Updated: Dec 6, 2021
Whether you're interested in kawaii super-cute food or a story about the most epic battle to become the best chef in Japan, there are tons of delicious food manga to read. The holiday season is right around the corner and it is a great time to curl up with a cozy read and a delicious snack. If you aren't sure where to start your manga journey, sign up for a Blind Date with a Food Manga.
**Note, the links below are affiliate links to my store through Bookshop.org. These links provide me a small commission and 10% of your purchase supports independent bookstores.
I love culinary stories; whomever decided to mix food and books is the best. That person is my hero. Food manga and graphic novels? I mean, have you ever SEEN a Studio Ghibli film? Miyazaki made me love manga & foodie food visuals.
I have also enjoyed how food manga has made following a recipe a lot easier. I am such a visual person that I need the visuals of the manga and the recipe in the back! There are some amazing looking dishes in these manga and some great character development moments when it comes to the trial of learning, failing, and improving recipes.
Here is a list of some of the most popular food manga out there. My full list is here
Genre: Japanese shōnen manga series, targeting boys, Shōnen is a type of manga or anime meant for young teen boys usually between the ages of about 12 and 18. Total volumes: 39
Food Wars has been around for ages and ran from 2012 to 2019. There are tons of recipes and food. But there is a lot of fan service in here (clothes-flying-off-orgasmically-good-food) but it is targeting teenage boys. There's some laughs and good character development in there too as we follow Soma Yukihira no his dream to surpass his father's culinary skills?
Description from Bookshop.Org:
An action-packed, saucy food comedy featuring one boy's determination to be top chef!
Soma Yukihira's old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father's culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a school that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!
Genre: Kitchen Princess is a shōjo cooking, romance manga series written by Miyuki Kobayashi and illustrated by Natsumi Andō. Total volumes: 10
Kitchen Princess is one of the first manga I ever read. I loved the delicious desserts and the rather youthful chastise romance.
Our protagonist, Najika, is a great cook and she likes to make food for the people she loves, especially sweets! But she needs a good dose of love in her life. She lost her parents at an early age, which is sad to start! But when she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart - and now she's on a mission to find him! This mission brought her to Seika Academy because the only clue he left her was a silver spoon that you can only get at the academy.
But Seika Academy is full of competition. Najika is a scholarship student and her classmates don't think she deserves to be there. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers (and her love interests) who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika's cooking talent for what it is - magical. Is either boy Najika's mysterious prince?
Genre: Seinen manga (青年漫画) are Japanese comics marketed toward young adult men.
Total Volumes: 10
HOLY CUTNESS ALERT! I first found this as an anime instead of a manga and I decided I had to go back and read the manga too. This series will hit you in the FEELS!
Our protagonist is math teacher and single-father Kôhei Inuzuka. He has recently lost his wife and is now trying his best to raise his young daughter Tsumugi on his own. One struggle of being a single father? The poor man has no idea how to cook! He's pretty bad at it and doesn't have a huge appetite to begin with. But a chance encounter brings him closer to one of his students, Kotori Iida, who is the daughter of a local restaurant owner. These three form a little unit and learn to cook together and create homemade treats. With those three cooks in the kitchen, it's no wonder this dinner table drama is so delicious.
Genre: Adult Romance (18+)
Total Volumes: 4 (1 + Sequel Series 3)
I actually discovered this manga first as a 11-series anime series. Seriously, can someone please give me the "obscure playlist" on Crunchyroll or Netflix? This series is SO good!
I think what I loved about this anime / manga is that it takes place in Rome! It does not feel Japanese at all. It feels so adult, sensual and delicious.
This story stars Nicoletta - Nicoletta has traveled to Rome to find her mother, Olga. Olga didn't exactly abandon her, but sort of did, as she reveals that she married the owner of Casetta Dell'Orso and failed to tell him he had a grown daughter. In exchange for keeping the secret, Olga offers Nicoletta a place to live and an apprenticeship at the restaurant.
Nicoletta gets to know the cast of handsome men at the restaurant. She gets along well with the kindly headwaiter, Caludio, a divorced man who, after many years, still has not taken off his wedding ring. As she develops feelings for him things become complicated she repairs her relationship with her mom, who acts as her confident. But the longer she stays the harder it is for both women to keep up the secret.
Genre: Slice-of-life, comedy
Total Volumes: 15
Yuugo Hachiken had no idea what to do with his life. Despite his good grades, he lacked ambition. He defies expectations and enrolls at Ooezo Agricultural High School. What he thinks is a breeze, isn't! Working on a farm is HARD WORK!
This fulfilled my Stardew Valley + Harvest Room needs with a manga (now also adapted as an anime). Yuugo learns the ins and outs of running a farm; mucking out stables, gathering eggs, and chasing errant calves takes a lot out of him-and fills him with something he's never experienced before.
The ensemble cast and his friends (classmates) also show the reader the different ways you can specialize in farm care, agriculture, and animal rearing!
Kim is the founder & owner of Bookmarks & Breadsticks LLC. When she's not busy creating new products for Halo Top or working on the #ReadItandEat subscription box ideas, she's reading everything foodie!