“Gurume” manga is a derivation of the word “gourmet”. Quite obviously, it refers to food. Gurume anime/manga has plots and storylines which makes food and its creators the real superheroes of the tale. Unsurprisingly, food is vital to Japanese culture and the genre centres around food found in different parts of Japan. However, (much like other anime/manga subcultures) gurume manga has a massive global cult following. The widespread availability of Japanese cuisine— such as sushi, sashimi, tamagoyaki, and gyoza—definitely helps. More importantly, it attracts fans because of the finesse of detail and design of the animated meals. Many people call gurume manga “food pornography”, because there is a voyeuristic pleasure to merely watching this animated food being made and presented.
Japanese cuisine tends to use natural products and lots of vegetables, which makes it great for those opting for a healthy lifestyle. The food presented in these shows are often low-calorie and healthy foods that can be produced at home. Here are 5 such healthy foods from gurume manga/anime that will absolutely make you want to cook them at home.
1. Gourmet Girl Graffiti—Tamagoyaki
Gourmet Girl Graffiti is based on the warm friendship between Riyo and Kirin, who are cousins. The basis for this warmth is the meals they make together. The simple, homemade meals are the real superheroes of the show because they become a source of comfort for them. One of the first meals Riyo makes for Kirin is Tamagoyaki, which is Japanese style omelette. Unlike a regular omelette, this superfood is made in a rectangular pan, by rolling several layers of eggs together. For anyone interested, it is quite easy to find recipes for Tamagoyaki and other egg-based food items.
2. Kitchen Princess—Vegetable Potage
The shojo manga Kitchen Princess focuses on a young girl named Najika Kazami. Through food and her sense of taste, this superhero chef discovers love and friendship in culinary school. Despite being in black-and-white, Kitchen Princess effectively brings out the delicate flavours of food. This manga highlights world cuisines, rather than only Japanese ones. At the end of each volume, the author gives a detailed recipe of the food prepared in it. One of the healthiest meals prepared in the series is a vegetable potage. A French soup, this low-calorie, enriching superfood incorporates fresh vegetables and milk, and is suitable for all seasons.
3. Shokugeki no Soma—Rainbow Terrine
Even if you aren’t an anime fan, you must have heard of Shokugeki no Soma or as it is more popularly known, Food Wars. Set in the super-elite Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, it follows its protagonists as they compete in “food wars” to create sumptuous meals. Here, superheroes and supervillains fight it out in the greatest battleground of them all: food. The food in this show is so well-created, that it is near-torture watching it on an empty stomach.
One of the most mouthwatering meals is created by Megumi. Considered a poor chef, she proves her mettle by creating a rainbow terrine. Although terrine is a French meatloaf, made with different meats, Megumi puts a colourful and healthy spin to it. By combining seven distinct layers of differently coloured, and tasting foods (including vitamin-rich vegetables like zucchini, aubergines and tomatoes), she makes a delectable rainbow-coloured terrine. Several chefs have even attempted making this anime-inspired terrine in real life!
4. Wakoko-zake– Steamed Clams
It is a health fact that seafood is rich in iodine, fatty acids, and Vitamin B3. Japanese cuisine primarily uses seafood, and no show represents this better than Wakoko-zake. This anime is only two minutes long and involves its young titular protagonist having delicious food after work every day. There is not much to the plot, but her relationship with food makes an ordinary person like her superheroic. Each episode focuses on one meal, often seafood. One of the most delectable and healthy foods it presents is steamed clams. Prepared Japanese-style, clams can be tangy, umami and salty— providing a delightful, low-calorie culinary experience. You just have to see Wakako’s expression to know how mind-blowing this nutritious superfood tastes!
5. Isekai-Shokudou— Tofu Steak
Isekai-Shokudou or Restaurant to Another World is a lovely fantasy and culinary anime about a restaurant that caters to a number of paranormal species. While each species has a different relationship and taste for food, one that really stands out is the elf. Unlike other species (and general Japanese cuisine), the elf is vegan. The restaurant caters to his needs specifically by creating a spectacular tofu steak. Tofu is a superfood high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, so this is a recipe worth pursuing in real life. If you need more convincing, just know that the intensely skeptical elf is so impressed by this human food, that she becomes a super villian who dedicates her life to creating better food than this!
Gurume manga/anime is heartwarming to watch because it depicts our fantastic relationship with our basic necessity, food. Through a series of illustrations, it inspires us to cook better and eat better. This list is a great way of beginning a healthier lifestyle, with some great entertainment on this side!
About the Author:
Jessica Smith is a registered dietitian and wellness guru that loves to read, research and write. She’s a fitness freak who believes in healthy living and doesn’t like to miss her yoga. When not reading she can be found relishing her favourite food and transforming leftovers to makeovers.