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.)

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

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

181 comments

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Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Hmm. Right now, the fruit "sushi" (if that counts!). Eventually I'd like to be able to make my own tempura. Oh! I know! Sea Salt Ice Cream. I've been trying to get it right - I think the new ice cream maker is just broken, as it won't actually freeze the ice cream without overheating.

"Stop having the boring tuna; stop having the boring life" - Vince Offer

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

The book looks adorable! I'm sure my sister would like it, so I will have to keep it in mind.

The one dish I've yet to make was my favorite that my stepmother made... Gyoza! It is such a simple process, but I have never been able to convince myself to try.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Oooh, that's a hard one. I've been having good luck with curry rice, though really all I did was find a good source for the sauce mix...

I'd really love to figure out how to make my own tonkatsu. Then I can stop paying so much for it! Or grilled salmon would be fun, too... but the thing that seems most impossible is ebi-shumai. ^^

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

My niece would love this book. She's getting to be a good cook (my influence, ahem), and she loves reading manga.

I've been thinking of making teuchi udon. Maybe this weekend....

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Inarizushi! I've seen it in plenty of bento boxes on this site and it looks yummy!

Yay!

I have wanted this book for a long time now. It would be cool to get it for free.

I have never made taiyaki and have always wanted to. It's hard to buy the special pan when I know I would rarely use it. One day, I will make the purchase though.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Too cute. This little book looks like it would really be a lot of fun.

I'd really like to try making sushi sometime! I'd also like to try veggie tempura, or anything-tempura, really. There's actually an endless list of things I plan on making sooner or later, heh.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've tried to cook a few Japanese dishes (courtesy of the awesome recipes on Just Hungry & Just Bento- i now make bento for my dad and sister on their long study/work days), but would love to seriously attempt to make a character bento- complete with coloured rice. Croquettes and yakitori are another thing I would like to try and make- as my sister loves both, and it's her birthday soon ^-^

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Well, I guess I'm looking for suggestions. We've made sushi. Everyone in the family loves it because we can choose what each of us wants in them. Maybe something we can do with our rice cooker (beyond rice that is)?

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I haven't made many Japanese dishes at all. The closest I've ever prepared is miso soup and soba noodles. Sushi, pork cutlets, curry, I want to make a lot!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Wow, I've seen that book in the stores. it looks very cute!

I've always wanted to make Taiyaki, just because the idea of red bean paste and yummy pancake-like batter sounds delicious and I like to cook deserts more than anything.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would love to try and make mochi My Husband loves the stuff and I personally have a hard time tolerating the texture My thought is if I put effort into it maybe I can appreciate it

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Oh, i would definetely try Nattodon. But because nobody really seem to like a can´t get any natto round here ;)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

The book looks like lots of fun!

I would love to make veggie rolls. I get cravings for them but it just looks tricky to do!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Aaah, this book looks adorable!

As soon as I leave college housing, (and the college meal plan,) I plan on filling my freezer with staples and reveling in the potential for deliciousness. I'm a sucker for miniature food, so I'd probably start with as many mini-burger recipes as I could get my hands on.

And then to celebrate I would try my hand at mochi, possibly those lovely sushi-types we just saw. I know it's not very original, but all that fruit looked so good now that summer is so far off. That, and it would be an understatement to say I have a sweet tooth =3

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would love to win this book! And the food that I would love to try and make, but haven't yet is dango! Not only are they cute and have their very own song, but there are so many flavors and they just look like a fun snack overall. I have seen some recipes online, but I am not sure where to get some of the ingredients (like the main one of rice flour). Still, I hope that one day I can figure out how to make these fun little balls of yummy. :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I was always under the impression that making your own mochi was somewhat difficult, so I was persuaded away... but after looking into it more it doesn't seem that bad!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This is a hard one for me... I come from a Chinese household and love the food, so I make a lot of east-asian dishes by extension. Hmn, I'd have to say nizakana with a strong fish such as sardines. I keep on meaning to try it with mackerel, but I always ended broiling it. It's the crispy skin that gets me <3.

You've probably heard/seen it, but Oishinbo is a great manga and anime. So much food~ I've been watching Dotch Cooking Show for some time now, and it's super addicting. And dangerous to watch late at night since it gets that tummy rumbling.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

There are so many things I haven't made that I want to try! I'm with many of the other commenters here--I want to try making mochi one of these days. I also want to try my hand at making my own udon noodles, because I love them so much, but it's hard to find them in any sort of quantity for cheap. When it comes to sushi, I'll probably never get up the nerve to make anything other than California Rolls and tamago, though I'm slowly being talked into making Spam musubi (though that's technically more Hawaiian than Japanese).

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I'd love to try an onigiri recipe!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Iv herd of this book! Iv always really wanted it but my parents said they couldn't afford it at the time so I couldn't get it D: Iv always been into Manga and Anime and just this year I have been getting into cooking and trying entrusting Japanese recipes. I haven't tried many, and the recipes that I usually find online are supper complicated and they have weird ingredients that I can't find X0 From the sound of the review it sounds like a good book for a newbie like me XD I think a recipe that I really want to try to make are Dangos or Omurice. I want this book! Consider me please :3

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Well, I love trying out Japanese dishes, I make rather fine bento-boxes, but... I never had the courage to try out doing tempura. I've heard doing it right requires a lot of skills.

Thanks for the great book review!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I used to live with my sister, who was bento-crazy! I'd make less traditional bento-ish lunches at times, but since I worked at a grocery store I would opt for just grabbing something from there during lunch breaks. However, I'm looking to get into making bentos for myself for the health benefits. I'm not the best of eaters, but I'd really like to change that! I've looked around the site, and had bookmarked about 20 recipes until I just scrapped them and bookmarked the recipe section in and of itself! =) Very fantastic site. My sister told me about it a long time ago, and I've recently got back into it.

Like a lot of other comments have said, I'm pretty new to Japanese cooking. In theory, I know it decently. About as decently as four years of high school level Japanese classes will teach you, haha. I've made simple recipes for myself, such as Japanese style eggs, inarizushi, and yakisoba. I would like to branch out into other dishes likes salads, spring rolls, and okonomiyaki to name a few!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

This is very hard to answer. I have tried and eaten several japanese dishes. I actually helped out making takoyaki once, but it was a restaurant's pan and where I live, I cant find any.
One thing that I've always been curious to make is ohagi. Wait, there's also tayaki, oden, ramen, tonkatsu, oyakodonburi, ochazuke, homemade umeboshi, tasty tsukemono.... I could go on forever but I guess I'll choose ohagi since it's one of my first ones. I love japanese cuisine, but specially the warm cooked dishes which are not seen in my country since everyone's frenzy about Sushi, I was able to find inarizushi on a chinese supermarket but was too afraid to take it home and try cooking.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've been meaning to make something as simple as onigiri for my bento lunches. I've recently purchased two cute bento boxes from my local korean grocer, but I've been packing American foods with fruits and veggies. I can't decide what to put inside the little buggers when I do make them, but as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I will give it a shot.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Bentō has been a lifesaver in our household; my wife and i have lost a combined 80 pounds over the last six months by using both the culture and physical limitations of portion size in preparing healthy meals. We use inexpensive yet unique imported plastic boxes with lids and compartments for at least one meal during the day (i'm retired and my wife works out of the home), with the result that we eat less but eat better! Although our kyaraben is not very good, it's exciting enough to make us want to improve - and justbento.com has helped spur our inspiration - so thanks!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I just started making Onigiri for my hubby's bentos and I love them too! I would like to get a mold and make Musubi though.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

this is a great idea for a cookbook! i would love to try a recipe like japanese dumplings.

CoolBlackChef.co.uk

Japanese recipe to try?

Quite honestly, I'd like to try yamaimo okura natto nebaneba bo-ru. I love okra, taste, slime, and all; I loved natto when I tried it the first time (I stock up every time I'm low and make it to Jungle Jim's); I love the gooey texture of a not fully cooked egg and at one time, I learned to love avocado mashed into a raw egg yolk (delicious, seriously).

From your description, I don't think this would be in there, but I seriously think it sounds good.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've never tried to make mochi before, and I would love to try it, but it is not possible to get all the ingredients where I live... Sigh. But, I will look out for the ingredients, they just might "pop up" somewhere :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've never tried to make mochi before, and I would love to try it, but it is not possible to get all the ingredients where I live... Sigh. But, I will look out for the ingredients, they just might "pop up" somewhere :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've never tried to make mochi before, and I would love to try it, but it is not possible to get all the ingredients where I live... Sigh. But, I will look out for the ingredients, they just might "pop up" somewhere :)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

When visiting Japan last summer, my husband insisted on getting off the train in Yokohama (on our way to Sapporo) for a lunch stop at the ramen museum - he'd spent a week looking for ramen looking the same as they do in Naruto, without finding anything acceptable. It would be a perfect gift for him, and he would definitely have fun exploring this cookbook with our daughter.

I would love to do a version of a lovely crossover goya-quiche I had once, it was great and I love goya, though it is sadly hard to get here in Denmark. And I still haven't gotten around to make a proper goya champuru, but as soon as I can lay my hands on some, I'll make it.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

My partner is a huge fan of manga and comics in general, and I now share his passion. One of our favourites is called Dorohedoro, designed by Q Hayashida. It is totally crazy. In one of the issues there is a detailed recipe on how to make gyoza: I have always wanted to make them and never had the recipe there when I had the time and viceversa! I promise that as soon as we get our comics out of the latest removal's boxes, I will try!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I almost bought this book a while ago. It was a cute pack with this book and a red bento box, but the order got cancelled ;_; So I bought the 501 bento box lunches as a revenge! XD
But I'll most likely end up buying this book anyway, since I have loads of how-to-draw-manga books (just because they're cute, drawing manga isn't my favorite thing X: ) it'll look good on the collection!

The dish I'm most eager to try cooking would be curry... I have made hayashi rice (got my hands on the ingredients on a regular super market O.O), and have made a whole lot of dishes.... But when it comes to curry, I've only made indian curry since I'm afraid my japanese curry will turn out bad X:

btw- do you know if japan centre's curry thingys are good? I was thinking about ordering from them :\

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've been looking at this book. I hope that more japanese instructional manga comes to the states...and I would love to own instructions for usagi ringo!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Mostly, I just want to say that I'm really happy I found this site. It makes the occasional packed lunch so much more fun, and I've gotten compliments from my employers about it. And the tamagoyaki recipe is one of the few egg dishes my mom will eat without qualms (she usually can't stand eggs).

So thanks for the recipes, and I hope to find more of them to try!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I love cooking Japanese food and trying to make new Japanese dishes whenever I have time and the ingredients. One Japanese food that really interest me is the fifth taste umame. Sounds difficult. A bit scared.
Maybe I should just stay with the basics for now.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I tried making dango about a week ago and it was soooo awful. I blame myself! I tried to follow Cooking With Dog's method but I definitely messed it up somewhere - probably has something to do with my refusal to ever measure anything out >_>

I want to start cooking more fish, so hopefully there are some nice fish recipes in here!

hana.yori.dango

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I'd like to make homemade mochi, as you showed it in your last post. The problem is, I cannot get glutinous rice flour in Poland, so I'll have to wait for a while. I'm also curious about okonomiyaki and some eggplant recipes I've noted from my friends japanese cookbook, such as eggplant dengaku.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I've always wanted to try shabu-shabu....could end up in the burn ward, but it would be totally worth it!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I have been looking at this book for a while now on line. My family and I just moved from Colorado to California and I am excited to start learning how to make bento lunches for my 5 and 3 yr old boys. My 5 year old is a picky eater but my 3 year old loves onigiri. I would love to get my hands on a copy of this to try it out and show the boys the "cartoon" kids as they call them, and hopefully my 5 year old will be more willing to try to prepare then eat his own Bentos. So far I have made 2 practice Bentos for my mother in law with left overs and the girls at her work have gone wild over them... lol...

Anyway, thanks for the review, I am so careful not to buy a book that I will not likely use but it is great to see a review here, it makes me more apt to purchase in the future when I can.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Oyaki. I haven't had time to cook anything new lately, but I'm excited to try them. Being from Idaho (USA), anything with potatoes has to be good!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Yay! Cookbooks! My husband looooves manga and cooking, so this would be great. And the Japanese dish that I want to try but havent' yet is...takoyaki. I have the pan, I have the ingredients (well, minus the octopus), but I have been too chicken to make it.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would love to try to make natto. I would also love to win the Magna Cookbook. My 14 yr. old daughter is so into Bento Boxes for her lunch and would love to try something outta this cookbook. xo Martha

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I would love to make Yakitori, it seems easy enough, but I never think of it at the time! My boyfriend also wants me to make some Sashimi, since we have a ton of salmon in our freezer just waiting to be eaten =)

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

I'm pretty knowledgeable about Japanese food, but the one that I can't get right despite reading numerous books and websites on is sushi. I am probably rusty with my Oyako-don and Katsu-don, too. It's been a while.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

It is such a cute book! I have bought it about 6 months ago for my 9 year old daughter and we had much fun cooking the recipes out of it! We love it!

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

New to the site so I am not sure I am doing this correctly.

My wife and I are very new to both Japanese and Korean cooking. I mention Korean because my wife's work has recently started sharing food from Korea and enjoy sharing their culture.

I would love to make Onigiri or Dynamite Rolls (not sure if those are Japanese). Our 14 year old daughter is showing some interest as well and she loves the Anime/Manga.

Thank-you for the chance to win a copy of this book, but most of all, thanks for this amazing site (as well as Just Hungry) you are helping us to change our lives for the better through fun and nutritious foods.

Re: Book review and giveaway: The Manga Cookbook

Oh wow, this could be a book I need!

I tried making yakibuta ramen last night, but really messed up the soup somehow. I need to figure out what went wrong (or get a different recipe) and try that again because I love it but can't find anyplace where I live that makes it.

I've always meant to make omuraisu but have never gotten around to it!