Cooking Manga Good Enough to Eat


From the land of Iron Chef comes cooking manga — Japanese comics about the thrills and spills (mostly spills) that happens when you turn baking, frying and slicing into a competitive sport, and turn the kitchen into a backdrop for romance, comedy, and intrigue. Bite into these tasty tales and if you find yourself with a craving for a cream puff or sushi in the middle of reading these stories, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Oishinbo Ala Carte Volume 1 by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki.

Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki/Shogakukan Inc. 

Journalist Shiro Yamaoka is more than just a reporter: he’s a trained gourmet chef who has the tenacity, skills and the taste buds to find the very best cuisine that Japan has to offer. With his co-worker Yuko Kurita, Yamaoka is out to find the ultimate flavors and dishes at restaurants grand and humble alike. But it’s not all fun and food for Shiro, as he must also compete with rich and arrogant father, Yuzan Kaibara. Kaibara is a demanding gourmet who terrorizes cooks all over Japan with his demands for only the best food and finest preparations. As Shiro takes on his gastronomical quest, readers are treated to a master class in the finer points of cooking and eating.

Oishinbo is available in 7 print volumes, and in digital format via

The Drops of God Volume 1.

Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto / KODANSHA

Named by Decanter Magazine as one of the most influential wine publications in the world, The Drops of God has been a driving force behind the increased interest in wine in Asia. Why? Mostly because The Drops of God features real wines that readers can find, buy, and taste, and introduces the finer points of wine appreciation in a way that’s both accessible and entertaining.

Shizuku is the son of a famous wine critic who has turned his back on his father’s world. But when his father dies and leaves a will that stipulates that his son must compete with an arrogant young wine critic to inherit a multi-million dollar wine collection, Shizuku takes up the challenge and embarks on a journey of exciting tastes, places, and experiences.

 Fumi Yoshinaga/Yen Press

Manga artist Fumi Yoshinaga (Ooku, Antique Bakery) has made no secret about her love of cooking and good food. In Not Love But Delicious Foods, she reveals some of her favorite places to eat in Tokyo and tells some hilarious stories about her real-life friends, colleagues and would-be dates who share her adventures in fine dining.

With loads of self-deprecating wit and lots of mouth-watering details, Yoshinaga gives readers a glimpse into her life as a manga creator and a taste of some favorite dishes. A fun comic fit for foodies that will leave you hungry for more.

Yakitate!! Japan, Volume 1.

 Takashi Hashiguchi/VIZMedia, LLC

Young Kazuma is a prodigy with a unique talent. He has the ‘hands of the sun’ or the innate ability to knead and bake outrageously creative and sublimely delicious bread. Although he can bake baguettes, croissants, and danishes with ease, Kazuma dreams of creating the ultimate bread for Japanese tastebuds — the elusive “Ja-pan” (pan = “bread” in Japanese). Filled with delectably detailed trivia about baking, Yakitate!! Japan is the ultimate comic for carb-lovers.

Kitchen Princess Vol. I.

Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi / Kodansha Comics

Kind-hearted Najika loves to cook for her friends, but now that she’s at the exclusive Seika Academy, she finds it’ll take more than just a perfect Crème Brulee to find her place in this elite environment and to find her childhood crush, a mysterious prince who’s now a student at Seika.

Kitchen Princess is a sweet (in more ways than one) shojo manga story filled with fantasy, romance, and more than a few tasty recipes that even beginners can try to create culinary magic in their kitchen.

Ekiben Hitoritabi Volume 1.

Jun Hayase, Kan Sakurai / FUTABASHA PUBLISHING 

One good thing about is that it offers Japanese publishers the opportunity to bring niche titles out in English that might not normally be published in North America. One such example is Ekiben Hitoritabi, a mouth-watering mix of travelogue and foodie manga.

Daisuke Nakahara is a thirty-something man who loves two things: trains and good food. Fortunately, he lives in Japan, where his two passions come together in ekiben, (eki = train, bento = box lunches, so ekiben = regional box lunches you can buy on a train or at train stations). Each town’s ekiben spotlight seasonal delicacies and each tasty tidbit tells a story about the region’s food and its history.

Gokudo Meshi Volume 1.

Shigeru Tsuchiyama / FUTABASHA

Gokudou Meshi can be roughly translated as “Gangsters’ Banquet.” The fascinating thing about this unusual foodie manga is that it’s not about cooking but it’s about the sheer act of enjoying food that’s so good, you can’t stop thinking about it (even when you’re the farthest place from a 5-star restaurant: in prison). Gokudou Meshi was also made into a live-action movie that was released in North America with the somewhat inaccurate title of Sukiyaki. It’s currently available in English only in digital format from

For criminals incarcerated in a Japanese jail, a high point of their year is the lavish meal they receive on New Year’s Day. But a group of prisoners up the ante by challenging each other to share a story about the best, the most memorable, the most delicious meal they’ve ever eaten. The stakes? The winner who tells the most mouth-watering tale gets an extra serving of their New Year’s meal.

Iron Wok Jan Volume 1 by Shinji Saijyo.

Shinji Saijyo/Dr Master Publications

Take a cup of Iron Chef, add a heaping half-cup of Hong Kong kung fu and a can of Red Bull and you have the hyper-active cooking manga Iron Wok Jan.

Jan Akiyama is a talented, albeit arrogant chef who’s mastered the art of Chinese cuisine. When he arrives at Gobancho, the finest Chinese restaurant in Tokyo, he’s burning with the desire to show everyone that he’s got the right stuff to ‘wok’ the culinary world. Along the way, readers are taught some astounding (and sometimes useful) tips, tricks and trivia about food and cooking. Sheep brain soup anyone?

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