Making Anime Food in Real Life: 5 Dishes, 1 Week, 1 Obsessed Otaku!  

When I landed at a Japanese university I had one mission for my first day: to sit next to the window, that crucial spot in which main anime characters usually sit in class. I was even joined by a green-haired stranger and we became friends. There are so many ways to take things out of fiction and make them a real fixture in your life: cosplay, learning languages like Klingon or Dothraki, maybe owning a lightsaber (or rather an approximation of it), or recreating food and drinks from your favourite shows.

Eating like an anime character is a great way to drag fantasy out of the screen and into your daily life. Yes, I can always munch on melon pan or pocky, or stuff my face with ramen, but Tokyo Survival Challenge has something trickier in mind.

They challenged me to cook 5 anime foods from anime about cooking, in less than a week, recreating the recipes and the look of the dish. Obviously, both the foodie and the anime otaku in me said “Challenge accepted!” in unison. 

Getting my CHEF on!

Embarking on this week-long cooking challenge couldn’t have been done with only a couple of spoons and a dozen eggs. I needed to feel like a proper chef. Listening to Erina-sama lecture everyone in Shokugeki about ingredients, then watching the Yakitate Japan bakers circling the world for the finest flours, I knew that I needed something extra.

The answer found me on Instagram and it’s called Yabenoen organic farm. They replied on their social media in English and got my veggie box loaded up with only what’s best in season and sent it that same day! They described their garlic as ‘very garlicky’ and dear reader, after I tried it I knew it was the best description ever! 

Feeling like a proper chef, I bought additional ingredients from my local shop and got down to business. 


Day 1: Ghibli’s Howl’s Moving Castle breakfast 

Let’s walk before we sprint, shall we? Ghibli anime foods are always super simple like this one, but seeing the characters devour them with such gusto makes you think twice whether we’re taking them for granted. I definitely felt like I rediscovered the eggs and bacon combo all over again. Only my Calcifer is electric and shying away in the stove. Probably. 

How to make it:
You know how to make it, you don’t need me to lecture you on frying eggs.

How to cut corners and make it simpler:
This one cannot be simpler. But it can be more complicated if you wish! Chefs online have shared recipes with home-cured bacon and expensive free-range chicken eggs.

Confession time: I hate raw/soft yolk. Something about cutting into it and yellow liquid oozing out reminds me of (and please, if you’re squeamish stop reading NOW) – reminds me of popping a pimple. 

Sorry for that mental image.

So, after copying the anime version, I made another fry up with the eggs thoroughly fried.

Difficulty level: 1/10

Even the culinary-challenged can make this and pretend they live in a Ghibli world. 

For the challenge, I was supposed to pose it and serve it perfectly with the tea and bread, so factoring that it is 3/10 in my case.

(Inspired by Studio Ghibli – Howl’s Moving Castle)


Day 2: ‘Isekai Shokudo’ Restaurant to Another World (Episode 4) –  Omurice 

There is a Japanese restaurant that connects through a portal to fantastical worlds only on Saturday. They make beloved tasty everyman’s foods and we see creatures from ‘isekai’ fawn over the delicacies we eat every day. I even felt guilty that I have access to these 24/7! 

Elves salivating over tofu, a half-lion gladiator coming to get strength from katsudon, even a black dragon cursed to live on the moon comes down for chicken curry! Ultimately, I chose to recreate their omurice that is so great, blue lizards people have a village festival when eating it.

How to make it: Here’s one of many recipes online

Now, I had to follow the anime precisely. Pausing the scenes and analyzing every bite, I made sure to add peas (not always found in omurice) and carrots. To do that, I literally picked out all corn kernels one by one from a frozen vegetable mix! Then, I poured the ketchup and plated as shown in the magical restaurant. I’m sure Gaganpo, the hero lizard-man, will be proud of me! 

(Inspired by SILVER LINK., Inc. – Isekai Shokudou anime)

How to cut corners and make it simpler:
I bought a pack of frozen chicken rice from the conbini that cuts most of the work. You just heat it up (whether in a microwave or in a pan) and then add it to the omelette and fold it. 

Now, here are the caveats. The frozen rice didn’t have mushrooms and the chicken was certainly there… but in such tiny flakes that it was almost not there. So I added ready-made conbini smoked chicken which helped a lot.

Then, as if the gods of the kitchen wanted to laugh at me for using easy hacks – my egg broke a bit and the ketchup topping refused to come out smoothly from the bottle. That is why the result was this CSI murder mishap. 

An easier version of the omurice.

It was tasty nonetheless, albeit definitely losing to the omurice made from scratch. Make that one!

Fancier folks might prefer pouring thickened tomato sauce instead of ketchup. Both taste great. In Japan, there’s also omurice topped with demi-glace sauce, so it’s not like there’s one and only omurice. The one I’ve made and the lizard hero Gaganpo’s favourite is the classical one. However, there are other versions like cheese omurice, seafood omurice etc. Or, you can chicken out and not use any chicken for a meat-free omurice. 

Difficulty level: 6/10

3/10 if using frozen chicken rice. The egg fold and plating is the most difficult part. 

(Inspired by SILVER LINK., Inc. – Isekai Shokudou anime)

(Inspired by SILVER LINK., Inc. – Isekai Shokudou anime)

See how much chopping and stuff goes into the omurice made from scratch?


Day 3: Shirokuma Cafe (Episode 17) – Japanese Curry and Naan

Japanese curry is such a beloved staple that anime characters have been consistently gobbling it up. Anime moms are shown making it, school cafeterias serving it, and even talking bears cooking curry in the forest. I’m talking about the characters from Shirokuma Cafe, also known as Polar Bear Cafe in English. 

No bears were hurt in the making of this dish. (Inspired by Pierrot Co., Ltd. – Shirokuma Cafe anime)

Food is a big deal if you have a cafe, and a lot of the episodes revolve around food. In episode 17 the Polar Bear, the Panda, the Penguin, and the Grizzly Bear go camping and make Japanese curry. Usually served with rice, the Polar Bear quickly decides to make naan bread instead, because their rice burned. Now, I did not go that far in authenticity as to put a pot of rice and let it get scorched. I also was not camping. However, I double-challenged myself to make two sets of Japanese curry. One with naan as seen in episode 17, and one with panda-shaped rice as served in the real-life Shirokuma Cafe in Takadanobaba. 

How to make it: 
Curry pouch from conbini just needs to be reheated. 
If making from scratch, I followed this YouTube video.

Here’s where I got my naan recipe from. 

So much for being confident that this is the easiest dish, after the eggs and bacon. Nope. The naan sucked out my strength like a dementor. I was making it for the first time ever, so I was understandably slow, in addition to the 1 hour minimum wait for the dough to rise.

Then, each piece had to be rolled out, stretched, and fried/baked individually. It was so worth it, though. The yogurt is the real superstar of naan, along with the final buttering. Of course, the first 3 naan pieces were almost shapeless amoebas, but the 4th one resembled the popular teardrop shape.

Not pictured: failed naans, burned frying pan, frustrated cook.

For the curry, of course, made from scratch. Onion, carrot, potato, meat – these simple basics are transformed by the curry roux. Add water and wait. The longer it stews, the more tender the meat. It can also be made in a slow cooker, but I did it in a pot as seen in the camping episode of the anime. 

How to cut corners and make it simpler:
Thank god for the curry pouches sold everywhere. They are delicious and ready in minutes. Usually, things made from scratch are much better than instant food.

But in this case, the instant curry has reached amazing culinary heights. Same with the rice packs, they are incredible. Of course, the naan is the biggest challenge, so the simpler way is to buy frozen naan and just heat it up. But in that case, the rule stands – fresh naan is way better.

You can choose any level of spiciness you want for the curry. You can also add other veggies and toppings, switch the meat, or leave it out completely.

OK, it’s not perfect, but I’m happy with it. (Inspired by Pierrot Co., Ltd. – Shirokuma Cafe anime)


Mei Mei Panda Curry from the Real Cafe 

For this one, the challenge was in the decoration, so I used instant curry and instant rice. The little green snow peas were the hardest to find, so maybe check a big fancy supermarket first. Heart-shaped carrots are easily made with a small metal cutter, and difficult if done with a knife. 

Difficulty level: 8/10 for both versions  

A lot of kneading, chopping, decorating. If you go for instant curry pouch and no decoration, it’s a breezy 1/10. Even easier than frying up some eggs. 

HINT: Eyes and mouth are black beans. (Inspired by menu from Shirokuma Cafe in Takadanobaba)


Day 4: Yakitate! Japan! (Episode 14 & 15) – Yakisoba Bread challenge 

Here I am, recreating a recipe from an anime all about bakers and I chose the only challenge the bakers face that doesn’t involve baking. Please put away the pitchforks, and hear me out. 

I thought about making melon pan, but nah, just bought one from the conbini.

First of all, that naan I made the day before drained me. Secondly, they don’t explain the recipes in detail in Yakitate Japan, so any other recreation would have taken days of trial and error. And finally, I just had to try this ridiculous recipe! It’s so JaPAN! Yakisoba-pan is funny as is, but seeing Azuma Kazuma pound it with a frying pan had me curious beyond measure! 

Violence was the answer this time.

I didn’t use any recipe, as in the anime they are told to use pre-made koppepan bread and just fry up the yakisoba noodles. I couldn’t find koppepan, so I bought two pieces of yakisoba-pan. I took out the filling of one of them, pounded it flat with my frying pan, and then added freshly made yakisoba noodles. They were easy to make, as shops have packs of fresh noodles with yakisoba sauce pouches. 

Here’s what went wrong – the elongated bread does not magically become circular like in the anime.

Here’s what went right – this beaten-down yakisoba bread was so tasty! Tastier than the un-assaulted normal version! I couldn’t believe it. My eyes couldn’t believe it. My mouth barely could. 

How to cut corners and make it simpler:
Since in the anime they realize this is basically an Italian panini technique, I took another yakisoba bread and pressed it in a proper panini maker.

Dear fellow anime foodies, let me tell you – it was even better! Go and do this, and thank me later. I know it sounds ridiculous, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. 

If you cannot find yakisoba bread where you live, make sure you use the worst, most fake-looking, preservative-laden bread you can find. Koppepan has that artificial bread roll fast food hotdog bun quality to it. A nice fresh high-quality bread is simply a wrong choice this time. 

Difficulty level: 3/10
Yes, pressing a store-bought yakisoba-pan is easy-peasy. Squashing it with a frying pan adds to the difficulty because you have to be careful. But all in all, an easy recreation of this insane but ultimately yummy thing. 

Look, it’s ugly, but that’s not the point. It’s my monster and I love it. (Inspired by Sunrise Inc – Yakitate! Japan!)


Day 5: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (Season 1, Episode 1) – Fake Pork Roast

The Holy Grail for cooking anime fans! The fake pork roast cements Yukihira Souma’s culinary mastery early on in the anime and had fans hooked to the show. Many have tried to recreate this dish, curious as to whether it’s possible or is it just anime make-believe. Turns out – it’s very possible.

I followed recipes from fellow anime-chefs who tried making this dish, in addition to binge re-watching the anime. Here’s one recreation 

Boy am I glad I steamed the potatoes as shown in the anime, instead of just boiling them. They were so much softer steamed. Chopping, sauteing, mashing – everything was simple at the start.

The bacon-wrapping and tying is trickier though. The sauce at the end is simpler than it looks. It made me feel like a French chef! Never have I ever melted butter into wine, until now. Oh la la! 

I was so tired by the time I plated this, but the taste brought me back to life. I did not explosively lose my clothes and wallowed in fire like in the anime though. Also, this does not fool anyone that it is a pork roast. However, it is a bacon-ized potato and it’s wonderful!

Where’s my Michelin Star? These photos look like I need one, ASAP. 

(Inspired by J.C.Staff Co., Ltd. – Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma)

(Inspired by J.C.Staff Co., Ltd. – Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma)

How to cut corners and make it simpler:
Sit down. Listen. No cutting corners on this one. You either do it properly or don’t do it. Just eat potato mash and bacon on the side. And drink wine. 

OK, if you insist, I guess you can use other mushrooms instead of eryngii if they are rare where you live. Everything else is non-negotiable in this recipe. 

Difficulty level: 9/10
There are just sooooo many details to this one + the string tying is some ninja-level stuff if you’re not used to it. I did a pretty good job wrapping and tying and I still got spillage. I cleaned it before plating, but here’s how it looked fresh out of the oven.

…and this, kids, is the ugly truth.


BONUS DISH: Bacon Miso Soup by Yukihira Souma

If you’re a person who’s not going to spend half a day agonizing over bacon-izing a potato, I have a simpler recipe from the same anime for you. In his transformed bento, Yukihira made an appetizing twist on the humble miso soup. He fried up some onions and bacon, before adding water and dissolving the miso in. Simple as that. 

I’ve never seen this miso version in the real world, but that has to change. This soup was decadently greasy and filling, I’ll sure make it again. 

Here’s someone else making the dish on video.

I know I forgot the green onion. Shut up.


Weekend: Cocktail from Bartender anime (Final episode) 

As if cooking 7 dishes instead of 5 wasn’t enough, I just had to try my hand at cocktails too. Just like the passionate chefs, bakers, restaurant owners of anime, the Bartender anime is about a cocktail master in his hidden Eden Hall bar in Ginza and hist customers. Watching this anime made even whisky soda sound exciting, as we see it served to a bar-hater. 

Bolstered by my anime chef week, I wanted to try a more complex cocktail, one that at least calls for a cocktail shaker. In the very last episode, a cocktail paradoxically named ‘No name’ won my heart.

It has rum, cinnamon, and honey, and calls back to one of history’s most famous boozy writers – what is there not to like? Created by Johann Burgos of Bar Hemingway in the Ritz Hotel in Paris, this cocktail belongs to a group of ‘cigar cocktails’, meaning their flavours are so powerful they won’t lose to the flavour of a cigar paired with them. 

(Inspired by Palm Co., Ltd. – Bartender)

I poured all my love in this cocktail, after binge-watching the whole anime. Unlike the anime, I had no customers to cheer up with the perfect drink, but it was perfect for me! I loved it so much I dressed as a bartender for the night. So… a success? 

Here’s more about the cocktail.

Tweaks: The Bartender mixes drinks inspired by the needs of whoever orders them, so I think he would approve of personalizing a drink. Feel free to add more honey if you want it sweeter, or water to dilute it. 

Difficulty: 3/10 

It only has 3 ingredients: 1 kind of alcoholic drink and cinnamon and honey should already be in your pantry.

*Note that now that I’ve been chef-ing for a week, I’ve also started using words like “pantry”, “palate”, and “full-body aroma”. 

(Inspired by Palm Co., Ltd. – Bartender)

(Inspired by Palm Co., Ltd. – Bartender)


Chef/Cocktail Master Musings

Bringing these foods and drinks from 2D to 3D revived some magic I believed was lost. Like the first time I visited Japan and felt as if I entered an unreal anime world. Like eating my first onigiri. Like reading a favourite story again for the first time ever. 

I can’t slash monsters with a supernatural sword, but I can always chop some onions and enter an anime cooking battle. 

*We have not been allowed to include screenshots from the anime, so if you want to compare the dishes to the original we recommend you watch these anime if you haven’t already. 🙂

AUTHOR: Zoria Petkoska

Zoria Petkoska

Facebook: @zborigami.zoria
Instagram : @zoria_in_tokyo
Portfolio: here

Zoria is a neo-Tokyoite and loves all the obvious things: neon lights, coffee, cats, travelling. And concrete. Concrete wasn't too obvious, was it? She's a travel writer and photographer, as well as a published poet and her work has appeared in many languages.

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