As is obvious from the title of my blog, I’m a bit of a foodie. From including food-themed titles, having anime characters eating food in my banners, and discussing the sweets of Kuroshitsuji, I can’t help but think of the awesomeness of what fills our tummies on a daily basis. This fascination is only magnified each time I watch anime, as anime companies persist in showing their viewers an assortment of wonderful foods from episode to episode, most of them influenced by Japanese cuisine. A good many of these foods have never graced my table, but that doesn’t stop me from imagining just how nom nom good they are. So, without further ado, here are the anime fares that make me drool more than any other:
- Ramen: I’m not talking about the instant ramen that most college kids find themselves consuming in substitute of terrible cafeteria food. I’m talking about dressed-up ramen, the type that borders on art and can only be found from authentic Japanese chefs. I have never had the privilege of consuming real ramen, but I do attempt to dress up my own instant ramen with red pepper flakes, freshly cooked chunks of moist chicken or thick slices of ham, soy sauce, sesame oil, cabbage leaves, and poached eggs with runny yolks. Probably the first thing I’d want to eat upon a visit to Japan would be ramen fresh from a one-man ramen stall.
- Curry: Japanese curry is a food that I’ve seen featured in anime almost as much as ramen, and it makes me drool every time. The mixture of fluffy, white rice, along with a spoonful of thick, saucy curry loaded with beef/chicken, potatoes, onions, carrots, and so many other possibilities is a plate that never tires me. I could seriously eat a plate of curry once a day, every day, and never get sick of it. I cheat a tad and always use roux, but hey, I’m a working student who doesn’t always have the time to make my meals from scratch. Nothing quite warms me up on a cold day like a plate of freshly cooked curry; the other great thing about curry is that it keeps well and makes for nice leftovers!
- Pudding: WHY OH WHY do we not have pudding where I live like the pudding I see in anime? That delicious, gelatinous structure, jiggling with sweet syrup oozing from the top–it’s heaven in a cup. I confess, I have never eaten one like this, but boy, I can just imagine how good it tastes. It’s kind of embarrassing how excited I get whenever an anime character pulls out a pudding cup and plops it upside down on a clean, white plate and I get to watch the dark brown syrup run down the sides of the mouthwatering tower. For those of you have eaten this pudding, does it taste pretty much like the Snack Pack pudding we have in America? Or is it a unique flavor far unlike what we have here?
- Hamburger steak: If you’re familiar with Japanese-style hamburgers and/or Rozen Maiden, you know exactly what I’m talking about. These aren’t the hamburgers you find at McDonalds, loaded with lettuce, tomato, onions, and cheese, all sandwiched in a sesame seed bun. NO! These burgers sit exposed–without the protective barriers of bread–and can be found smothered in ketchupy tonkatsu sauce. My dream burgers are also topped with a sunny-side up fried egg, which on creative days are shaped into fun shapes like flowers and hearts. Again, this is a food I haven’t had the chance to eat from the source, or cook myself, but I hear it’s more of the consistency of meat loaf instead of the plain ground meat we use in American-style burgers. Either way, it sounds and looks fantastic!
- Nabe: Bring out your kotatsu and all your friends and family; tonight we’ll be staying in for a dish that brings people together into a warm setting like no other food–nabe. I’m a huge fan of stews, soups, and pretty much any dish that warms you up, while also promoting community involvement. Also known as a one-pot dish, nabe comes in many forms, all of which comprise of the cooks dumping a bunch of ingredients all at once into the stock. This stock can be either lightly or strongly flavored, depending on the type of atmosphere and taste you want to share with your fellow nabe partakers. Here is yet another dish which I can only dream of eating one day, but I know that when the chance finally arises, I’ll have no reservations in trying out every variety that I possibly can.
- Takoyaki: Pardon the topic image, which features Megurine Luka of Vocaloid in her Tako form, and committing cannibalism with takoyaki. I couldn’t help myself from sharing this barbaric cuteness. Takoyaki, or octopus balls (not octopus testicles, but bread balls filled with diced octopus), is a popular stall food in Japan, and one you’d have no problem finding at a community or school festival, as well as at a street stall. There’s just something about these orbs with their dark sauce and green and dried bonito topping that beckons me. Oh, takoyaki, one day I, too, must stand and watch a stall vendor quickly cook you up, before feasting on your bite-sized goodness.
- Taiyaki: I first encountered taiyaki with my 2nd-ever watched anime, Azumanga Daioh. In one specific episode, which is my favorite episode of the series to date, the girls’ school holds a cultural fair. Chiyo-chan and Osaka take a break from their hard work in their class’ cafe and proceed to visit their peers’ presentations. In one memorable scene, Osaka ends up having to feed Chiyo her taiyaki, as the penguin-outfitted child prodigy is unable to reach the taiyaki to her mouth. It’s a bit tough to see in the image, but taiyaki is a fish-shaped cake, made of batter much like the type used for pancakes or waffles, and usually filled with red bean paste. There are other types of fillings available, depending on where you go, but it’s the popular red bean paste that interests me the most. While I have had goods filled with the sweetened azuki beans, I’ve never been able to eat taiyaki.
It was pretty tough to limit myself to these few food items, as there are plenty of other main dishes and snacks that catch my interest (sushi, sashimi, udon, sukiyaki, soba, gyudon, dango, daifuku…the list goes on and on). If you’ve eaten any of the named foods that I haven’t tried, let me know what you thought about them. Also feel free to name your own favorites that aren’t listed on here >.<