A formative food fantasy has been made real, and you can get it delivered straight to your door.

Japanese is a language of context clues, not least because its filled with homophones. Does kami mean God, paper, or hair? Is that ame hard candies or rain?

As such, the first time I heard about the dish manga niku I thought, ah, niku is definitely meat but the manga part must mean something other than comic books. Who ever heard of comic book meat?

Turns out it does mean comic book meat, and for a pretty pragmatic reason. Manga meat refers to a cartoonishly huge chunk of meat, skewered through with an unrealistically perfect and often symmetrical bone. Typically protagonists will chomp away at one in huge, gulpy bites, and the meat itself pulls away from the bone in an elastic manner. It looks delicious, but it’s very clearly not real. It’s a fantasy. Meat from the realm of comic books.

But nothing fictional can stay, and so there are plenty of real-world attempts at recreating manga meat. Our Japanese-language reporter K. Masami is currently restricting her time outside the house, and was excited to discover a Koyoto-based restaurant, Yan Pao, was offering their own brand of manga meat for home delivery.

▼ And here it is.

You can order the meat in four sizes: Meccha Grande, Grande, large, or small. Masami opted for large. It arrived in a hefty box, frozen solid for its perilous journey.

Upon opening the box, Masami was greeted with a delectable hunk of meat speared on the bone.

▼ Freshly unwrapped and ice cold.

Her latent cave-woman urges activated, she pondered the possibility of lighting a small fire on her veranda to thaw it. When she checked outside it was raining. Oh well. Gently heating it in a water bath would have to do… which happened to be the recommended method provided in the instructions.

▼ And now, to thaw it.

According to the instructions, the meat needed to be heated through in the water bath for about 25 minutes, whereupon it could be taken out and chomped on to the customer’s content. Masami could hardly wait to hold tight on both ends and gnaw away, and when it was finally clamped in her hands she took a moment to reflect on its appearance one last time.

“No mistaking it,” she thought, “this is a big hunk of mammoth.”

Then she bit down.

Ah. Pork.

What it most reminded her of was char-siu pork, the flavorful Chinese barbecue roast commonly found topping big bowls of ramen. Instead of just one slice, though, this was a veritable meat feast. Thick and many layered, it was like eating a whole bundle of pork toppings in one fell swoop.

And guess what? Masami liked that just fine. Especially since the saltiness of the pork paired excellently with her beer.

Even better than the taste was the inimitable experience of diving into a wad of meat like a feisty anime protagonist and chomping away. In tough times like this, a fun and creative meal that you don’t have to cook for yourself is a welcome respite — and well worth the 3,300 yen (US$30.45) that Masami paid to experience it.

Related: Yan Pao Manga Meat
Images: ©SoraNews24

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[ Read in Japanese ]