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On the Bridge/Cooking manga

chowhoundX | Oct 9, 200103:31 AM

Today I had the Kinoko (mushroom) spaghetti at On the Bridge cafe in SF Japantown. The spaghetti was as garlicky and mushroomy as ever.

Afterwards, I was in Kinokuniya -- the Japanese bookstore -- and noticed they have a full bin devoted to cooking-related manga. There were the old classics including The Chef (about a guy who roams from town to town working as a contract chef and saving the day for all sorts of folks), Cooking Papa (about an executive/father who's a great cook but pretends he's not so his wife doesn't look bad), and Oishinbo.

I also saw some I hadn't read before. There was one all about adventures in ramen shops, one about a sommelier (Shun no wine), and there was one about sushi called Shota no Sushi (Shota's sushi). I bought the first book in that series. It's the story of a prodigal sushi chef named Shota Sekiguchi. In Episode 1, Shota represents Tokyo in a national sushi competition held at Takabe Shrine, Japan's only shrine dedicated to the cooking god (who also reigns over soy sauce and miso). The judges ask each chef to do their best with a slice of red manbou, a fatty flat ocean sunfish the size of a trampoline. Shota remembers that fish with such high fat content is cut best using a dull knife, so he bangs his blade against some rocks on the ground. This shocks the full-of-himself Osaka representative, who's been bragging all day about how sharp his blade is. Shota kicks the Osaka guy's ass by scoring a perfect 10 from the judges, though the Osaka guy gets a 6 -- enough to move onto the next part of the competition.

I'll be reading Episode 2 tomorrow.

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