While the stakes that we see in Shin Chuuka Ichiban! may be a bit high as Mao continues his travels after the Guangzhou Special Chef Trials of the previous series since the story sincerely makes us believe that the best cook in China will be even more powerful than the Emperor, the idea of competing chefs is not that far fetched. After all, we love food and different countries have different chefs. We all love seeing cooking competitions in real life and the ones in anime are as savage—and tasty,—as the real deal. So here are 6 other series that will feed your appetite for cooking anime… and may make you hungry for more.
Similar Anime to Shin Chuuka Ichiban!
1. Yakitate!! Japan
- Episodes: 69
- Aired: October 2004 – March 2006
When he was six years old, Azuma Kazuma followed his grandfather’s example and thought that he only needed rice, natto, and miso soup for breakfast and wouldn’t even consider having bread at the table. But his sister, tired of the same food every day, took him to a bread store and showed him how delicious bread could be. From that moment on, Kazuma decided he wanted to make the most perfect bread, one that was uniquely Japanese and could also compete with bread all over the world. To reach his goal, he has to go to Tokyo at sixteen to try to get a spot in the most prestigious bakery in Japan, but he has an ace up his sleeve: his "Hands of the Sun", which are warmer than average and thus perfect to make delicious bread.
While Yakitate!! Japan is first a comedy, it has a lot in common with the way Shin Chuuka Ichiban treats the subject of food preparation. Both series show how the animation team did research before showing off new dishes, and while once Yakitate!! Japan starts the competition arc things go off the rails fast with very comedic and exaggerated reactions, the preparation of the bread that Kazuma makes is realistic enough, just as the food that Mao learns to prepare. Like sweet bread, Yakitate!! Japan may not be a daily food, but it’s a delicious treat for a weekend.
2. Koufuku Graffiti (Gourmet Girl Graffiti)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2015 - March 2015
Ryou Machiko is a superb cook, for a middle school student. She has dedicated herself to the kitchen since she was a little girl because her grandmother always told her that the first step to being an excellent wife was to be an amazing cook. However, she seems to have hit a snag in her plans: Ryou’s cooking always looks great and smells appetizing, but the taste seems to be a bit off. Just as Ryou starts thinking she’s doomed to be single forever, her cousin Kirin Morino comes to live with her to study at the same school. And as she starts cooking for someone else, Ryou discovers the ingredient that was missing from her meals.
While Koufuku Graffiti doesn’t have the same competitive streak as Shin Chuuka Ichiban, both series share the deep familial connection that comes from old recipes and sharing meals. There’s also the sense of urgency to become a better cook in both scenarios: Mao needs to become a Master Chef to reopen his family’s restaurant and continue his mother’s legacy, while Ryou is utterly convinced that if she’s not the best cook, she’ll die alone and miserable. These two different takes on improving your cooking and comparing it to other people’s food are quite interesting on their own and Koufuku Graffiti can be a nice dessert after all the shounen cooking anime on the list.
Gourmet Girl Graffiti Trailer
3. Isekai Shokudou (Restaurant to Another World)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2017 – September 2017
If you are a wandering hero in an epic quest or a magical creature who has been out in the woods for a long time, you are bound to get hungry. And if it’s a Saturday, you are lucky as it’s the only day of the week in which the Restaurant Nekoya opens its doors to every world but our own. The rest of the week, humans from Tokyo fill its tables, but on Saturday, their clientele ranges from medieval guards to dragons, to every kind of magical creature and they all get to taste some amazing meals from both Western and Japanese cuisine.
Just as Shin Chuuka Ichiban follows Mao and his friends as they discover new dishes and the different ways food can bring joy to people, the staff of Nekoya helps a lot of different creatures to survive, find the drive to keep on living or remember better times in their lives through different dishes while also telling quite epic short stories. While Shin Chuuka Ichiban can be a full meal of cooking adventures, consider Isekai Shokudou as an appetizer to whet your appetite for much more.
Restaurant to Another World Trailer
Any Anime Like Shin Chuuka Ichiban!?
4. Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness & Lightning)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2019 – September 2019
Being a single father is not easy. Kouhei Inuzuka knows this first hand as, since the death of his wife, he has to balance his job and taking care of his five-year-old daughter, Tsumugi. The little girl has all his love and attention, but unfortunately, he is not very good in the kitchen, so the Inuzukas’ meals are usually take-out from fast food restaurants which is not exactly healthy. One of his students, Kotori Ida, finds out and offers to cook for them a nice dinner at her family’s restaurant. As the restaurant is often closed because Ida’s mom is away traveling, Kotori convinces Kouhei to come every night to share good homemade food with her and Tsumugi.
While Amaama to Inazuma is not a competitive cooking show, nor an epic adventure as the heroes travel from exotic place to exotic place in search for new dishes, this series shares the core subject of Shin Chuuka Ichiban!: The importance of food in a family’s relationship. While Kouhei and Tsumugi’s relationship is not strained at the beginning, as Tsumugi loves her dad, it’s when Kotori joins them and they can have family dinners that we see the girl shine. There's also how food— homemade in particular—connects the main characters with their missing moms and how Kouhei really wants to learn to cook for his daughter. Overall, Amaama to Inazuma is like a sweet fruit side dish to accompany the main dish that is Shin Chuuka Ichiban!
Sweetness and Lightning Trailer
5. Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2015 – September 2015
Although anyone can learn to cook in their own kitchen with a recipe book, if you want to be a chef, you need to go to school. And if you want to be the best chef in Japan, you need to attend the Tootsuki Culinary Academy and be one of the 10% that manages to graduate. Souma Yukihira wasn’t planning on going there, he was the sous chef at his father’s restaurant and so he was learning on the job and was sure that he’d inherit the place and become head chef. But when his father closes the restaurant to work in New York city, he enrolls Souma in Tootsuki Academy, where he’ll face other students in the Shokugeki, or Food Wars, where they will know if they can really make the cut.
For many fans, Shougeki no Souma is the ultimate cooking competition anime and there's a good reason for that. The dishes they cook are amazing and the stakes are really high for the characters without going into unrealistic territory. After all, a school that is so strict that only a handful of hopefuls manage to graduate with top honors is not that insane, and there are a lot of people who use weird ingredients and cooking devices in real-life shows. In short, Shougeki no Souma is that one special dish that you love and you keep coming back for more once you’re done.
Shokugeki no Souma PV
- Episodes: 147
- Aired: April 2011 – March 2014
Imagine a world where you can find fully prepared food coming out of the ground: Hamburgers, spaghetti, sauce that comes out of geysers, and mountains topped with ice cream. You could think that in that kind of world, cooking is unnecessary, but you'd be wrong: In fact, in this gorgeous world, it's important to find new ingredients and make the most perfect meal for everyone, which is why many gourmet hunters travel across the country to do so. Toriko is a legendary gourmet hunter who has discovered about 2% of known ingredients, and with his best friend, he’s determined to create the Full Course Menu of Life, even if it means fighting monsters to get the ingredients needed.
Toriko is a really epic adventure for everyone who loves food and cooking. While it doesn’t get as deep into the food preparation as other examples on the list, Toriko is as passionate about the subject as every other cook we’ve mentioned and his journey is not just about finding new ingredients, but also about making new friends and creating bridges through different dishes. It’s a full meal that will leave you satisfied and ready to find out new flavors once you are done.
Food is a constant in our life: No one can live without eating, and every country has their own recipes that can bring people together. There's a reason most diplomatic missions start and end with a dinner and why it's traditional to have family meals whenever there's a reason to celebrate. And while not everyone can be a four-star chef, everyone can learn to cook and have their own memories attached to different meals. This is probably why series like Shin Chuuka Ichiban and the rest of our list are so popular. We love cooking, even if we burn boiling water.
Which brings us to the following questions: Which ones are your favorite cooking shows? Have you seen the ones on our list? Or did we miss one you love? And while we're at it, which is your favorite anime-inspired dish? We can't wait to take a bite out of those! Leave your comments below.