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Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 1 - Japanese Cuisine (Oishinbo #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  682 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Follow journalist Yamaoka Shiro on a rich culinary adventure as he hunts for the "ultimate menu". To commemorate its 100th anniversary the heads of newspaper Tozai Shimbun come up with a plan to publish the “Ultimate Menu”. The assignment is given to journalist Yamaoka Shiro, the protagonist of the series. With the help of a female coworker, Kurita Yuko, Yamaoka starts off ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 20th 2009 by VIZ Media LLC (first published January 1st 2006)
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This might sum up the difference between (mainstream) Western comics and Japanese manga: Oishinbo is a series about food, one that lasted more than twenty years and 100 volumes, regularly selling over one million copies per volume. To put that into perspective, Saga, the best-selling single trade paperback last year, sold less than a quarter that amount, in a country with more than twice the population. It's kind of amazing, when you think about it.

Due to the extremely long running nature of the
28 February 2013

Dear Poor Library Patron who reads this after me,

I profusely apologize for the drool-stained condition in which you shall receive this book. The gorgeously illustrated food had my salivary glands working overtime. It could not be helped. My advice to you is to wear a bib and hold the book a good two-feet's distance away from mouth. Keep yummy snack handy to distract your chops from chewing on delectable book. Enjoy.

This here is foodie nirvana. Oishinbo, Volume 1 - Japanese Cuisin
Foodies, Japanese-style. Oishinbo follows the adventures of culinary journalist and slacker Shiro Yamaoka and his partner Yuko Kurita in their apparently never-ending quest to create the "Ultimate Menu," a meal embodying the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine. Shiro often butts heads with his estranged father Yuzan Kaibara, a famous artist (whose sculptures Shiro once smashed to bits -- thus the estrangement) and founder of the ultra-exclusive Gourmet Club.

The American version of this popular manga s
Mar 08, 2010 Danielle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Danielle by: Lydia
Shelves: manga
This manga is an awesome way to learn about Japanese cooking, their values and sensibilities; especially if you're a cooking plebeian but want to be culturally aware and sensitive. This is despite the facts that the art isn't as appealing as many I've read, the story around the father/son's relationship isn't that interesting and you have to deal with a certain amount of superiority around Japanese cooking as compared to other culture's cooking. I find the latter the easiest to overlook, because ...more
Kelly Tillman
I love food (hey, who doesn't?), so I figure Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine would be great introducing to Japanese Food for the average gaijin whose idea of Japanese Cuisine is sushi rolls, teriyaki bowls (not Japanese by the way) miso soup, rice and green tea. But it's more than that. Japanese Cuisine is as diverse as American or French Cuisine and it's preparation can take a chef years to master. The premise of the story: the publishers of a newspaper have assigned the protagonist Yamaoka Shiro an ...more
I was on a trip to Japan and I wanted something to help me decipher what I was eating. This book provided me with so much more. The illustrations are fantastic, and the character development is incredibly rich and detailed even though it is a relatively short book. I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words.

This book will teach you about the soul of Japanese food, what it entails and what is behind it. At the same time, it is a great tale about a a father and a son who have driven themse
Keiran Thegreat
One of the most unusual Manga I have encountered. This is a story that revolves around cooking and eating traditional Japanese meals. There is a lot of very detailed information on fish dishes including two complete sea bream recipes. The characters are interesting but some seem somewhat extreme. There is a repeated episodes of rivalry between various characters who want to create, discover or review the better meal.
I enjoyed this a lot and for such an unusual theme I think this works well. I p
Oishinbo is the first in a series of Manga (those interesting Japanese "comic" books) about a man who is interested in Japanese food. Very interested. It is a Japanese Manga but it has been translated completely into English (though it reads the traditional back to front pagewise). It has all the qualities that make this "educational" type of Manga great. It wraps the educational information about japanese food (of which there is some on every page) inside of a typical story about a man who is a ...more
This was a close call between a 3 star and a 4 star book but I think 3 is where it belongs for me.

What's great about this volume is that it covers a subject matter which you don't find very often in translated manga - its a book aimed at adults centering around food appreciation (Oshinbo basically means 'gourmet', I think).

However, rather than a recipe book or cooking guide, this series doesn't attempt to teach you much about how to cook Japanese food, it's actually more of a drama where food, c
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It may be a manga but it very cleverly explains Japanese food. I really enjoyed it and though I do know quite a bit about Japanese cuisine, I learnt more reading this book.
page 114: 'Wa is the best word to describe Japan; we harmonize and synthesize anything we can, but strangely the flavors of the ingredients still remain distinct, and eventually we get something that's unique to the Japanese taste. Come to think of it, "harmony" is a very provisional concept. But it's exactly what I like about
Lydia Presley
It's not very common in other countries to eat fish raw. And since it's raw, people might think it doesn't take a lot of skill. But for fish or meat to be eaten raw, a great deal of technique is required. We should be proud that Japanese cuisine has developed such delicious ways to prepare sashimi.

This is a very "meaty" manga. All puns aside, it has a definite message and carries a fascinating look at the Japanese culture and cuisine - which are very closely intertwined.

We follow the story of
Jan 17, 2011 Angel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: manga fans, foodies
This is a series that I plan on following. The premise is pretty interesting and simple. This newspaper has embarked on a quest to create the "Ultimate Menu." To do so, they put the protagonist in charge who, though not exactly the most enterprising guy, actually does have some serious culinary chops of his own. Problem is a rival newspaper wants to do a "Supreme Menu" of their own as well, and they are being advised by none other than our protagonist's father. Father and son are rivals, so this ...more
I just started reading the first English-translated volume of Oishinbo, and it should be a good way to prepare for my upcoming trip to Japan, where I'm going to sample a much wider variety of food than the last time I went. The first volume is a great introduction to many of the ideas behind washoku, or traditional Japanese cuisine.

The main character, Yamaoka, is usually at odds with and indirectly competing with his father and other high-class restauranteurs. Yamaoka favors simple techniques a
Excellent! Learn about Japanese cuisine and the culture of food, including how passionately the Japanese (or at least the author) feel about it. This is different from Drops of God in that it is about how the Japanese characters feel about the food, its preparation, the attention to detail in presentation and thoughtfulness behind every decision, including what plate to serve the food on. There is even a chapter on the different types of chopsticks!

The original series is over 100 volumes and so
Becky Frost
So melodramatic! I found myself eye-rolling and laughing at the absurdity of the drama in this book....and yet, it was one of the components that really makes this book so good in the over all package! The art is top-notched and the pictures of the food were so detailed that I never stopped feeling hungry the whole time I had this in my hands. The picture shows green tea and the next thing I know I am in the kitchen making myself a cup. Not with the care that is illustrated in the book, but good ...more
Nenad Vukusic
Being an amateur cook I was flabbergasted by the fact that the rude TV chef Gordon Ramsay is publishing a comic book but after a few minutes I found out that he is basically adapting this, very popular japanese cooking comic. Story, as in all japanese comics, is pretty rudimentary and repetitive for an average reader from this side of the globe, as it is driven by a conflict between son and father. Son is a journalist who is supposed to create the best millenium menu for the readers of his magaz ...more
The first volume of Viz's translation of select chapters from a manga that's been running for more than a quarter-century in Japan does a good job of setting up what you need to know about the storyline, in terms of the constant tension between the brilliant if lackadaisical foodie Yamaoka and his overbearing father, Kaibara. It also establishes the pattern for a good percentage of Oishinbo stories: Somebody thinks they know something about food, and Yamaoka goads them into a food challenge then ...more
I wish I understood why the decision was made to republish this series in random order for the American market. This first volume is the best place to start, but even this feels a bit all over the place, with no real thruline, and abrupt changes in character relationships without build up or explanation. So I wouldn't recommend the English translation to someone who cares about the story.

Yet every page makes you salivate. Exacting descriptions of how food is handled, prepared, cooked, tasted, e
This was fabulous! A great intro to the ideas behind Japanese cuisine, and quite a bit of the culture/mores as well. The reason it doesn't have 5 stars is the CLUNKY translation. Like a badly dubbed anime, it was like the character's mouths were moving but didn't match what was being said - on the printed page! It looked more like literal transliteration rather than fluid translation. I mention this because it might put some people off. But if you read it as campy, you can have fun with what the ...more
Jason Keenan
My first manga. After getting a handle on the right to left reading style this was a breeze. Even though I'm not a beginner when it comes to Japanese cuisine (we were eating our osechi when I started this) I still learned lots of interesting ideas and concepts. This first collection of stories looks at topics like the importance and impact of knife work on cuisine and the incredible effort, technique, and preparation at goes into serving sashimi and sushi. Already on the second volume.

The only
This is a great book, but it seems as if it's a collection of stories from the series' entire run and not a chronological collection. Although that is the point of this edition I find that it's not quite my thing and thus makes me give it three stars instead of four.
Jun 15, 2010 Matthew rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Foodie Manga Nerds
Recommended to Matthew by: The B.A. Foodist
Shelves: japan, food-and-booze
I was never really drawn to manga but my wife kind of likes it so when I found out about a food manga series in Bon Appetite Magazine I decided to get it from the library. I read four books in the series before I got tired of it and this will serve as a review of all four. I find that it is hard to write food fiction without coming across as both pretentious and contrived. This series was no exception. The story lines were just totally unpalatable. The only exceptions to this generalization that ...more
If you were hooked on the Japanese television show "Iron Chef" but thought that it could benefit from a touch of situation comedy drama, then this manga is for you. It follows the staff of a Japanese newspaper as they do research for a long running series on food. This provides a bit of light humor, and a bit of drama between the head of the project and his gourmet father, who hate each other. But interspersed along with that is lots of information on Japanese cooking, and a bit of Japanese cult ...more
Jake Forbes
I'm of two minds on this series. On the one hand, it's a perfectly slick and frequently fun way to learn secrets of Japanese cuisine (and the tools and mindset that are required to properly appreciate it). On the other hand, it's the epitome of formulaic sitcom storytelling. Every chapter boils down to someone making a faux-pas or otherwise showing ignorance, followed by one of our two condescending experts chewing them out, followed by a zen like lesson. The techniques here are certainly more g ...more
Very enjoyable read. The endnotes are very helpful and clearly explain unique food, culture, and character backstory. Yamaoka's tone can get strident at times.

I'm also reading the full series in Chinese translation and have to look up many of the food, technical terms, and cultural references on my own. In the English translation, the endnotes conveniently save me from this task.

I doubt that the entire series will ever be translated into English since some of the topics covered are very controve
This was an excellent book. The art was superb, highlighting what manga does best; Extreme detail where appropriate and expressive cartooning where necessary. The story was very interesting, especially since this was mostly a instructional book about Japanese Cuisine. The emphasis seemed to be on the events and characters pertaining to the plot, however, really the reader is subtly learning about the subject matter. The annotations in the back were especially enlightening, though not necessary t ...more
My first manga! I had to practice the whole backwards thing, I even walked backwards down the block while walking my dog. Didn't help things.

This book was given to me by USA Today's PopCandy blogger Whitney Matheson (the coolest chick I know in media, serious). I was like, wtf is this? Graphic novel about food? Oooh boy!

I love it! It's so weird and wonderful, the drama over food is so hysterical, and yet seems to give me a glimpse into Japanese culture that I'd never have any other way. I love l
This manga taught me how to cut a fish in half, lengthwise, with one smooth motion.

1. Raise the fish so that you gaze into his cataract-laden eyes.
2. Hold your knife vertically.
3. Rest the blade between the fish's two front teeth.
4. Slap him onto the chopping board and slice.

Other than this striking lesson, Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine is charmingly awkward. It is not a coherent book, but a compilation of food-related chapters from the very long-running manga Oishinbo. Imagine a guide to Ameri
Manga in which an estranged father and son battle to create the ultimate menu. There is a lot of detailed information about Japanese food told in fun, short chapters. This series has run for decades in Japan so there is lots of great ongoing soap-operatic elements too. In each story there is some sort of food challenge or important food situation. Someone inevitably screws up (for example dipping chopsticks more than 1/2 inch into broth) and gets told they have no right to be a chef or food eate ...more
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Manga writer and essayist extraordinaire Tetsu Kariya graduated from prestigious Tokyo University. Kariya was employed with a major advertising agency before making his debut as a manga writer in 1974, when he teamed up with legendary manga artist Ryoichi Ikegami to create Otoko Gumi (Male Gang). The worlds of food and manga were forever changed in 1983 when Kariya, together with artist Akira H
More about Tetsu Kariya...

Other Books in the Series

Oishinbo (7 books)
  • Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 2 - Sake
  • Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 3 - Ramen and Gyoza
  • Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 4 - Fish, Sushi and Sashimi
  • Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 5 - Vegetables
  • Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 6 - The Joy of Rice
  • Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 7 - Izakaya: Pub Food
Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 3 - Ramen and Gyoza Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 4 - Fish, Sushi and Sashimi Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 2 - Sake Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 6 - The Joy of Rice Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 7 - Izakaya: Pub Food

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