I'm completely unashamed of my addiction to Japanese comics, or "manga."
I've spent hours reading, and re-reading and re-re-reading the classics - Inuyasha, Rurouni Kenshin, Fruits Basket - and countless days searching for new manga series (I recommend The Promised Neverland and Tomodachi Game for anyone with a dark side) to binge-read.
As a person with a healthy appetite and a love of all things food, cooking mangas have always had a certain appeal, so here are a few of my favorites that I think any foodie should be able to enjoy.
1. Shokugeki no Soma
This cooking manga became immensely popular almost immediately after its release in 2012. The plot is pretty simple; it tells the story of a young man sent to an elite culinary school, which has a graduation rate of only ten percent and a bizarre system where students can challenge one another to "cooking battles."
The series is uncomplicated and quick-paced, so a new manga reader should be able to get into it rather quickly. There's also quite a bit of "fan service" - if you're into that sort of thing - with most of the characters getting tastefully (hehe) naked every chapter or so.
If you're not much of a reader you can watch the first two seasons of Shokugeki no Soma instead.
The title of this series comes from the Italian word for "baby." The protagonist is repeatedly called a "bambino" in the kitchen due to his lack of culinary experience, but that doesn't stop him from doing his utmost to succeed and improve his skill - albeit with some attitude.
While there isn't an anime version you can watch, Bambino! does have a live action drama series.
3. Yumeiro Patissiere
This shoujo manga - "shoujo" is a specific genre of manga targeted towards young women - is the perfect thing for anyone who just wants something light and easy to read.
There are no giant meltdowns or unnecessary panty shots, it's just about a middle schooler learning how to make pastries with her friends and her magical fairy friends. I know it sounds a tad girly, but it's honestly a great manga. It even has recipes!
4. Yakitate!! Japan
I feel a bit conflicted about recommending this one. While the series starts off strong, it eventually changes from a cooking manga about baking bread into something filled with strange gags and horrible puns.
For anyone wondering, "pan" means "bread" in Japanese, and the series makes multiple references to this hilarious wordplay. Pretty decent recipes though - ever tried making bread in your rice cooker?
While not quite a cooking manga, this manga still falls in the realm of the food world. The series focuses on a bartender in Japan who spends his days making interesting cocktails for a variety of clientele.
Interested in picking up some new bartending skills? This is the manga for you.
6. Nobunaga no Chef
This manga is not only about cooking, but it also teaches you a bit about Japanese history. The series revolves around an accomplished chef, Ken, who is magically transported back in time to the 1500s, somewhere in feudal Japan.
There he meets Oda Nobunaga, one of Japan's most famous warlords and his culinary adventures truly begin. He becomes the warlord's personal chef, and he must ensure that he does nothing in the past that will change the future.
7. Addicted to Curry
As the title implies, this series revolves around curry. It begins with a young woman struggling to keep her restaurant in business, but then she meets a man who decides to help her with this problem.
The manga has a strong focus on food and will leave you craving curry from every country, which you'll be able to easily make since the manga is loaded with recipes.