Oishinbo (美味しんぼ, “The Gourmet”) is a long-running cooking manga written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki. The manga’s title is a portmanteau of the Japanese word for delicious, oishii, and the word for someone who loves to eat, kuishinbo. The series depicts the adventures of culinary journalist Shirō Yamaoka and his partner (and later wife), Yūko Kurita. It was published by Shogakukan between 1983 and 2008 in Big Comic Spirits, and resumed again on February 23, 2009, only to be put on an indefinite hiatus after the May 12, 2014 edition in the weekly Big Comic Spirits as a response by the publisher to harsh criticism of Oishinbo’s treatment of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Oishinbo is a drama featuring journalist Shiro Yamaoka who works for Touzai Shimbun. He is a cynical food critic who is tasked by the newspaper’s owner, along with the young Yuko Kurita, to provide recipes for the “ultimate menu”. During their search, the encounter Yamaoka’s fastidious and demanding father, Kaibara Yuzan, a famous gourmand who tries to sabotage Yamaoka’s project.

United States Release:

Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine, Vol. 1 (January 20, 2009)

Japanese Cuisine introduces us to the fundamental ingredients–rice, sashimi, green tea, and dashi (cooking stock)–that constitute the soul of the Japanese kitchen. In each story we learn about the proper preparation and presentation of different dishes, as well as their history and cultural significance. The result is a moveable feast of a book, as informative as it is engaging.

Oishinbo: Sake, Vol. 2 (March 17, 2009)

In this volume, the focus shifts from food to drink: specifically, to sake. For centuries different types of sake have played the same roles in Japan as wine and beer have in the West, from inexpensive everyday drink to refined single-batch rarities. Above all, sake has been enjoyed as an accompaniment to a meal, and after a revelatory moment one night, Yamaoka decides that drink pairings must be an integral part of the Ultimate Menu. So which foods go best with which drinks? Sit down, pour yourself a glass, and read on!

Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza, Vol. 3 (May 19, 2009)

Few foods inspire as much passion and partisanship as the dish of noodles in broth known as “ramen.” Hot or cold, plain or miso, from fancy fusion creations to humble roadside takeout, ramen is truly a beloved food, one that can give rise to fierce loyalty or fiercer criticism (not to mention the occasional fistfight). In this volume of Oishinbo, Yamaoka and company inquire into the “soul of ramen,” from the flour used in the noodles to the chickens used in the broth. And where there’s ramen, there’s gyôza: little dumplings made with a variety of fillings and served as a side dish. Will Yamaoka be able to create an “ultimate” gyôza before Kaibara creates a “supreme” one?

Oishinbo: Fish, Sushi & Sashimi, Vol. 4 (July 21, 2009)

Yamaoka and his father, Kaibara Yūzan, have never enjoyed an ideal father-son relationship. In fact, it’s about as far from ideal as possible, and when they start arguing about food–which they inevitably do–the sparks really fly. In this volume of Oishinbo the subject of dispute is fish, starting with the question of whether mackerel can ever be truly good sashimi. Later, things come to a head during the “Salmon Match,” which pits father against son in an epic contest to develop the best dish before a panel of judges. Will Yamaoka finally defeat Kaibara? Or will he once again be left in his father’s shadow?

Oishinbo: Vegetables, Vol. 5 (September 15, 2009)

Weekly Time magazine sets up a series of culinary battles between the Tōzai News’s “Ultimate Menu,” represented by Yamaoka, and the Teito Times’s “Supreme Menu,” represented by Kaibara Yūzan, Yamaoka’s father and nemesis. The ingredient this time is vegetables, specifically cabbages and turnips. Who will win the Vegetable Showdown? Later, Yamaoka and Kurita help Tomii’s son get over his hatred of eggplant, and patch a rift between lovers using the power of asparagus.

Oishinbo: The Joy of Rice, Vol. 6 (November 17, 2009)

In this volume of Oishinbo, Yamaoka and company look into the single most essential food in Japanese cuisine: rice. Cultivated for millennia, a staple meal in itself and the basis of countless other dishes, rice is an important component not only of the Japanese kitchen but also of Japanese culture. When Yamaoka is asked by Tōzai’s head chef for help in coming up with a new rice dish, what starts out as a simple culinary request rapidly grows into a disquisition into the past, present and future of Japan’s food culture.

Oishinbo: Izakaya: Pub Food, Vol. 7 (January 19, 2010)

Izakaya occupy the same vital space in the Japanese culinary landscape as tapas bars in Spain or tavernas in Greece. Unpretentious, frequently boisterous, they’re places to meet with friends or business partners to unwind over drinks and small dishes that range from hearty standards to refined innovations. In this volume of Oishinbo, Yamaoka and Kurita investigate classic izakaya foods such as edamame and yakitori, devise new dishes to add to the menu of an old shop, and discover how the concept of “play” is essential to the enjoyment of food.

Sources: Oishinbo manga, Wikipedia

Soy Milk Mousse

  • 1¾ fluid ounces soymilk 
  • 4½ ounces silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1¾ ounces banana
  • Fruits or Nuts (optional)

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 ounce raw sugar
  • ⅔ fluid ounces water

For the sugar syrup, combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Gently stir until all sugar is dissolved.

Set aside to cool.

Add soymilk, tofu, banana, sugar and maple syrup in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Divide into 4 portions and keep refrigerated for 2 hours.

To serve, add sugar syrup.

Top with fruits or nuts if desired

Japanese Fruit Sandwich

  • 4 oz whipping cream (1/2 cup)
  • 4 oz mascarpone (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp jam any type
  • 4 slices thick white bread (Use Shokupan Japanese bread if possible),
  • 4 small strawberries
  • 1/2 kiwi fruit
  • Small banana
  1. Place whipping cream, mascarpone and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whip them all together by hand till it makes a soft peak. Refrigerate whipped cream and mascarpone till it is needed.
  2. Wash strawberries and cut the stem off and wipe off water. Peel and cut kiwi fruit. Peel and cut banana about 2cm (0.8inch) thick.
  3. Spread the jam on one side of 4 slices of bread. Place the bread on a cling wrap and spread the whipped cream about 1cm (0.4inch) thick. Layout the fruit according to how you want to cut the bread, and how the fruit will look when it is cut.
  4. Drop more whipped cream over the fruit and place another slice of bread to sandwich. Wrap with the cling wrap and draw the location of where each fruit piece is with a permanent marker over the cling wrap.
  5. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to settle. After refrigerated for 2 hours, take them out and slice.

Miso and Ginger Dashi Poached Salmon

Miso and Ginger Dashi Poached Salmon

4 – 8 ounce salmon fillets
1/3 cup white, yellow or red miso paste depending upon taste
4 to 5 cups simple traditional dashi, or enough to cover the fish
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bunch enoki mushrooms

Simple Traditional Dashi

One 3 x 6 inch piece of kombu
8 cups of water
2 handfuls of katsuobushi


Rinse the kombu. Combine it with water in a saucepan. Bring water to a simmer. Turn off stove. Steep for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat. Add the katsuobushi.. Cover and let steep for 7 minutes. Strain the dashi through cheesecloth.

Add and mix 2 cups of dashi and all ingredients for the poaching liquid in a pot. Bring it to a boil and turn the heat down to medium. Simmer the liquid for 5 minutes and turn the heat down to low. Place the salmon skin-side down. Add a little more dashi if the fish is not completely covered and enoki mushrooms. Cook on low heat and poach the salmon approximately 8 to 12 minutes depending on thickness or until salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Plate the salmon in a wide bowl with a little bit of the poaching liquid and enoki mushrooms. Garnish with chopped spring onions or chives and toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Okra in Ginger Sauce

  • 6 1/3 ounces small okra *
  • 1/3 ounce grated ginger
  • 8 fluid ounces Shiitake Mushroom Dashi
  • 2 Tablespoons  Japanese soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon  sake
  • 1 Tablespoon  mirin
  • 1 teaspoon  sesame oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Wash and trim stem ends of okra.

Add Shiitake Mushroom Dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sesame
oil and sea salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower
heat and add okra and grated ginger. Simmer for
about 10 minutes.

Remove and arrange on 4 individual serving plates.
Serve with some broth spooned over.

* Cut into halves if you are using okra of longer lengths.

Lotus Chips

Oil, for frying
7 oz lotus root, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt, to serve
Ichimi powder, to serve *

Pour enough oil into a wok or deep frying pan to come one-third of the way up the side and place over high heat until shimmering. Cook the lotus root, in batches, for 3–5 minutes, or until golden.
Drain on paper towel and sprinkle with the salt and ichimi powder to serve.

Ichimi powder —> Japanese Hot Red Chili Pepper, naturally dried in the sun and milled into a powder. Can be bought online or at most Asian Grocers.

Green Beans with Miso

Miso Sauce
3 tablespoons white miso
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons sake
½ teaspoon Japanese soy sauce
5 drops of sesame oil
150 g or 5 ½ oz. baby green beans, trimmed

To make the miso sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl along with 2 tablespoons of water.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain again.

Transfer the beans to a bowl. Add the miso sauce, toss to combine and serve.

Chanko-nabe – Pot Meal for Sumo Wrestlers

Chanko-nabe – Pot Meal for Sumo Wrestlers

Sumo wrestlers eat chanko-nabe every day to build up strength. Nabe means “Pot” (or a meal simmered in a pot); chanko is the meal eaten by sumo wrestlers. At the sumo stable—the place where wrestlers live and train—there is no hard-and-fast rule about what goes into the pot. Common ingredients are chicken, tofu, and vegetables like Welsh onions and Chinese cabbage, all cooked in a seasoned soup stock.

Japanese cuisine offers a variety of one-pot meals served with rice. Soup stock is heated in a pot at the dining table. Previously cut ingredients, generally vegetables, fish and/or meat, are simmered and eaten around the table. The Japanese enjoy the camaraderie that comes from gathering around a nabe with family members or good friends, especially when it is cold outside.

Sumo wrestlers start their day with a long training session. After grappling, colliding and throwing each other around, expending plenty of energy, they are ready for a hearty meal that is both breakfast and lunch. One job of a sumo wrestler is to eat a lot and gain extra strength. They eat lots of rice, and chanko-nabe, which has plenty of liquid, goes down well with the rice. The vegetables, fish and meat, plus the rice, offer a nutritional balance that is easy to digest. And the meal is easy to make and serve, because one big pot holds enough for the many wrestlers eating together. This explains how chanko-nabe became an essential part of the world of sumo…

#ChankoNabe #JapaneseCulture #CulinaryJapan

Easy Miso Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms and Tofu

8 cups Quick Traditional Dashi

¼ cup Miso Paste

1 block of firm tofu

1 cup thinly sliced Shiitake Mushrooms

Bring dashi to a simmer over medium heat, do not boil.  Wrap tofu in double layer of paper towels.  Place tofu between two plates and place 28 ounce can on top for twenty minutes.  Whisk in miso paste.  Cut tofu into small squares.  Add mushrooms.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Add tofu.  Cook for 10-15 minutes more.  Serve immediately.

Tezukuri Tonyu (Homemade Soy Milk)

⅓ pound small, flavorful dried soybeans

Soak the soybeans in 3 times their amount of fresh spring or well water (2½ cups) for 9 to 15 hours depending upon the ambient temperature.

Scoop one-third of the soybeans and soaking water into a blender, process on high for 2 minutes, and pour into a large mixing bowl. Repeat until all the beans have been processed. Bring 2¾ cups spring or well water to a boil over high heat in a medium well-insulated pot. Add the soybean mixture and bring almost to a boil, stirring constantly, to ensure it does not scorch.  This is important!

Remove from the heat source and let the foam subside for about 15 minutes. Heat again slowly over low heat for 10 minutes.

While the soybean mixture is heating, set a fine-mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Line the strainer with a clean muslin cheesecloth.  After 8 to 10 minutes have elapsed, pour the hot soybean mixture through the cheesecloth.

Twist up the free ends to squeeze out the excess liquid, but let it cool for about 10 or 15 minutes before squeezing the bundle to get the last drops of liquid out of the solids. In the bowl you will have fresh soy milk ready to use for drinking or making Soft Tofu.

In the cheesecloth, you will have okara (soybean pulp). Use okara immediately in many recipes or store in the fridge for up to 2 days. After that, freeze it.