Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

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The Manga Cookbook has been out for a while, but I have a copy to give away courtesy of the publisher, so here’s a short review. While this is not a bento cookbook, it has a few bento-friendly recipes in it. Besides, the cute manga format will probably appeal to many Just Bento readers (which is why this review is here on Just Bento rather than on Just Hungry).

This is a little paperback, with several easy Japanese recipes in manga format. (Just in case you don’t know, manga are Japanese comics. Wait a second…if you’re reading this site, how could you not know manga!?! ^_^) Instructional mangas are quite common in Japan, but I don’t know of any in English besides this one (though I bet someone will tell me there are many more). The recipes are introduced by a cute manga girl and a rather hyper animal character that is supposed to be a fox, which looks rather like it belongs in the Pikachu world. The manga, and the recipes, look to be written in English rather than translated from Japanese. If they are translated, they’ve done a really good job of it. In addition, the book reads from left to right rather than the more usual (for Japanese manga) right to left.

As for the recipes, provided you can get a hold of the ingredients (and they do not stray too far from the basics like rice, soy sauce, and so on), anyone should be able to make all of them easily, even kids (with adult supervision in some cases). There are color and black and white photographs of the recipes to refer to, besides the manga instruction. Most of the recipes are standard-issue Japanese classics, like onigiri, ebifurai (breaded fried shrimp), kushi dango (sweet rice dumplings on a stick) and so on. A couple are not exactly standard, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong in the book. All of the recipes are of the type that appeal to kids - or at least, Japanese kids. No strongly flavored or strange ‘adult’ food here. For the charaben enthusiast there are nice manga step-by-steps for making things like usagi ringo (apple bunnies) and boiled eggs with faces on them.

The only major quibble I have with this book is that about 24 pages out of the stated 144 total are essentially blank! These have a photocopy-like image of a page ripped out of a notebook that say “Cook’s Notes” on top. I’ve seen this in other cookbooks too, but not for so many pages proportionate to the overall page count. I can’t help but wonder if they somehow ran out of money or something and couldn’t afford to fill up the rest of the book with more recipes and manga. Another, lesser quibble is that the photographs are not of very good quality. But I think that this little book is still a good value though (around $11 from Amazon.com). It would make a great present for a child or teenager who is into manga or anime and is curious about the ‘weird’ Japanese food that he or she sees in them, or an adult who wants a friendly introduction to some Japanese home cooking recipes.

Book details

The giveaway rules

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment on this post. As always, to make it more interesting, let us know the one Japanese dish that you haven’t made yet that you are most curious about trying to make. The deadline for leaving your comment/entry is 23:59:59 CET on Sunday, November 22nd. I’ll try to get the book to you before Christmas.

(Note: The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone for entering! I’ll announce the winner shortly.)

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And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

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Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I have always been interested with the bento, probably due to the magic of the manga. In watching the shojo heroine eat/make/share onigiri, apple bunny slices, and octopus hot dogs. I would be remiss as a burgeoning cook and a lover of the comic form if I didn't celebrate this text's release.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

That sounds super neat and perfect for someone like me, haha.

Let's see--- I'm pretty new to japanese recipes so I haven't even tried making much yet. I know it's something easy (and I plan to make it very soon) but I actually have never gotten around to making onigiri. Yep, :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

If you don't mind, I'll alter your question slightly so I can tell you what I want to try to make WELL: Tamago nigiri. It's some of my favorite sushi, and I can't seem to get the egg part as fluffy as I've had it in restaurants, or as pristine yellow. Not that it's terrible if part of the egg gets browned, but my love of this stuff includes both the flavor and the visual aspect, so I'd love to manage both. So far, I'm 3 for 4 on flavor, 0 for 4 on appearance.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I am dying to try (and potentially try to make) Natto!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would love to try to make Chazu, maybe this weekend if I'm not too busy

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I think this would be a cute gift idea! I currently have Washoku by Andoh, and I really want to keep trying more recipes from her book. It would be interesting to note the possible washoku elements in such a downsized version of a cookbook as well. I have yet to make udon soup!!! Surprising, I know, but I like soba better than udon :P

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I was thinking to buy that book for a long while since I would love to start cooking japanese recipes xD

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Hello! I'm a HUGE fan of seaweed salad but I have never attempt to make it. :( One of these days...

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Haha you were right, someone would tell you about more!

There is one on Physics, statistics, molecular biology....the list goes on :)

http://www.amazon.com/Manga-Guide-Physics-Hideo-Nitta/dp/1593271964

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Okonomiyaki! Yup, that is the one thing I've been planning on trying but just have not done it yet. While I've cooked it up on a grill at a restaurant, it's not the same as having to pick out your own ingredients, chop them up, measure out the mix ingredients and hope it all comes out right. Although if it ended up too watery I guess I could claim I was making moja? I think I'm a little intimidated since I don't have a grill myself.

This books sounds really cute. I was wondering if it was the one Biggie reviewed and said they left out an ingredient in the okyonomiyaki recipe? Other than that I have heard it's pretty good!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Mochi! I even have the ingredients and everything, but finding the time is proving difficult. Oh delicious mochi, when can I eat you?

I love your blog. It's been really helpful to me as I get into bento!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This looks like a very cute cookbook and very useful. What I'd really like to learn to make is okonomiyaki. I've liked it every time I've had it and it seems like something that would work well with a lot of different ingredients.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Ironically, this post popped up in my Twitter feed right as I was writing a blog post about a random Faux-Japanese recipe I invented last night with the last bits of food in my cabinets. The post concludes with what I'd love to attempt to cook next:

http://thriftview.blogspot.com/2009/11/thrifty-healthy-eating-its-soup-s...

But really, I don't feel like I've been getting Japanese food right. It tortures me because there's no real place in town where I can determine if I've made the food properly. I'll keep trying all the recipes on this website, however. I'm very grateful for it!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This seems like a fun book, and being a fan of manga, I would especially enjoy it.
I've been looking forward to trying the Steamed buns with roast pork filling (chuuka manjuu), but haven't gotten around to it yet.
http://www.justhungry.com/2004/04/steamed_buns_wi.html

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would love to try to make kushi dango. I love them so. But I've never tried making them. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.
Bina

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This does look like a cute teen gift! I have not tried anything fried in a tempura style. I loved the pork cutlets we had in Japan, but have a fear of a deep fryer at home... :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Well, I don't know if I count because this is my first time really exploring this site. I have not tried any of the Japanese dishes mentioned on this site outside of miso soup which is a favorite. This is only the start in my journey in trying new foods to add variety to my diet. I would love to try miso balls seeing as I love miso soup. I've started creating a cookbook from this website and I plan on moseying down to justhungry to get more!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Yakisoba. Or miso soup. It's not that I'm afraid of it per se....but I kinda am.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I have never made takoyaki (which I pretty much survived on my first year in Japan, since I didn't get home from work until 11pm). A friend has an æbelskiver pan -- that would work for takoyaki too, wouldn't it?

This book looks like it could be really interesting for the class I teach on non-fiction comic books; I'll have to see if Interlibrary Loan can get hold of it.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

is a really cute and amazing idea for a book, the childern wuld love it, i will like to try making mochi and other sweets, may be there will be a series for that book but whit more focus on desserts =3

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

What a cute book!

Ever since I went to a local Japanese buffet, I've been really interested in Japanese desserts. They had the most adorable mini-cakes there, as well as mochi! And unlike the ocha-flavored mochi I had (and hated) in Japan, this was unflavored and was just simply delicious. So I'm on the hunt for all the ingredients so I can try my hand at making my own little delicious mochi. :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

That's really cute! I'd like to read that at some point. I loved eating taiyaki at the Japanese sushi place near where I went to college, especially since they served on fish-shaped plates. It was really adorable. I'd love to make it at home, but I haven't found a good taiyaki pan to use... do you have any suggestions about where I might be able to find one? In the meantime, I have to settle for pancakes with azuki paste spread on top.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Cute book! I have never made mochi---I know that it will never be as good as the fresh-made mochi I got at festivals in Japan, so I don't want to put in all that work and be disappointed. But one of these days I'll get up my courage to try!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've always wanted to try making some sort of daifuku. I've eaten them before, but never have tried working with mochi. Western deserts are usually too sweet for my tastes. This cookbook looks like a fun read!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I'm a big fan of the Instructional Mangas, and since my girlfriend insists on teaching me to cook, I figured it might be appropriate to give this book a read-through.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

i've never made sushi from scratch

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Wow, I came across this site looking for some lunch ideas. I have to admit the apple bunnies are quite cute, and I may have to load up on some Granny Smiths and try it myself!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I want to make kushi dango... or takoyaki... no, dango. I want to make the dango! Then eat it. I think I'd end up making the takoyaki too chewy... but I'd probably like the dango no matter how badly I messed it up.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

The one thing I have never attempted that I really should is making my own sushi. Not with fish, as I am not up to sniff on buying good fresh fish where I live, but just making veggie rolls myself. I haven't tried it yet, and I really want to.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

i saw this awsome book pretty often and allways wanted to get, cuz i love japanese cookery and i am a fanatic manga otaku >.< it but never got around to get one ^.^

i always wanted to try making som meropan and karepan, but never hat the extratime yet. oh and of cours PRETTY and TASTY daifuku since the once i made yet ended always in a lumpy, sticky chaos @.@

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

As a manga reader/reviewer, I just had to chime in on this one, especially since there are several manga instructional guides out right now. Since I teach college students how to use a statistics software package, I'm actually interested in the statistics one; the other guides look at other science-related subjects, like physics and calculus.

As far as the giveaway goes, I'm actually interested in making onigiri. I make other Japanese dishes all the time, but haven't made these yet. Probably because all of our leftover rice usually goes into fried rice and I never think to use it for onigiri, even though we make a pot of rice per week. Maybe I should take a page out of my Filipino grandmother's book and just always have a pot on hand! (^o^)

Anyway, this looks like a cute cookbook! Thanks for the giveaway, Maki!

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Love manga? Then check out my manga review blog, i ♥ manga!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This looks like a cute book. I am always more motivated to make recipes when I can relate them to something else. It would be very cool to make something that vaguely resembled something I'd read about so many times. It reminds me of when I was in elementary school and briefly had an intense obsession with baking stuff from the cookbook based on stuff in the works of Roald Dawl (it was called Roald Dawl's Revolting Recipes, but they were good, I swear). I want to be able to learn how to make anything dessert ish. I love sweets, but so far I've only tried making savory foods. I'd like to try making Mochi, or something equally yummy and sweet.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

OMG, I love your site! I make bentos for the little ones all the time. I will have to go through it. I have never made sushi and I would love to make that for my family we all love it.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Oh I have been peeking at that cookbook for a while now. I never could justify getting it because it wasn't available when I actually had a Gift Card.

I would love to try to make sushi or a hotpot.. Oh! ramen! definitely ramen! Yes! I don't think its in that little cookbook, but you didn't say it had to be something in the cookbook :-) I want to be able to make pork ramen. I spend so much buying it at the ramen house's its got to be just as tasty homemade :-)

I can't wait to check out some of the other suggestions and links from other commentors too :-) thanks for giving us this opportunity!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This book looks very cute!
I would like to try fresh yuba. I see the dried Chinese kind around here, but would like to try the freshly made type of 'tofu skin', since I love fresh tofu and soymilk.
I would also love to eat ikura no shoyu zuke, because it sounds delicious, and anything involving fish eggs is wonderful, in my books.
Best wishes, Maki! ^^

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I know this is a second comment, but this post reminded me of a missed opportunity. When I was at the New York Anime Festival recently, I had the opportunity to buy Anime Eats! Cookbook. I wanted to grab it and review it myself, but I am wondering if you've seen or heard anything about it.

Thanks again!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I really want to try to make inari sushi. They're my best friend's favourite, and I found out I like homemade ones much better (the ones I've eaten in restaurants have generally been a little over-sweet).

My boyfriend told me he wants to try a wasabi bomb (a temaki full of wasabi) but I think that would probably be a bad idea! :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This book looks like a lot of fun. The one thing I am currently ramping up my (very lacking) skills for is tempura. I absolutely love all things cooked in this fashion and have been starting the research into how I can make it just as good at home as I get in the restaurants.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Tamago yaki. I've been wanting to make it forever.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I haven't made miso soup, but I'd really like to try it. I don't really have a lot of time to cook, though I enjoy it thoroughly. School just gets in the way.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I think I know someone who would love this book and $11 is a pretty good price, thank you for giving me an idea for a Christmas present for my much younger, japanophile sister-in-law. This and a cute bento would probably have her jumping for joy, considering she went nuts for some Japanese snacks I put in her birthday present.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Aaaack! I've been looking for this book for ages! My friends have it and let me borrow it from time to time but it'd be so much better to have one of my own. It's totally cute and very easy to read and cook from. I'd love to have it on my bookshelf and in my kitchen! ^0^

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I hope it has a recipe for agedashi tofu!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

such a cute book. I want to learn to make mochi. I've tried, but it was a terrible disaster! runny and sticky all over the counter! ;-)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Ummm, I had to think a bit about this one. I've been in Japan for a while and I've tried many dishes. I still have to cook saba no miso ni. I usually hate cooked fish and this one is the only one I can eat (it comes sometimes with the kyushoku at school).

I've bought a saba once, thinking I would try, but it stayed in the freezer for ages and I eventually threw it away...

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would like to try and make vegetarian brown rice sushi at home.

Thank you for the giveaway.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Oh I love to cook Japanese food, and I always try to make new Japanese dishes in every chance that I have; when I have the ingredients ;) One Japanese food that really interest me is the cream croquette, Kurimu Korroke. Ah, it sounds yummy. I've planned to make it, but still not yet. It seems kinda hard to make, so I got scared a bit.
Actually this is my first time leaving a comment on your blog, after all this time stalking it ;D I love your blog. Good luck with your cookbook! I hope it can be released soon.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I think I ll make onigiri.
Its simple but when I see it on screen it never fails to make me wanna snatch from them ! I had made onigiris before but not those plain type..ahh short grain riceee !I am supposedly day1 of my diet l:

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Ooh, I've been thinking about buying this for ages. I thought it might help me transition my boyfriend into eating bento more often.

As for what I want to make? I, shamefully, still haven't managed to make a successful octodog. I know, right?

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I am very new to Japanese cooking, so the possibilities are wide open for me! I did just discover Okonomiyaki and would live to try it.