I’ve been watching anime since I was 6 years old, more or less, and one of the things I learned about Japan (or thought I learned, anyway) was that their food looked pretty awesome and tasty.
These are the foods that stood out to me*.
10. Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)
What? Practically meaning “fried to one’s liking”, it’s a popular pan fried food that consists of batter and cabbage. Toppings and ingredients can vary greatly from region to region.
How? The first time I heard about Okonomiyaki was in Ranma 1/2, from a character named Kuonji Ukyo, she was one of the titular character’s fiances. Yes, Ranma had more than one fiance. Ukyo was an Okonomiyaki chef. Watching her cook this weird pancake-pizza thingie so enthusiastically made me crave it so much. Especially because the name sounded so foreign to my 13-year-old tongue.
Sadly, I forgot about it until some years later, when I watched Card Captors Sakura. The title character, a ten-year-old girl would fry lots of Okonomiyaki with his dad, which made Okonomiyaki a synonym of family food in my head. A bad-ass family food.
Did I like it? I haven’t managed to eat it yet, and it makes me sad.
9. Omurice (オムライス)
What? As the name suggest (omurice= omelette + rice), it’s an omelette made with fried rice, and it’s usually topped with ketchup.
How? I can’t remember the first time I heard of this dish. But I have seen it time and again, especially in Shoujo anime. There were especially two settings for this: a Maid Cafe, and someone (usually a girl) wanting to show her feelings through food. In the Maid Cafe setting, it’s the kind of food that is simple enough and is made cute when a Maid in a high voice draws something on the Omurice with the ketchup.
In the showing one’s feelings setting, the one I remember the most is in the anime Hanasaku Iroha. When one makes Omurice for someone else, it’s usually made with messages of love, as this girl called Tsurugi Minko did for a guy she was in love with. So it contrasted a lot with another Omurice Minko did, an Omurice of revenge. Trying to get back at a mother who slighted her, Minko writes, “I hate Mama” on the Omurice and surrounds it with broccoli, her mother’s most hated vegetable. So yeah, Omurice interested me for the way it could convey feelings, and also looked quite delicious!
Did I like it? Haven’t eaten it. The few Maid Cafes that I went to didn’t make it, which was a bit of a downer. I have seen ads of new ones that said they have it, but I haven’t managed to go to those yet.