Intro to Anime Food

Happy Thanksgiving to people from the US! I hope your day was wonderful! In honor of this food-filled holiday, I thought I would do a special on food in anime (so basically Japanese foods).

What are some staple foods of Japan?

Rice

Well one staple of Japan would have to be rice. Rice production in Japan is a vital part of their economy and it’s not uncommon to have rice at every meal (this includes breakfast). Sometimes they will add soy sauce, katsuobushi (dried fish flakes), raw egg, natto, or other various things to their rice, but often times they will eat it plain.

Cute panda onigiri!

They also make onigiri (rice balls) that are really cute and seen in a plethora of anime. The onigiri may also have fillings. Some popular ones include: salmon, salted/seasoned cod roe, tuna, dried kelp, dried plum, and katsuobushi. Often times the onigiri will have nori (dried seaweed) wrapped around it.

Seafood

Being an island nation, Japan has an abundance of seafood in their exquisite cuisine.

Grilled Mackerel Pike

One type of seafood is sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish, which has to be carefully prepared, but is decadent. A lot of fish are great as sashimi, but some of the popular ones include: maguro (tuna), sake (salmon), tai (sea bream), saba (mackerel), katsuo (bonito or skipjack tuna), and kanpachi (yellowtail/amberjack). Sashimi is often served with wasabi, pickled ginger, and/or soy sauce.

Another way of serving fish in Japan is known as yakizakana. Yakizakana is grilled fish. Fish often used for grilling are saba, sake, tai, and ayu.

Noodles

There are three popular noodle types in Japan.

Udon Noodles

First we’ll talk about soba. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour and are thin. Soba can be prepared hot or cold, depending on the season (or your personal preference). Buckwheat is largely produced in Hokkaido, so there will be many places to buy specialty soba noodles.

Another type of noodle is udon. Udon is a thick noodle made from wheat. It is usually served hot as kake udon. Udon is usually served with toppings. Common toppings include: scallions, tempura, aburaage, and kamaboko. Regions of Japan have different specialties, so if you plan to take a visit, maybe try some different types!

Traditional Ramen House

Lastly, there’s a noodle with a bad rep in the US, but don’t get your panties in a twist it’s not all that you think… ramen! Ramen noodles are a type of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in broth. In western society we often see ramen noodles in packages, boil some water, add the seasoning packet, and go! That’s instant ramen though. Not all ramen is pre-packaged like that. Of course even in Japan they have instant ramen, but they also have a variety of ramen houses, specializing in appetizing ramen dishes, that aren’t nearly as bad for your health as its instant cousin.

 

What’s with those vending machines?

Long line of vending machines in Japan

In the US we generally see vending machines for two items, snacks like chips and candy, and drinks like soda, water, iced tea, and lemonade.

In Japan, their vending machines aren’t as limited. They seem futuristic almost. You name it, they probably have it available in a vending machine. These things can range from cold and hot drinks to ready made meals to fortunes. If you are out for a walk in winter and shivering from the cold, do not fret! There’s most likely a vending machine nearby with hot tea and coffee calling your name.

Vending machines are very popular in Japan and some of them can be pretty strange (here’s a list of vending machines).

What’s omurice?

Omurice is a cute staple of Japanese pop culture. Omurice is an omelette filled with fried rice and usually topped with ketchup. 

Omurice is typically seen in maid cafes. Maid cafes are a type of cosplay restaurant. Typically seen in Akihabara, Tokyo, these cafes cater to the tastes of otakus. Inside a maid cafe you will see young women dressed as maids. No, not real maids, these are costumes. Typically they will act on different personas that the customer will pick.

In maid cafes when you order omurice, they will ask you what you would like drawn/written on your omurice in ketchup. Typically they’ll draw cute designs.

I hope you liked this little Thanksgiving inspired post! 🙂

 

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