food

Annotated Anime: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma episodes 9-12

Jul 06 // Nick Valdez
Episode 9 Since the Aldini Bros did so well in the test (and used duck as their main ingredient rather than fish like the rest of the students), this motivated Souma to try something completely off the wall. Exploiting the rule that they could use any ingredient in the area, Souma decides to use Chef Inui's bag of chips. After some ingredient rummaging, Souma and Tadakoro (the best) make up some fish using the chips as breading. But as Chef Inui proves to be slightly absent minded, the two never find out whose dish was better. After some levity, we find out everyone from the Polar Star Dorm made it through the first day but then a harsher challenge appeared. Each student was tasked with serving fifty bodybuilders within an hour or they'd be instantly expelled. Souma naturally finishes the task quickly (thanks to all the experience of serving in his family restaurant), and ends up colliding with Nakiri as they both were humming along with the anime's ending theme. I love when shows break the fourth wall like that. It was a good sequence all around.  Episode 10 The first half of the episode dealt with fallout from the first day's challenges. The entire Polar Star dorm survived the evening test, and everyone is trying to rest a bit. Tadakoro's (the best) not confident in herself, so she's always afraid she'll mess up the dishes. We also learned a bit more about God Tongue Nakiri from Chef Doujima (who Souma meets in the bath), as we learn her skill is setting her out to be the top of the school. The second half kicks off Day 2 with Chef Shinomiya, the harshest of the Totsuki alumni judges for the camp. He's already expelled 30 students, and even expelled a student for using a scented shampoo on the first day. He's assigned them a recipe they have to duplicate, a highly technical French dish called the Terrine of Nine Vegetables (with nine veggies stacked on top of each other in a little cube with the same kind of texture).  He also forces them to work alone (and think of each other as "enemies") which hurts Tadakoro even further since she's relied a bit of Souma to this point. So she's left with some cauliflower that's begun to oxidize and fixes it with wine vinegar. But because she's changed the recipe (even if it tasted great), Chef Shinomiya fails her. When Souma calls him out on the poor ingredients, Shinomiya admits that he purposefully added spoiled ones to limits the students that'd pass. Then Souma challenges Shinomiya to Shokugeki and it gets mad intense! Ugh, Tadakoro is so cute though.  Episode 11 Although Tadakoro will always be my number one, Chef Inui is strongly vying for that top spot. Essentially a more evolved Tadakoro, she adorably argues Shinomiya's decision. As Chef Doujima hears of the Shokugeki, he forces Shinomiya to accept and now Souma and Tadakoro have to cook for their lives in an unofficial cook off to keep Tadakoro in school. As per Doujima, the Shougeki is set at two hours using leftover ingredients from Day 2's challenges with the Totsuki alumni deciding the victor. And more importantly, Tadakoro is made head chef who will decide the recipe. After some panic, Souma was able to calm her down and Tadakoro decided on a recipe. Thanks to some much needed levity (as the other alumni pick on Shinomiya) we learn a bit more about him too. After graduation he went to France and opened several restaurants and earned the moniker "The Magician of Legumes" because of his good use of vegetables.  Shinomiya serves his dish first, and it's a basic cabbage roll with high end ingredients. It's so good it leads to this week's header image. The last few episodes have been tense, and this one follows suit, but there's a good balance of comedy here. I laughed much more thn I have in the past. It's this kind of episode that brings me back week to week (and keeps me writing these chunks of summaries, haha).  Episode 12 Tadakoro serves her dish, a rainbow terrine (in order to show off her terrine recipe) with seven different combinations of vegetables and flavors. The alumni all like her dish so much, they alike her to a household yokai that delivers vegetables (since Shinomiya is the "Magician of Legumes") but unfortunately vote in Shinomiya's favor. But Doujima convinced Shinomiya to try Tadakoro's dish in order to understand why they favor her so much. Because her cooking comes with heart, which is something Shinomiya lacked and caused him to stagnate in his growth. So basically, the Shokugeki was all crafted by Doujima in order to give Tadakoro some confidence and to show Shinomiya that he can't continue coldly ignoring others if he wants his cooking to improve. It was a nice, light hearted ending to the arc.  Although Souma really didn't appreciate the loss. He hasn't lost anything to this point and it got to him. But seeing as how Tadakoro was happy, he'll let it slide.  That's it for this chunk! Next heap of episodes continues the camp and the start of Day 3. You know how we always have a few screencaps of each episode for you? Funny thing was that since I like Tadakoro so much, and that these episodes had a heavy focus on her, these were almost all Tadakoro faces. She's so adorable and the team always gives her good reactions. As for the little things, I don't notice them as much anymore. Now that the show has settled into a nice arc, everything seems more focused. The background noise isn't as wily, the characters are more developed, and there's far less intrusive fan service bits. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma has definitely come into its own. 
Food Wars 9-13 photo
Tadakoro now, Tadakoro forever
Last time we left off, Souma and the other chefs were taking part in an annual Totsuki Academy camp where they have to pass a few tests. We're currently in the middle of the first test as Chef Inui wants pairs of chefs to coo...

Let it go photo
Let it go

Let it go when you poop: Disney's Frozen Sausages in Japan


I don't care what they might contain
Jun 09
// Niero Gonzalez
Sausage marketers have it tough. Their product looks like a dick and is likely made from the most unmentionable mechanically separated animal parts. How are you supposed to sell that to kids? You print a snow queen on it, log...
Food photo
Food

Nissin Cup Noodle's latest commercial transcends time and space


Stay Hot!
Jun 05
// Salvador GRodiles
To this day, I've yet to try fresh ramen. At the moment, my experience with the meal's limited to the cheap Maruchan instant noodles that are good for anyone who's on a tight budget. While we're on the topic of noodles, Niss...

Annotated Anime: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma episodes 6-8

Jun 02 // Nick Valdez
Episode 6 In this episode, we learn a little more about Totsuki Academy's numerous cooking clubs and how the "God Tongue" Erina uses her status as one of the ten best students in the school to get what she wants. Because it needs to set up the next bunch of episodes, this one is mostly exposition and ultimately feels lacking. Souma stumbles on the Don Research Society, which focuses on a rice dish with various meats on top, and discovers that it's the next club Erina wants to take down. Erina sends Mito Ikumi, who's nicknamed "Nikumi" and whose specialty is meat dishes (and layered with all sorts of jokes). I'm not a particular fan of her design although you could argue that it also goes with the overall parodical nature of the show as her design hearkens back to a late 80s bikini under a shirt vibe. Souma challenges Mito to a Shokugeki duel where he'll get expelled if he loses, and Mito will join the Don RS if he wins. The rest of the episode is a nice change of pace at the Polar Star dorm's garden, and lets Tadaroko shine a bit.  All of the technical problems I noted in my initial First Impressions post are still here, but they're not as abrasive as they were before. I'm sure it's because of a lack of major activity.  Episode 7 Okay, so this is the show I've been waiting for. Gone is most of the fluff, and it's all boiled down to hardcore cooking action. As Souma and Mito finally start the Shokugeki, Mito reveals her prize possession, a chunk of Grade A5 meat (very expensive). Souma counters with some cheaper grocery store meat. Through the episode the commentary from the crowd helps to elevate the admitted lack of action. But it's basically told in the same format you'd find in reality shows like Iron Chef where the chefs aren't really moving all that much but the commentary from the judges helps to elevate the visuals. Since this is a Don battle, Mito presents a Don using her super wagyu beef and her entire focus was on making the meat great. But Souma presents an all around better Don (with his focus pointed more toward the rice and making sure the dish has a sense of unity), and ultimately wins the duel thanks to his secret plum additive.  After their Shokugeki, Mito seems to have developed a crush on Souma. And Souma is offered the Don RS's head position, but hilariously turns it down. When summarized, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of plot to the episode but that's what is so great about it overall. The theatrics of the series finally make sense and the Shokugekis are far more palatable than they are in the manga. I hope this continues to be the trend going forward.  Episode 8 With his first official Shokugeki under his belt, Souma and his reinforced confidence are subjected to Totsuki's outdoor training camp. Each year that Totsuki does the camp, the first year class is cut in half thanks to a hefty amount of grueling challenges that can get you expelled. After introducing some Totsuki alumni who'll judge the challenges (including Chef Shinomiya, who sent a student home based on his smelly hair product). The first challenge puts Tadaroko and Souma in a pair as Chef Inui (who amazingly stated she wanted to eat the oh so cute Tadaroko) tasks them with cooking a Japanese cuisine dish made from ingredients the cooks can sparse from the area around them. Basically, it's a task based on the mentality that no challenge should stump a chef as long as he keeps a level head. The challenge also introduces a new rival with the Aldini brothers, a pair of twins who look nothing alike and can cook some fine Italian cuisine.  The rest of the episode is dedicated to seeing the brothers craft their duck dish. A dish that incorporates traditional Japanese ingredients into Italian recipes like salsa verde. That's where this anime's shonen qualities kick in with exaggerated knife work and accented backgrounds that really make the cooking pop. I kind of wish these were seen more during the last episode, but since we're supposed to believe that the brothers put their dish together with a quick pace it's understandable.  It'll be interesting to see how Souma's flair for the dramatic is sparked by this display, and if the show continues to follow the manga as closely as it has, the next episode is going to be hilarious. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of the show's pace (as a lot of the show's plot is hindered by a bit of filler each episode) since it feels like we could've had the entire first challenge within a single episode. But maybe that would've been too much. What do you think? 
Annotated Food Wars! photo
Is Souma don for?
With the first five episodes, Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma had to establish its wacky as all get out world. Goofy sexualization, heightened environment, and basically had to make sure you could accept this culinary world seri...

WTF photo
WTF

WTF Fridays: Hot cakes


How many maids does it take?
May 29
// Hiroko Yamamura
There's no way that isn't burnt, and there's no way this isn't my dream come true.
Food photo
Food

Vitamin Chips. Orange flavoured potato chips return to stores


I take a potato chip and eat it!
May 26
// Anthony Redgrave
The mixing of two different tastes is prominent in Asian cuisine. Sweet and Sour, Hot and Sour, Sweet Chili etc. These are all fantastic flavours that give our favourite dishes a kick that we all love. Even the west has some ...

First Impressions: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

May 18 // Nick Valdez
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is a simple premise heightened by its presentation (like how Duck a l'Orange sounds better than it actually is thanks to its name). Yukihira Souma runs a diner with his father, and his dream is to one day surpass his father’s cooking prowess. When his father takes a job in America and closes the diner, Souma is shipped to Totsuki Culinary Academy, an elite cooking school where only 10% of students who enroll graduate. But those who do graduate become top figures in the cooking world. There he comes across a bevy of characters like the “God Tongue” Erina, the “Meat Master” Ikumi, and the oh so cute Tadaroko. There’s quite a bit of hefty production thrown behind what’s essentially a cooking show. I don’t really know what to think of it. At times it feels satirical since the fan service is so explicitly comedic (but ultimately superfluous), and a lot of the animation budget goes into making the cooking scenes flow with more vigor (thus resembling Shonen Jump’s more “action” filled anime), but it's meant to be taken at face value. The presentation almost hampers the subject material. It’s like the anime isn’t taking itself seriously. And while that does make for a good watch week to week, it’s hard to discern whether or not the studio is a good chef when they keep adding differing flavors each time. For example, a lot of the background music doesn't fit. When Souma cooks for Erina to get into Totsuki in the second episode, the music seems to be pushing the action faster than it actually is. Then you have moments of denouement after the action as the recipes are explained that are ruined by that music as well. It’s a weird quirk that I hope gets fixed in the episodes to come. But everything else is great! Character designs flow well, the fan service is just too ridiculous to be off putting (though you'll want to turn your volume down when girls eat and that gets super annoying), and there's a decent of amount of humor that lands. When Food Wars! isn't going for a cheap gag, it's spot on. At the very least, there are a number of actual cooking tips. Some of the recipes featured on the show are quite attainable and are developed enough to recreate. That's a nice touch since this definitely could've been a food anime that didn't care whether or not it served up actual food.  For as much there is to like about Food Wars, there are as many compelling reasons to avoid it. It’s a show that deals in extremes, and the constant overreaching will most likely hurt it in the long run. It’s possible that I gel with the cheesy premise now, but, as with any overly comedic show, the premise will tire out if it’s at a constant state of heightened reality. It’s one of those “style over substance” things. It’s like sitting in an all-you-can-eat buffet and being sickened by the taste of food after a few hours. Regardless of how much you think you can handle, you bust when you’re overfed. If Food Wars constantly keeps up this stylized world rather than have confidence that its show could exist without all the hubbub going on the background, it won’t keep my attention for long. But I’ve been hooked for time being. When it hits, it hits hard. And of course, Tadaroko is the best. 
Food Wars Impressions photo
Marry me, Tadaroko
I’ve had a lot of trouble catching on to anime over the years, but every so often there’s a show that sounds so incredibly insane that I can’t help but watch it. That’s how I got reeled into a shows li...

WTF photo
WTF

WTF Fridays: It's Gyoza time


Who's got time?
May 08
// Hiroko Yamamura
Everybody loves a succulent gyoza, but really... Who has time for all that?
Food photo
Food

KFC and Potato Chips. Together at Last


For Increasingly Accessible KFC munchings
Feb 24
// Anthony Redgrave
There are some Japanese snacks that wouldn't fly in the west. Pocari Sweat has the connotation of drinking someone's perspiration, and their eclectic Kit Kat flavours can make some taste buds shudder. But this concept already has me salivating.
Japanese MREs photo
Japanese MREs

Let's take a look at an instant Military meal from Japan


Protecting the troops from starvation
Feb 10
// Red Veron
Now I've had my share of US military rations, better known as "Meals-Ready-to-Eat" (MREs) I've often wondered how other countries handled their on-the-go meals for their troops. US military MREs aren't the tastiest and often ...
WTF photo
WTF

WTF Fridays: I want pizza!


P I Z Z A
Dec 05
// Hiroko Yamamura
I don't think I've seen people get this excited about a pizza since the Olsen Twins.
Shrimp Cannon photo
Shrimp Cannon

Want Shrimp Tempura in 3 seconds? Take this cannon


Mid-air Ebi-Fry
Dec 02
// Josh Tolentino
You never know where useful information will come from. For example, would you expect to learn a secret technique for preparing fried shrimp in an instant from...a wireless carrier? Yeah, neither did I.  NTT Docomo's pr...
Japanator Eats photo
Hiroko prepares to stuff her face
There's few things that I love more than anime and video games. One of them is unfortunately my unhealthy obsession with chowing down on snacks, particularly Japanese snacks! I live in Chicago right now, and actually have a ...

Pigeon drones photo
Pigeon drones

Arrange pigeon drone booze parties with Kirin


Three drones to the wind
Nov 05
// Josh Tolentino
Ever wanted to knock back a brew with a bunch of cool drones? Well, too bad, because Kirin's got the opportunity for you, with a new campaign stunt involving a little family of four drones, decorated to look like friendly pi...
Books photo
Books

Learn how to create daicon radish animals with this upcoming book


Daicon Panda Sculpting 101
Oct 19
// Salvador GRodiles
Are you interested in learning how to make daikon radish art?  If you answered "yes," then you'll be happy to know that Daikon Radish Artist Kimimarokku's releasing a book that teaches people the basics of creating daico...
Roll cake photo
Roll cake

Monkey face jesus returns!


Looks delicious
Oct 06
// Hiroko Yamamura
Do you remember a few years back, when a retiree from Zaragoza "restored" the painting of Jesus known as Ecce Homo? Well, the image made headlines due to the poor lady's animu-style paintbrush skills, which made jesus look mo...
food skills photo
food skills

You wish you had these cucumber skills


Not a euphenism
Sep 16
// Kristina Pino
One of the foods that I never ate before moving to Japan that I now eat daily is cucumber. Japanese cucumbers are delicious, and I especially like working some insta-pickling on 'em and enjoying them on the side with a meal....
Pudding maker? photo
Pudding maker?

Make some egg... pudding?


Someone really has to define what pudding is
Sep 08
// Hiroko Yamamura
After watching a bunch of British TV show on the BBC I became a bit confused to what pudding is. Growing up, it was always that delicious milky stuff that Bill Cosby was hustling to kids. You'd find it in chocolate or vanill...
Jtor Eats photo
Jtor Eats

Japanator Eats: Green Tea Snacks Part 3


Even more green tea
Aug 31
// Josh Totman
Final installment of the green tea series is up for your viewing pleasure. It was a heck of a ride tasting all the green tea snacks that I got my hands on. Some were great, and some, were not that great... The main thing though is, just get out there and try something new. You never know when you will find that new favorite snack.
WTF photo
WTF

WTF Fridays: Good taste


I guess everyones' tastebuds are different
Aug 22
// Hiroko Yamamura
It's amazing, how unsophisticated some palates can be...
snack video photo
Seriously, what
I just had to try these when I saw them at the store. I've never seen (or noticed) there were flavors besides cheese for Ritz Bits Sandwiches, and lately I've had trouble finding mango juice in my area, so I figured maybe a mango-flavored snack would satisfy my craving. As I type this, I've got the bag open next to me and the smell is kind of making me queasy. It's that strong.

 photo

Japanator Eats: Green Tea Snacks Part 2


Drowning in green tea goodness
Jul 24
// Josh Totman
All your green tea snacks are belong to me. All your green tea snacks are belong to me. All your green tea snacks are belong to me.
Green Tea Snacks Part 1 photo
Green Tea Snacks Part 1

Japanator Eats: Green Tea Snacks Part 1


It's Pocky time!
Jul 14
// Josh Totman
Green tea snacks are so lovely. If there is a green tea version of any food, I will undoubtedly get that version of it. I'm drawn into the bitterness of the green tea matched with the sweetness of anything else that it is with. For this first part, I have some green tea Pocky variations by the names of Pocky Crush and Pocky Midi.
Grapefruit popsicle  photo
Grapefruit popsicle

New grapefruit flavor will make you pucker this summer


Sour on top of sour
Jul 14
// Josh Totman
Coming to convenient stores across Japan is a new sour popsicle from the maker of the Gari Gari-kun Soda popsicle. Their new flavor puts your sourness to the test by combining lemon and grapefruit together. The bar itself is ...
Jtor Eats: Kit Kats photo
Jtor Eats: Kit Kats

Japanator Eats: Strawberry and Wasabi Kit Kats


Powerful flavors
Jun 27
// Josh Totman
It's finally time for some more snack reviews from yours truly! I got my hands on some more of those flavored Kit Kats that everyone likes to hear about. Strawberry and wasabi flavors both had it's surprising side to them, but not like you might expect. I don't want to give too much away from the video. Sit back and enjoy me snacking away on something yummy. 
Godzilla booze photo
Godzilla booze

Power up your Atomic Breath with Godzilla shochu


I need this now
Jun 25
// Hiroko Yamamura
I'm not quite sure what most people thought about the recent Godzilla film reboot. Personally, I loved the film. It's actually hard for me to dislike anything Godzilla, so you could probably gues I was excited to see this lim...
Food photo
Food

Got a rice cooker? Then you can make some tasty pancakes too!


I gotta get me one of those.
Jun 16
// Pedro Cortes
The rice cooker is an appliance that you see pretty often in anime and dramas. Considering how important rice is in the general Japanese diet, that shouldn't be a surprise. What is surprising are the various other things you ...
Macross Cafe photo
Macross Cafe

Head to Ikebukuro to dine on your favorite Macross F treats


What's on the menu?
Jun 16
// Hiroko Yamamura
If you happen to be in Japan on July 27th, and love Macross you are in luck. The Namco run Characro cafe will be having a limited time cross over with the Macross Frontier series. The preliminary designs show some pretty cool...
Mister Donut photo
Japan's version of a cronut emerges
With my return to Japanator comes the return of videos in which you get to watch me eat stuff from Japan with more regularity. My first entry in this new era of food videos features an inspired dish, the Mr Croissant Donut, ...

WTF photo
WTF

WTF Fridays: I Want Candy


I'm feeling funny
Apr 25
// Hiroko Yamamura
I'm having far too much internal conflict now to give an opinion.
Baked Kit Kats photo
Baked Kit Kats

Chocolate not doing it for you? Try some baked Kit Kats instead


But I'm lazy so bake them for me
Mar 29
// Chris Walden
Japan is well known for its exclusive and extravagant Kit Kat flavours, with the likes of cherry blossom, green tea and wasabi joining the more standard milk chocolate and orange varieties. Creating new flavours just isn't en...
Food photo
Food

Sushi created with a single grain of rice


Japan again makes tiny thing!
Mar 19
// Dae Lee
The potential of a lone grain of rice has been tested time and time again. It's been used as a canvas for meticulous illustrations, laser engravings, and sculpted on to make micro-masterpieces. This time, it's something with...
Japan photo
Japan

Burger King Japan wants you to eat their giant sausage


Phallic symbols abound
Mar 13
// Pedro Cortes
What do you do when your competition announces something special? Usually, you find something similar and ride their coattails into the land of profit. In the case of Burger King Japan, you show everybody your giant wiener. A...
Chocolate photo
Chocolate

What in this room is made of chocolate?


Hint: just about everything
Mar 07
// Brad Rice
You know Japanese variety shows are interesting, to say the least. In this episode, one of the games they had looks awfully salivating. The staff got together some master chocolatiers and had them craft objects within a room...
Attack on Titan Burgers photo
Attack on Titan Burgers

Attack on Arteries: New Lotteria burgers are insane


You could say they're...colossal
Feb 27
// Chris Walden
I can imagine that the design process for an Attack on Titan burger must have been a tough one. Grilling pictures into the bun would have been lame, and you can't really pick specialist ingredients when the only things that g...
Food photo
Food

Beware the kraken with the Deep Sea Curry


Don't forget his buddy, "Squid" Latte
Feb 25
// Pedro Cortes
I love seeing specialized dishes at Japanese cafes. It's incredible how much attention and detail go into some of these drinks and plates. Most of the time, these items look delectable and I want them in front of me as soon a...
McD's Japan photo
McD's Japan

Mcdonald's Japan is getting funky


Eat that funky burger!
Feb 18
// Kristina Pino
Continuing the American Vintage campaign, McDonald's Japan have revealed the next wave of sandwiches, which are released this week and represent the era of funk (the '80s). Behold: the American Funky BBQ beef and chicken burg...
Hinamatsuri photo
Hinamatsuri

An overview of Hinamatsuri and some speed snacking


Oooh, informative!
Feb 17
// Kristina Pino
As Japan gears up for Spring, there are plenty of new snacks to enjoy. But this time, I'm changing things up a little bit. Instead of just taunting you with the awesome treats available to me all the time (including a Misdo ...
Misdo Spring photo
Misdo Spring

Misdo is meeting Spring with strawberries


More doughnuts? Yes
Feb 16
// Kristina Pino
I'm pretty much over Winter at this point. I mean, I've been over it. But nowadays, with all this stupid snow, I'm feeling the desire to see Springtime more than ever. And in an effort to get people like me even more in the m...
Freshness Burger photo
Freshness Burger

'Chicken Cordon Blue' at Freshness Burger looks amazing


French food, done Japanese style
Feb 15
// Kristina Pino
I can't explain the meaning of changing around two letters of the name of this sandwich, but I will absolutely accept it on the grounds that it looks absolutely delicious. Freshness Burger, one of the various burger chains th...

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