6 Strange Anime Cuisines: The 2nd Dish
by Lynzee Loveridge,
The word on the street is that the Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma manga is wrapping up soon and with it Soma's gastro-experiments. The series introduced a world of mouth-watering animated food for my eyes as well as some stomach-churning options that I'd never eat if given the opportunity. The manga seemed to invigorate gourmet manga and anime, which has always been its own niche but we got all sorts of new options be it men graphically eating pizza or recipes that are useful on the bottom floor of a dungeon. I'm gonna miss you Food Wars and in honor of your passing I've rounded up a new selection of questionable foods as well as some old favorites.
Peanut Butter Calamari (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma)
It's the food that launched Food Wars increasingly hilarious "food-gasms" sequence. In the episode, Soma is experimenting again with strange food combos and decides to dress fried squid in peanut butter of all things. The idea sounds absurd, but remember that things like peanut butter burgers or bacon maple bar donuts aren't exactly a strange occurrence here in the states. The most off-putting part is probably both the fishy taste and the texture of squid mixed with creamy peanut butter. Squid is...chewy after all. Soma unleashes the monstrosity on Mayumi, his friend and classmate before he begins attending the academy. The combo is considered a failure but Soma revisits the idea later...with honey.
Citacap (Golden Kamuy)
Citacap, like many of the other foods Aspira prepares in the series, is part of traditional Ainu cuisine. The food isn't for the faint of heart with a focus on making the best use of minimal resources in the cold, Hokkaido winters. Things that would make many Westerners squeamish are much needed nutritional elements and this includes things like blood and animal organs. Writer Zeroreq011 writes in detail on their blog about how some cultures are more open to using elements that others shy away from, including Filipinos and the Ainu. Citacap specifically is made from mincing a squirrel's meat and organs into a paste that is kneaded with spices. Traditionally this would be eaten raw, but Aspira cooks it for her companions in a soup. Aspira continues to try to endear her companions to eating raw animal organs from deer lungs to bird brains. Of course, it's all a matter of perspective; Aspira often equates miso to literal crap.
Fermented Salt-Cured Fish Jam (Nichijō)
Mio gets quite a surprise when her sister Yoshino offers her some jam to replace the marmalade she ate. Mio, thinking it'll be the sweet type usually spread on toast, finds out that it's savory, fermented, and fishy all at once. The situation spirals as Mio seems to suffer actual pain from the taste of the jam only for Yoshino to follow-up with hot "Russian tea," something Mio also despises. Her sister tries to get the tea flavor out of her mouth with the jam and then the tea again in an endless cycle. It might surprise that quite a few cultures actually have its own version of fermented fish paste, usually as a condiment. The Philippines has Bagoong, Sudan has terkeen, Cambodia has Prahok, and Indonesia and Malaysia has Trassi and Belacan.
Pelollipop Candy (Sket Dance)
This candy looks pretty inconspicuous right? In fact, its wrapper design reminds me a lot of Chupa Chups. While Chupa Chups come in a variety of tasty fruity flavors, Pelollipops are anything but. Character Himeko is a big fan but a quick look at the candy's flavor selection, I can't for the life of me figure out why. Pelollipops' stunning array of flavors include things like liver, blue cheese, durian, fish eggs, century egg, mayonnaise, and other salty, savory, and fishy foods. Not exactly the kind of candy I'd pick to cleanse my palette.
Jet Black Curry Laksa (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma)
Where Soma's strange dishes are more like a mad scientist's whim, for Nao Sadatsuka they're a feature. The gloomy witch chef prefers to put things together that smell atrocious and should turn your stomach only to prove its delicious despite what it looks like on the surface. Her Jet Black Curry Laksa prepared during the Autumn Elections joins together salted fish broth with coconut curry. Traditionally this type of dish would also include congealed pig's blood but this part is omitted from Nao's recipe. Instead she chooses two fish known particularly for their stench: flying fish and mahi mahi and both are fermented and salted to increase their pungency. The curry dish ends up having a pleasant taste, all things considered, but she's still defeated.
Yeah, I'd probably eat those peanut butter calamari tentacles but organs are just a no-go for me. (Twitter.)
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