Just about every anime series has that one mouthwatering moment wherein your favorite character sits down to devour a delicious meal. The food portrayed in most anime titles is so well-rendered that it often leaves you feeling hungry yourself. If you've ever asked yourself, “Could I possibly ever eat anything as delicious in real life?” the answer is a resounding "YES!"
The depiction of Japanese food in anime isn’t just about how well it’s designed, but the overall presentation and how the characters prepare and serve each dish. When it comes to the presentation of anime food vs real life food, many Japanese animations depict meals and snacks in their traditional form.
This provides an authentic and appealing look that represents the art of Japanese cuisine. If you’re ready to satisfy your hunger for Japanese food, these real-life versions of anime meals will have your mouth watering.
WARNING: It probably won't look as good when you try to make it at home.
Onigiri (Rice Ball)
If you’re a lifelong anime fan, chances are you know all about onigiri. You may have even eaten some, too! Onigiri are firmly pressed rice balls (often triangular) that are traditionally filled with Japanese staples such as pickled plums or salted salmon.
Onigiri are wrapped with nori (roasted seaweed) sheets to help hold the sticky rice ball and keep your fingers clean. A hilarious example of practicing the art of making Onigiri can be seen on episode three of S·A: Special A as Hikari Hanazono tries diligently to master the technique of making the perfect onigiri.
Yaki dango is a grilled Japanese food that’s usually sold at Japanese street cafes, outdoor vendors, and during festivals. Skewered for easier eating, these tiny mochi (Japanese rice cake) dumplings come in various flavors, though they usually always have a signature chewy texture and sweet taste.
The mochi balls themselves are not particularly sweet. Rather, the toppings used to coat the balls is sweetened with a flavorful sauce. The sauces can range from brown sugar syrup, to sweetened soy sauce, and even red bean paste. On the first episode of The Rolling Girls, Nozomi Moritomo and her mother Hinayo (who runs a small family restaurant) are seen selling various dishes, including some tasty-looking grilled and skewered dango.
Believed to have originated from the Meiji period of feudal Japan, taiyaki is (adorable) fish-shaped bread. The batter is usually a pancake-like concoction poured into a fish-shaped mold and baked until golden brown. These tasty cakes are generally filled with sweetened adzuki bean paste.
However, since taiyaki continues to grow in popularity, there are numerous other fillings that are used in today’s Japanese fish bread. Although taiyaki has been seen in numerous anime during street festivals, Ayu Tsukimiya from Kanon loves taiyaki so much that it’s mentioned constantly throughout the series.
If you’re an avid anime fan, you’re most likely familiar with ramen noodles. Ramen is an extremely popular noodle dish in Japan (and in anime). There are even specialty shops that serve multiple versions of ramen noodle soups. Originally, Chinese noodles were used to make the dish, but years later Japanese chefs developed and perfected their own type of noodle.
Although using freshly made noodles is best, ramen conveniently comes in an instant form familiar to most college students. In Ponyo On the Cliff by The Sea, we get a good glimpse of how to prepare Japanese-style ramen using instant noodles. The dish commonly includes sliced pork, various vegetables, an egg, nori, and Naruto (a cured fish product).