The Manga Cookbook by the Manga University Culinary Institute/Yoko Ishihara (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

August 9, 2011 by  

Learn how to make Japanese dishes manga style!  “The Manga Cookbook” is an easy to follow cookbook created in manga style format and user-friendly.  Definitely recommended for any beginner wanting to learn Japanese cooking!

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MANGA TITLE: The Manga Cookbook

STORY BY: The Manga University Culinary Institute

ART BY: Chihiro Hattori


RATED: T for Older Teen

Reading manga sure can make a person hungry! Food appears frequently in Japanese comics, but what exactly is it that the characters are eating?

The Manga Cookbook is an illustrated step-by-step guide to preparing simple Japanese dishes using ingredients found in every Western kitchen. Learn to identify and make the same things you see in all your favorite manga: authentic onigiri (rice balls), yakitori (skewered chicken), oshinko (pickled vegetables), udon (Japanese noodles), okonomiyaki (Japanese-style pizza) and many others! Includes sections on how to assemble bento boxed lunches and properly use chopsticks.

The 27 recipes included in The Manga Cookbook range from traditional to more modern Japanese dishes, and all of them were hand-picked by certified nutritionist and chef Yoko Ishihara to be just as nutritious as they are fun to make.

Each major recipe also contains cultural notes, different variations you can try and, of course, references to manga that feature the foods. Features original manga illustrations by Chihiro Hattori. Soon, you too can enjoy a meal fit for a manga character!

Manga University is known for helping people how to draw manga but this time around, they want to help people learn how to cook Japanese dishes through manga.

And so, the Manga University Culinary Institute has released “The Manga Cookbook” featuring recipes from Yoko Ishihara and art by Chihiro Hattori.

Inside the pages of “The Manga Cookbook”, readers can learn how to use chopsticks, learn how to make appetizers such as usagi ringo (apples made to look like rabbits), tamago tomodachi (how to make eggs look like chicks), onigiri (the popular rice dish shown on anime and manga), Naruto rolls (for those familiar with the Konoha symbol, you can do the same with ham and cheese with nori), nikumaki, jagatama, rice burgers, train bento, garden bento, bento ideas, oshinko, miso soup, karaage, tamagoyaki, California rolls and more!

Similar to cookbooks, you see picture examples of how to make the dishes, but in this case, each picture is drawn ala manga style and each page is told by characters Miyuki (who loves to cook), her boyfriend Hiroshi (who likes to cook but also eat) and her mascot “Coo”.  Miyuki explains to readers on what to do step-by-step and ingredients are also listed on top.

As a person who loves Japanese food and has reviewed many Japanese cookbooks, “The Manga Cookbook” is a first for me, because it’s manga-based.

While I am a stickler for color-based photos, the good news is that “The Manga Cookbook” does feature easy dishes for anyone to make it at home and ingredients that one can easily find at their local supermarket.  Granted, nori (seaweed) is probably more accessible to those with an Asian supermarket nearby.  But also, things like sushi rolling mats can be easily ordered cheaply online.

While I do recommend this cookbook because it is easy to follow, I also recommend those getting into Japanese dishes to also check out “The Just Bento Cookbook” by Makiko Itoh and “Japanese Home Cooking” with Master Chef Murata by Yoshihiro Murata.  And if you love Japanese food and love reading via manga format, definitely check out the manga series “Oishinbo”.

Overall, “The Manga Cookbook” is a great way to introduce manga fans to Japanese cooking.  A lot of dishes that are easily accessible and also very good selections of dishes as well.  Manga character designs and even the pictures are well-done but the step-by-step instructions are easy to follow.

“The Manga Cookbook” by the Manga University Culinary Institute is definitely recommended!

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