Monday, October 17, 2016

Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine by Tetsu Kariya

Found this in the NLB and immediately got it because I haven't read Oishinbo in English before! The only time I read it, it was in Japanese, and at a manga cafe when I was staying the night, so I didn't make it very far.

Anyway, Oishinbo is a really famous manga in Japan, and it's all about food! Sadly, it's now on hiatus (probably permanent) because the author made a misstep when talking about food from Fukushima.

The plot of Oishinbo is roughly like this: Tozai News wants to create an "ultimate menu" and Yamaoka Shiro and Kurita Yuko (the new girl) are in charge. Yamaoka is fairly lazy, but quite a genius with regards to food. He also has a huge feud with his uber famous father, which results in his dad going to work on the rival "Supreme menu" for the Teito times. Oh, and along the way Yamaoka and Kurita fall in love, get married and have a kid.

But it's mostly about the food. Really.

But to be honest, the plot doesn't really matter because the English translation is an 'a la carte' which means that they ignored the main plot and just translated a bunch of chapters around a theme. In this case, Washoku (Japanese cuisine).

While I enjoyed the plot (I read a few of the chapters in order, so I knew the basics - there is a summary though), the main star is clearly the food. This can be a textbook for Japanese cuisine, though the Japanese manga contains 111 volumes! (Incidentally, that makes it the 8th longest manga ever released)

This particular volume talks about dashi, basic knife skills, the right to be a chef, the pinnacle of technique (cooking sashimi), the soul of hospitality, the ultimate etiquette (chopsticks), the tea master and the strawberry, a real feast (the spirit of gochisou), the principles of Japanese cuisine and tea.

If you're a fan of Japanese food, you'll definitely want to read this. Though it may be a good idea to read this with Japanese food within reach, because this is going to make you hungry.

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