometimes tofu, spinach, various mushrooms, udon, etc. are added with the onions and the Napa cabbage. After you cook the meat/veggies, you dip it in a sauce (soy/lemon, sesame, etc.) before you eat it. [RT]
{No consistent examples}

Thin buckwheat noodles. Used in other recipes.

Things like scallions, thin sliced beef, shirataki (which is a white noodle version of konnyaku (a vegetable similar to a potato)), mushrooms (shiitake), watercress and some other vegetables. Having individuals pick and choose stuff is more fun. It's cooked in a soy sauce/wine/sugar mixture. Traditional Japanese method of eating above mentioned things is to dip into scrambled raw eggs. If so, it's actually easy to prepare. The problem is getting thin enough sliced beef at the grocery store. Butcher shops and asian food markets are better places to get thin sliced beef. In fact, out in NJ/NY area, I remember Asian food stores selling them as sukiyaki beef. [AW]
The raw eggs supposedly cool down the food so you don't burn yourself, and to make the flavor slightly more mellow. (At least that's what my dad claims.) [RT]
{No consistent examples}

Takoyaki (grilled battered octopus)
A batter (with some spices) is poured into 1" diameter cup-shaped holes on a hot grill. Slices of octopus are put in the batter. When one side is done, the balls are flipped to cook on the other side. Served with a dark, tangy sweet sauce.
{Magical Taruruuto-kun, MT's favorite food}

A kind of omelet placed over rice, with a sweet brown sauce.
{Dragon Ball Z, the character named Tenshinhan}

Thick noodles. Used in Udon soup.
{No consistent examples}

Japanese horse radish. When used with sushi, or certain other foods, some water is added to powdered wasabi, to make a strong paste. In American sushi restaurants, it is common to add a lot of wasabi to soy sauce, to make a very spicy mouthful. But, in Japan, a small amount of wasabi is eaten with sushi -- just enough to add a bit of a kick to the meal. Japanese don't really like spicy foods much, and use a fraction of the wasabi that westerners do.
There is a pre-packaged wasabi in a tube, which more like shredded wasabi with other things added.
[I've heard this before and it's not really true. Many Japanese do like spicy foods, and in fact, there was a geki-kara ("super hot") craze a few years back. The reason you don't put too much wasabi on sushi is that you're supposed to be enjoying the taste of the fish and the rice--the wasabi is just a condiment. You wouldn't drench a steak in ketchup, would you? [KT]]
[Most Americans want to hide the taste of sushi... Besides, I've met a lot of Japanese that think they are capable of eating super-hot foods. They fail miserably when given real Mexican, or Sri Lankan dishes. The truth is, most Japanese can't handle truly hot foods. [CH]]
[Trivia--it's actually incorrect to add wasabi to the soy sauce. Letting wasabi come into contact with liquid neutralizes the chemical that give wasabi its "kick." [KT]]
[Tell that to all of the Japanese I've eaten sushi with in restaurants in Japan. [CH]]

Ika on a stick (grilled squid)
Usually, you can find stalls around the parks selling cross-section slices of squid. It's only during certain festivals, and at a few shops, where you can find a whole squid on a stick.
{Various manga}

Grilled noodles, mixed with other chopped veggies. Yakisoba stalls can be found around the parks. (In this case, soba is just a generic term for "noodles".)
{No consistent examples}

Dim Sum--a meal consisting of small portions of a wide variety of foods. In Chinese restaurants in the US, dim sum is usually Saturday and Sunday mornings but I hear it's properly eaten in the afternoon. (Yamcha = "drink tea." i.e. tea time. I dunno if "dim sum" uses the same characters.) [Tanaka]
{Dragon Ball, the character named Yamcha}

Descriptions from:
   Albert Nakano   [AN]
   davew   [DW]
   Jeffreyc   [JC]
   Kenichiro Tanaka   [KT]
   Rita Takahashi   [RT]



Serves 4

1 lb  thinly-sliced round steak, prepared in strips
2 Tsp  salad oil
1½ cups  sliced celery (leaves OK)
1  medium green pepper, sliced
1  large onion, thinly sliced
1½ cups  sliced fresh mushrooms (or 6 oz can, drained)
¾ cup  green onions, sliced in 1-inch pieces (tops too)
1 can (10.5 oz)  beef broth
1 Tsp  soy sauce
¼ cup  water
2 Tsp  cornstarch
4 cups  hot cooked rice

Brown meat in salad oil. Add vegetables, beef broth, and soy sauce. Cover. Cook over low heat 10 minutes, or until vegetables are just tender. Stir often. Combine water and cornstarch; add to meat mixture; stir until thickened. Serve over hot rice.

[Brett Middleton]


Somebody may have sent a recipe already, and there are more sophisticated recipes may be available. This is an easy recipe I can think off my hip.

1 cup  flour
½ cup  water
½ cup  finely shredded cabbage
3  eggs
2-3 pieces  thin sliced pork loin (or cuttlefish [ika], beef, or chicken)
  chopped green seaweed (aonori)
  deepfried droplets (tenkasu)
  bonito flakes
  sauce (tonkatsu sauce or soy sauce+ketchup mixture)

First mix flour, water, cabbage, and 1 egg well. Pour in the center of hot frying pan greased, 5-6 inch round shape, even thickness.

Cook pork while above being cooked. Press pork by spatula, turn to cook.

Place pork onto the dough. Break 2 eggs beside, and make sunnyside down. Place eggs on top of the dough & pork (dough is not yet fully cooked the up side). Turn the whole thing to cook the pork & egg side. Press it by the spatula. Turn again, sprinkle seaweed, tenkasu, and sauce. Cut and serve.

[Nori Matsui]

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