Eat Like a Character in One Piece: 15 Dishes to Cook (And More)
Eat Like a Character in One Piece: 15 Dishes to Cook (And More)
There’s something special about how food is usually portrayed in Japanese animation. It’s not that Western animators don’t know how to make food look delicious - I don’t know about you, but that scene of Snow White baking in the old cartoon always had me craving apple pie as a little girl. It’s that the Japanese animators have managed to figure out the trick to bring you into the feast when it's happening on the screen. You just crave to be there, feasting right alongside characters.
One Piece is one of the most remarkable animes in this regard. This might not be saying much because One piece is remarkable in a lot of ways, including character arcs, their relationships, Sakuga animation, and managing to maintain its popularity for roughly a quarter a century without faltering once (seriously, One Piece is old enough to have earned a Master’s degree at this point!), but the way it portrays food, specifically, is of particular interest to us. We are, after all, a food blog.
The remarkable aspect of food portrayal in One Piece is that it's rarely the focus of the scene, even though one of the anime's main characters is a cook! Unlike many other animes (looking at you, Ghibli movies!), the food itself doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. But the characters involved in the scene always seem to enjoy whatever they’re having so much that it becomes impossible not to crave something to munch upon while watching the show in three seconds flat!
So why not munch on the same dishes One Piece characters enjoy every once in a while? Let’s overview the food One Piece characters enjoy together, and you choose which of them looks the most worthy of spending time and energy cooking!
15 Dishes to Cook Yourself (Like Sanji Would)
Putting in a little effort can go a long way. Even if you’re not the best cook in the world, some of the dishes depicted in the anime are straightforward enough to cook that any newbie home chef should feel confident enough to try. Channel your inner Sanji. He, too, after all, became good only after practice.
Sandwiches are supposedly Nico Robin’s favorite food, and she likes to enjoy them with a cup of coffee. The sandwiches depicted in One Piece are very diverse, so take a look at some screencaps and let your fantasy fly. From classic Monte Cristo sandwiches to what looks like classic egg sandwiches to American-style hamburgers, the animators don’t tend to limit themselves in depictions, so neither should you limit yourself in the kitchen.
Seafood Fried Rice
Zeff and Sanji used to cook seafood fried rice at their sailing restaurant Baratie, and it’s one of the very first foods we see Sanji serve! It’s said to contain a mix of octopus, squid, and shrimp slices, along with vegetables (and, judging by the yellow-ish color of the rice in the anime - egg as well!).
Seafood risotto is another seafood-and-rice dish we see Sanji serve a starving pirate Gin. Risotto is a tad more involved than fried rice, but if you’ve got the risotto rice (Arborio, or better yet, Carnaroli), some broth, and the patience to follow the recipe, making a plate of creamy risotto isn’t going to be all to hard. For Sanji’s seafood risotto, you’ll need small shrimps, octopus tentacles, and calamari rings, which I’d argue would take a little more effort to cook the right way (have you ever had overcooked seafood? No easier way to ruin a dish!
Dress Shrimp Paella
While we’re on the topic of seafood and rice, we can’t skip one of Dressrosa’s signature dishes! Dressrosa heavily draws upon Spanish, particularly Andalusian culture, borrowing from architecture, clothes, and food! The most famous dish on the island seems to be Dress Shrimp Paella, rice simmered with a wide assortment of seafood including clams, mussels, shrimps, calamari, and the one ingredient that makes this dish a pain to assemble at home - lobster. But it’s shrimp paella, not lobster paella, so we’d say skip and go ahead without it. Considering the amount of seafood used for the dish, it’s still going to be very flavorful and hit all the right spots for a seafood lover!
There have been two distinct varieties of seafood pasta depicted in One Piece: the one served to Princess Shirahoshi, cooked with clams and calamari, and the Dressrosa specialty Rose Squid Ink Pasta, that’s died jet black with squid ink. It was garnished with small red vegetables, likely cherry tomatoes.
Including onigiri on this list might seem a little redundant - after all, which anime hasn’t included the famous Japanese rice balls in their line-up of on-screen food parades? But while onigiri looks deceptively complicated, they’re actually relatively easy to cook and a good place for novice chefs to start honing their skills in cooking anime food. Get some rice, some nori seaweed to wrap it with, and maybe some canned tuna and Japanese mayo for an extra flavorful filling. It won’t take much effort, we promise.
Oden is a classic Japanese dish, a type of nabemono (hot pot dish), and damn, does the One Piece version of it look good. It consists of a soy-flavored dashi broth base and various flavorful ingredients, all stewed together. The One Piece version seems to contain various mushrooms, root vegetables (like daikon and konjac), noodles, and skewered meatballs. A stew this flavorful simply can’t taste bad. And it’s pretty easy to cook too! Oden is basically a “add broth, add ingredients, and let it all cook together” type of dish. Just make sure you don’t overcook it.
Soba is one of the most popular Japanese noodle varieties, made from buckwheat. In summer, it’s a popular cold dish, served chilled with a dipping sauce. In colder months, it’s typically served hot in a broth. In One Piece, we see soba depicted both ways. It’s Admiral Fujitora’s favorite food, and we see him enjoy it more than once.
Well, it’s an article about food from anime, so we were basically contractually obligated to mention Ramen. While it was Naruto that popularized Ramen among Western anime-lovers, in One Piece, we see this iconic Japanese noodle dish depicted more than once. It became Sabo’s favorite after he, Ace, and Luffy, demolished 26 bowls as kids. Without paying.
Cooking ramen from scratch is labor-intensive, but luckily modern times have come up with contemporary solutions, from ready-made broth pouches to instant noodles. And yes, it still counts as cooking, as long as you add classic finishing touches like a boiled egg, dumplings, and… asparagus? One Piece Ramen is unique, to say the least.
Aburaage is made by deep-frying tofu slices. Aburaage can be eaten on its own, or it can be stuffed with natto and double-fried. It was depicted in the Wano Country arc as komagitsune Onimaru’s favorite dish. According to Japanese legends, fox spirits (Kitsune) are fond of fried tofu. It’s also the reason you’ll often find fried tofu added to Kitsune Udon (a traditional Japanese noodle dish).
In the anime, curry rice is depicted as a Marine dish (though this is an anime-specific piece of trivia not supported by manga). Classic Japanese curry is more like gravy than thick Indian curry and tends to be on the spicier side (though mellow varieties aren’t uncommon). Curry sauce is frequently served over vegetables like potatoes and carrots, with non-vegetarian varieties often including chunks of meat. It seems to be the type of curry served in One Piece, judging by the screencaps.
For a Japanese anime, One Piece is surprisingly fond of Italian cuisine. Lasagna is one of many Italian dishes that have popped up on the screen. One Piece’s version looks extra cheesy with little filling, so if you try to assemble one yourself, maybe try using more than one type of cheese. A Quattro Formaggi take on lasagna sounds delicious, to be honest.
Another Italian staple, there’s not much to be said about pizza in One Piece. It looks cheesy and delicious every time it appears, and that’s good enough for us. Pizza is one of Saiaku no Sedai Pirate Captain’s, Jewelry Bonny’s favorite food.
Penne Gorgonzola with Sea King Meat
Penne Gorgonzola with Sea King meat is admittedly my personal favorite among One Piece’s delicious line-up. Since sea kings have been depicted in multiple forms, it’s impossible to figure out what their meat can be substituted with: fish, seafood, red meat? My personal favorite is seared salmon. I love how it pairs with salty and crumbly Gorgonzola. But frankly, anything goes, as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to this recipe as long as you’ve got penne and gorgonzola cheese covered.
Okay, so not a dish, per se, but One Piece bento is a staple; Sanji packs them for his teammates all the time. So why not try assembling one before sitting down to enjoy the next One Piece episode? Besides, One Piece bento doesn’t seem to follow any rules - they’ve been depicted to include fried fish, noodles, sandwiches, curry, Luffy’s favorite meat on the bone, and hamburgers of all things. So you can let the fantasy fly however strikes your fancy.
What More to Eat?
If you’re not feeling like cooking, you can still enjoy a snack or two alongside the characters in the anime! You’d be surprised how much of their feasts are comprised of fresh ingredients that don’t require much effort (I suspect it's due to colors looking nice on the screen, but they’re all tasty in real life, so it all works out in our favor!)
Many One Piece characters are depicted munching on fresh fruits! Well, considering Devil Fruits are the central plot device, it’s not a surprise, but ordinary fruits like bananas, pineapples, and grapes also frequently pop up. One Piece’s signature fruit would be Mikan, small orange citrus (tangerines, in English translation) due to its importance to Nami’s backstory.
Dango is a traditional Japanese dessert, a small dumpling commonly made from glutinous rice flour (Mochiko), water, and sugar, usually served on a skewer in a group of three to five.
Mitarashi Dango is one of the most commonly depicted dango varieties in anime. It’s a classic white dango covered in a caramel-like sauce made with shoyu soy sauce, sugar, and starch. It’s shown to be one of the anime antagonists, Black Maria’s favorite food.
Croquembouche, a classic French dessert, is an impressive display of small cream-filled choux pastries piled upon each other to make a mountain. It was a favorite on Cake Island. (We mere mortals can substitute it with Japanese cream puffs! Not as impressive visually, but just as tasty!)
Senbei crackers are a popular snack in Japan. They’re made from baked rice and are quite plain in their original form, though more flavorful varieties like salted, soy-flavored, or shrimp-flavored senbei are also popular. They’re commonly enjoyed with a cup of tea. Luffy’s grandfather, Money D. Garp, has been shown munching on them on multiple occasions in the anime.
Meat (in All Ways, Shapes, or Forms)
Well, we might not have any sea kings swimming around, but I, frankly, can’t imagine Moneky D. Luffy saying no to meat, no matter where it’s coming from and how it’s been cooked. If you’re not feeling like spending time in the kitchen grilling the T-Bone steak, just assemble a charcuterie board with all your favorite cured meats and call it a day! I don’t doubt for a second Luffy would give his seal of approval!
Check Out the Japanese Food Collection At Yummy Bazaar!
If cooking isn’t really your thing, but you do still love to eat well (and would love to fill like a shounen manga protagonist for a while there - who wouldn’t), checking out Yummy Bazaar’s Japanese food collection might be the easiest way to get a taste of food from anime, without expending a lot of energy and time on your part.
We might not be hosting Sanji’s famous seafood risotto or admittedly delicious-looking Gorgonzola Penne (though we do host all the necessary ingredients to cook them!), but we do keep an excellent selection of Japanese crackers, dango, instant ramen noodles, along with other sweet and savory snacks you might’ve seen an anime character snack on - maybe not the one from One Piece, but from Naruto, or Jujutsu Kaisen, or Ghibli movies. And, trust us, not only do they look delectable when drawn by skilled animators’ hands, they taste absolutely delicious in real life too!