Otaku USA Magazine
This Tasty Anime Food Has Us Looking Up New Recipes

Anime food has made us curious about some traditional Japanese dishes

Everyone loves well-drawn anime food. (Like, we can kind of understand why Chihiro’s parents went for that buffet in Spirited AwayDid you see it?) But if you’re a long-time anime viewer, you’ll have seen some basic Japanese snacks making the rounds. And after seeing how much your favorite characters love them… well, you’ve gotta try ’em, right?

Fortunately, the Internet is full of recipes to try! These are some of the foods we keep seeing in our favorite anime, and we’re looking forward to giving them a try someday.



The girls of Smile! PreCure enjoy takoyaki

This decades-old Osaka snack is a recurring anime food — not only because of its popularity, but also because it’s really cool to watch being made!

Takoyaki are fried dough balls filled with diced octopus and topped with a savory sauce. The octopus is more about texture than flavor — it doesn’t taste like much itself and absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook it with. So if you ever have a chance to give it a try, go for it! And if you ever have a chance to watch an expert flipping takoyaki in the pan? Even better.


Octopus Hot Dogs

Those cute little octopus hot dogs.

In recent memory, there’s not been any anime food more enviable than Miyuki’s homemade bento in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. The simple lunchbox isn’t as flashy as Kaguya’s, but it includes cute treats that fascinate Kaguya as much as they do us. In particular, she wants just one little octopus hot dog.

These are more about aesthetic than anything else. Does cutting up a mini hot dog to look like a cute octopus actually make it better? Of course it does. Look at it. Fortunately, they’re super-easy to make. So treat yourself.


Jelly-Filled Donuts

Jelly donut

Yes, yes. We know. Onigiri. Even though we’re still looking askance at Pokémon‘s treatment of this particular anime food, we’d still love some onigiri. While some people have gone the extra mile to make onigiri-shaped jelly donuts, the actual snack is worth a try if you can get them.

Onigiri are hard-packed rice balls with a single ingredient inside. Favorite fillings include umeboshi, tuna mayo, and grilled salmon. But you can basically fill them with anything you like (which would technically include jelly). You can make onigiri yourself with a bit of practice. But if you ever get the chance, buy some and try the different fillings!

We may call these “anime food,” but that would technically be like calling hot dogs and turkey legs “cartoon food.” Even so, anime introduced us to these treats, and that’s where our minds go. What food did you learn about thanks to anime?

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.