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Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 1 - Japanese Cuisine

(Oishinbo #1)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,388 ratings  ·  192 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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Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: culinary, graphic
Really impressed that a piece of writing that is primarily intended to instruct people about traditional Japanese cuisine managed to be so full of plot interest and even emotional weight. I don't know if he'll be able to keep it up, but I'll definitely be reading more. I may even eventually try some of the cooking technique tips.

This was my first experience with Manga and in some respects it maybe an atypical one. If I am going to get into a comic book series then one about food is more likely than most to sway me. I didn't fully appreciate how much I would learn from this book. It is a deep-dive into Japanese food culture presented in the Manga style. The opening lesson / story is about the correct way to make dashi and woe betide the cook that screws this up. Bowls of dashi are hurled about and cooks fired for smoking ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, comics
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
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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
Oishinbo ("The Gourmet") [1983 - 2014] by Tetsu Kariya & Akira Hanasaki - ★★★1/2

This is a long-running, immensely popular, critically-acclaimed Japanese manga that focuses on the art of cooking. In this manga, food preparation is elevated to one of the highest forms of art (as Japanese food and its presentation/preparation are considered to be). In this story, a culinary prodigy Shirō Yamaoka is paired with girl Yūko Kurita to come up with the "Ultimate Menu", and, later, the series focuses on s
Keith Alverson
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: japan
A very good premise: a manga overview of japanese cuisine. However it was a bit repetitive in tone, too frequently going back to the 'spirit' of the food as its defining character. Also I was a bit disappointed it did not cover any interesting local dishes from different prefectures, or any food from certain times of the year or festivals. The characters showed much more emotion and anger than I think is common in Japan - perhaps that is part of the manga allure: showing emotions in a way that i ...more
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
I randomly picked this book while browsing through Kinokuniya bookstore just because it said Japanese cuisine. It was a great introduction to Japanese cuisine and culture. I am a vegetarian and I should have realized that their cuisine is basically raw seafood. That decreased my enjoyment as I did not enjoy reading about how to cut meat or what type of fish tastes better etc.
I think a person who loves Japanese cuisine and seafood would love this book.
This book is like a collection of s
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, food, japan, manga
Picked this up on a whim at Isotope and was genuinely surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I don't know too much about Japanese cooking so the basic overviews were very helpful. The Yamaoka / Kaibara conflict was amusingly absurd, and the values articulated and implied were interesting, e.g. a cosmopolitain appreciation for the qualities in cuisines from all places, but also a very specific and rigid definition of what is right and wrong in Japanese cuisine. Female characters were almost exclusiv ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Yea foodie manga! Oishinbo looks at the heart of Japanese food and the care and thought that goes into each dish.

The English translation pulls together the best chapters and groups them by theme (here, Japanese Cuisine). The comic ran for 30 years (!) so we get hints at character arcs and development but don't see it ourselves. The art is serviceable, the translation well done. I especially appreciated the translator's notes at the end which provide detail and context. It was great to have the J
Apr 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun first book in a manga series about Japanese cuisine. This first installment is about the broader components of Japanese cuisine and is told through a story about a young man who has been challenged to come up "The Ultimate Menu" and is constantly being berated by his father, a very famous gourmet food aficionado and artist. Loved the food aspect of it and will definitely being moving on to the second book which focuses on sake. ...more
Melissa Symanczyk
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
My first foray into manga, and what better subject than an entire book about Japanese food! This curated volume is organized into "courses" with each chapter focusing on a different type of food, preparation method, or presentation, highlighting what makes Japanese food and culture unique. The constant antagonism between Yamaoka and his father, Kaibara, gets a little wearing, but it's not overwhelming, and the food is the main focus. I learned so much and the notes at the back are really helpful ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
My review of this book can be found on my Youtube Vlog at:

Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm pretty surprised that the Masterchef crowd haven't latched onto the long-running Oishinbo (The Gourmet) the way they've put boots on the ground for Gourmet Traveller. Perhaps it's because there's a loud-mouthed character in this seinen manga who's perfectly willing to underscore their lack of culinary knowledge, rather than to foster their kitchen fantasies. I mean:

That's Kaibara Yuzan. He's a gourmet, runs a gourmet club, and though he's based on a real person (Kitaōji Rosanjin, so badass
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set against the backdrop of a food battle between a father and son to prepare the Ultimate Japanese Menu this book was a great primer on the basics of Japanese cuisine. Each chapter covered a different element of Japanese cuisine and overall provided good references and explanatory notes outside of the text boxes.
Book #28 for 2019
My Personal Reading Challenge:
- A book translated from its original language
- A book that takes place on an island or in which the characters find themselves stranded
Ampersand: A book that became a TV show
Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge: A book of manga
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica's Ultimate Reading Challenge: A book with footnotes or endnotes
The Modern Mrs Darcy Challenge: A book outside your (genre) comfort zone
- A book recommended by a celebrity you admire
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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
May 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Gareth Bogdanoff
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: manga
I had a hard time deciding if this was a pretentious book, or if it was just about pretentious people. Despite the ridiculous premises that sorting grains of rice make the rice taste better, that you have bad manners if you get more than a centimeter of your chopsticks wet, etc, this was actually an entertaining book. And I did learn something about Japanese cuisine. I'm not sure if anything that I learned was useful or not. ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: food
I think that manga isn't really my thing because drawing doesn't mean much to me. As it stands, I enjoyed this book just fine, and found several parcels of information very useful during my travels in Japan. However, the art really does play a large part in the story and that's just not interesting to me. If you are into drawing/manga, this will probably register at least one extra star for you. ...more
Nidhi Srivastava
10 episodes in the life of a bunch of journalists. Very information rich. But the actual story doesn't pick up in pace pr intrigue till like, the last quarter. ...more
Alex Lawless
I’m amazed I’ve not read this series before this. I was a little intimated because each volume is quite thick, the art and content dense, and an initial flip-thru didn’t really inspire. I was wrong. I also should say, I love learning all about food and technique, and I love learning about Japan. This is the perfect series crossover for me. A la cartel refers to the fact that this Western translation is not the full chronological story, but rather a series of “courses” (chapters) around a common ...more
Shayna Ross
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: manga
A unique introduction to the culture surrounding Japanese cuisine, this first volume tackles some of the basic aspects that make the dish specifically Japanese in terms of presentation and preparation, including rice, sashimi, and tea. The manga itself loosely follows a newspaper team and journalist Yamaoka Shiro on his quest for creating the "Ultimate Menu." However, I would not take the plot too seriously, as the focus for it seems to swim in and out pretty loosely.

That said, it is definitely
Feb 24, 2021 rated it liked it
I have NO idea how I learned about these I rarely (never!?) read manga and know close to nothing about Japanese food (Terrace House??). I think someone recommended it on a food blog....I wrote it down and then had to use ILL to track it down....I asked for just volume 1, but NYU, sent all 7 i the series, so I guess I'll learn about food for some time.
This is the story of a food writer who decides to create the Ultimate Menu for his newspaper and starts to taste different foods to cr
Nicole M. Hewitt
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really unique manga because it’s almost more instructional than it is entertainment. The book teaches all about Japanese cuisine and preparation methods, but it does it in a fun and interesting way. The story follows Yamaoka Shiro, who has been tasked with creating the “ultimate menu.” But he is thwarted at every turn by his cantankerous, impossible-to-please father, who insists Yamaoka knows nothing about proper cooking techniques. In many scenes in the book, Yamaoka has to prove his ...more
After several volumes, I finally find out why there's a conflict between the father and son! The volumes themselves aren't numbered, and since they jump around chronologically anyway, I didn't think there were supposed to be numbered until I logged it here and it said this was volume 1! Well, I suppose that just increased the drama for me from volume to volume. I do hope that by the end of it all, they figure out how to reconcile. This series in general does a great job of providing just enough ...more
Akemi G.
Well, I've read almost all the series (close to vol 100) of the Japanese original. The English version is a digest, I guess, but still carries the extreme sincerity they put into food.

The author is also quite an activist, and some of the original manga had the social edge, pointing out the relationship between good, safe food and healthy environment, and how governments often interfere. And I gather the series was halted at vol 111 when he wrote about the Fukushima meltdown issue. Yeah, that's
美味しんぼ (맛의 달인 in Korean) was one of my favorite comic/manga series growing up. I remember hiding under my blanket and binge-reading them back when I was in elementary school. I think I stopped reading around volume 90 for unknown reason. Anyway fastforward to August 2019, I found out there was an English version so I picked it up immediately. However, it was not what I was expecting - it's a much abbreviated version of the original series which was disappointing. But it was nice seeing Shiro and ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A lovely way to start off a great series about mostly Japanese food. Good vignettes with likable characters are abound in this manga, which devotes itself into honoring and exploring all sorts of cuisine. The overall plot is actually pretty realistic, and the constant shuffle of new side characters allows for all sorts of topics to be explored, and allows the main cast to play off them and each other quite nicely. Also comes with a recipe or two in the front and a glossary of terms used in the b ...more
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Oishinbo Manga Review 1 2 Jun 25, 2018 05:48AM  

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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

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

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