If you want to start learning about Japanese food art, watching Japanese cooking shows is a good way to understand and appreciate the art of cooking. The Japanese cooking style is famous for its elegant and detailed preparation. Each dish requires the close attention of the cook. Because, according to Japanese people, every dish is an art. Some recipes do not require many ingredients. However, the cooking step and presentation are the most important. Japanese food culture is so unique and enjoyable.
Japanese Cooking Shows on Netflix
1. Midnight Diner-Tokyo Stories
Midnight Diner is a cooking show from Japan about a restaurant in a hectic area of Tokyo. The restaurant opens at midnight. In contrast to usual restaurants, the restaurant’s chef, mainly known as “The Master,” includes four simple dishes: pork and vegetable noodle soup, beer, and sake. However, based on the requirements of the guests, the Master can create any delicious recipe for his customers. Sometimes the guests bring the ingredients themselves.
Each episode is about customers, including salarymen, prostitutes, and even yakuza gangsters, as The Master will cook a specific dish as requested by the guests. It is a feast table for the cooking enthusiast to learn new recipes.
As the show focuses on cooking, you can see The Master preparing the main dish. Usually, the food he cooks for the guests involves the story behind it and is the favorite dish of the episode’s featured character. The show usually ends with a philosophical life lesson from the featured character’s story.
Midnight Diner is one of the well-known Japanese cooking shows from which many spin-offs have been created in other countries, such as South Korea’s Late-Night Restaurant and China’s Midnight Diner.
2. Samurai Gourmet
Japan is famous for its samurai history. In Samurai Gourmet, the brave and courageous samurai are presented in a relaxed and funny way. A retired salary man, Takeshi Kasumi finds his happiness in exploring food haunts in his neighborhood. However, he does not eat alone, accompanied by a wandering samurai who appears in his awareness. Thanks to the Wandering Samurai, Takeshi Kasumi is eager to try new experiences and food he hasn’t eaten.
This cooking show from Japan is not mainly about the food. It provides a means of overcoming anxiety and self-consciousness. In the first episode, Takeshi Kasumi is shy about drinking a beer on a weekday. However, Wandering Samurai would do it. He follows his make-believe idol and gains his courage as a true samurai.
3. Kantaro The Sweet Tooth Salaryman
One of the Japanese cooking shows, contributing to the sweet desserts, is Kantaro the Sweet Tooth Salaryman. The show is about the gourmet adventures of a salaryman. However, in his middle age, the lead character, Kantaro Ametani, has a sweet tooth, even though no one could believe it due to his grave, focused, hardworking personality. He is a salesman at a publishing house who quit his former job so that he would have more time to explore the sweet shops and review them on his dessert blog.
Who could believe that a reliable and efficient man at work is also the person who can sneak out to various dessert shops in Tokyo?
Although the show is fiction, the locations and the stores are authentic. Therefore, you can put it on your list if you visit Tokyo in the future and try out Kantaro’s endorsement.
4. The Final Table (Japanese episode)
If you like cooking competitions, this is the Japanese chef cooking show for you!
The Final Table is an American cooking competition show that puts international teams of professional chefs against each other.
Japanese cuisine is featured in episode eight, where the chefs prepare kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) for the judges, featuring Japanese model Hikari Mori, comedian Yuji Ayabe, and food writer Akiko Katayama.
This competition show has a second round, The Final Plate Challenge, where a chef selects a secret ingredient and the teams have to make the best creations. In this episode, the Final Plate Challenge includes chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, the chef of the two-Michelin-starred Les Créations de Narisawa in Tokyo. Which ingredient does he choose for the show? Watch it to see how each team highlights the dishes!
Other Japanese cooking shows inspire you to try Japanese cuisine
5. The Solitary Gourmet (Kodoku no Guru)
Eating lonely is an eating culture in Japan. It is not surprising if you see many people eating alone in restaurants. Gorō Inogashira (played by Yutaka Matsushige) is an example. Gorō Inogashira loves eating alone. The viewers follow a man who is a middle-aged salesman. Every day, he communicates with different people about the trouble situations, such as renting a new office or meeting with an over-talkative woman who wants to buy teacups. But after 10 minutes of his daily life, the rest of the show devotes to the delicious foods and his thoughts as he eats alone.
The remark of the show is not about the food, but it is his expressions while he eats. Looking at his face, viewers can see the satisfaction that the food has served him.
The series is based on the manga created by Masayuki Qusumi, the same one who made Samurai Gourmet and Sunshine Sento-Sake. Remarkably, at the end of each episode, Qusumi visits the real-world restaurant that Gorō ate in the show and enjoys the same meal.
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If The Solitary Gourmet (Kodoku no Guru) is one of the Japanese cooking shows calling you to dine alone, Wakakozake is for the fan of eating and drinking alone. Wakako (played by Rina Takeda) is a 26-year-old office worker. After working, she likes drinking and eating alone. Like Gorō, the content follows the storyline and the focus is not all about the food. Wakako is a woman who enjoys selecting the right sake to combine with the salted grilled salmon. Wakako also enjoys the time at home, where she cooks for herself.
Wakakozake is a show where you can enjoy eating and drinking after a working day. This show is about the daily life of usual office workers interested in eating and drinking. In one episode, Wakako thinks, “I like liquor not because it makes me forget, but because it makes me notice.” It’s about taking time and appreciating the small pleasures in life.
7. Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san)
Ramen lovers can’t miss this show. Koizumi (played by Akari Hayami) is a transfer high-school student who catches the attention of her classmate Yū due to her beauty. Yū wants to become a friend of Koizumi. Unfortunately, her love for ramen is more prominent than making friends.
Koizumi is a master of ramen-eating techniques. She impresses the group of men while eating her ramen bowl. The show attracts the viewers through the seriousness of Koizumi before eating the ramen, cracking her wrist, and tying back her hair. She also inspires the watchers with her exhaustive knowledge about ramen, from the difference in regional style to the unexpected method for making instant ramen as good as traditional ramen restaurants or her research of the best ramen restaurants.
The show highlights the ramen in a fascinating approach that makes you want to eat ramen while enjoying the series. Moreover, the information about ramen in this series is as impressive as Koizumi’s expression for ramen.
Japanese food culture is about traditions and etiquette. The attitude of Japanese people toward the food is a noticeable element that makes Japanese cooking shows appealing. There are many movies where you can learn more about the food and the respect of Japanese for the food and ingredients. Besides delicious dishes, Japanese shows are delightful due to the meaningful stories behind each movie. Follow Thecookingmovie for more food movies and shows.