This anime traces the path of up and coming young cook, Mao in 19th Century China on his road to 'Special Grade' Cook and his journeys in search of the 'Legendary Cooking Utensils'. Ju Xia Lou is a restaurant in the southwest region of China in the 19th century. After the death of Pai, the owner of the restaurant, his daughter Karin and her brother Mao help to run the restaurant. One day, Mao and another cook, Shao An who was Pai's understudy, confront each other for the position of head cook. The solution? A 'cook-off'.
While Fei and his team are working away cooking, Mao is still thinking of what to cook, with his friends anxiously waiting. Finally, after observing the king for a little, he comes up with a 'theme' and they start cooking. After a lot of rushing and hurrying, they finally finish their 100 dishes just in time. Fei presents his neo Man Han Banquet, and the king takes one spoon out of each of the 100 dishes and says that he's full (implying that Mao's dishes are rejected). However, after some begging from Mao, the king decides that he will try one dish. After that, he became crazy, and started eating more and more until he finished all 100 dishes! So he askes Mao the secret behind his dishes, and Mao said that he had observed that the king had small wrists and oily skin and the theme of his food was to be healthy and fresh. Then the king declares that Mao has won, and Mao says that he doesn't want to take the job, instead travel to find the remaining cooking utensils. He then askes Fei to come along, and Fei tells them why he joined the UCS. So they set off to look for the remaining 5 cooking utensils.
Leon breaks open the seal of the Northern Wolf knife, and it turns out to be a knife that has a blade made completely out of ice! A story is told of how the knife was made. Leon and Mao each take a half of the last porgy left to cook. Leon slices the meat so finely and neatly that the reflections of the judge's faces can be seen on the slices of meat. Naturally, the judges are amazed by the incredible knife skill that Leon possesses. On the other side, Mei Li, Shell and Shilou are getting extremely nervous, because Chouyu just mentioned that Mao would have a serious disadvantage. Just then, there is an explosion of some sort, and everyone turns to look at Mao. It seems that whenever he brings his knife dow n onto the meat, the meat explodes and little bits of it drop onto a plate. No one knows how Mao is managing to do it, not even Chouyu. It is then noticed that Leon is getting a severe frostbite on his hand, because of the bitter cold that the knife is producing. Leon finishes his dish just when the porgy meat is at its highest level of taste. However, the knife shatters. The dish turns out to be slices of porgy placed on a chunk of ice. The judges take a slice of porgy each and dip it in a sauce, and are instantly taken over by the wonderful taste. Late in the evening, Mao finishes his dish, the 'Resurrection Spring Rolls' . The judges are amazed that Mao managed to keep the taste of the porgy at its highest stage. Leon notices that Mao's hand has lots of burns and it is revealed that Mao had combined his two knives together to produce the exploding effect. He had placed the knife in a fire, and used the knife when it was still burning hot. The judges like both dishes tremendously, and dis cuss who should be the winner. The episode ends with Master Luo saying loudly: 'The Winner Is....'
Finally, the winner is announced. It’s Liu Mao-Hsing! The tool now has a new owner. But there’s a tradition, the tool chooses it’s owner. Chouyu explained where the legendary cooking tools are made from. The legendary chef Shuri made them from a meteorite that hit the earth hundreds of years ago. Master Luo then starts the ceremony by telling Mao that he should hold the knife, and the knife can tell if the owner is good or evil. Mao held the knife in his hands and a dragon appeared and seems to be sucked by Mao’s body, then the dragon appeared in the knife, saying that Mao is its owner after 400 years. Mao starts using the same knife on some leftover porgy that has lost its best taste. When Mao tasted the fish, he exclaims that the fish has retained its good taste. That is the secret of the knife, it returns any food into its original condition, thus the best taste. Then, Mao tells everyone that the knife has another owner and runs over to Leon. Everyone starts pointing out to Mao that Leon is from the underground and that he might attack Mao. But Mao insists, and Leon holds the knife. The dragon appeared again and went straight in Leon’s body and it appeared on the knife! Leon is an owner too! Which means, Leon is a good person. Leon starts explaining how he came upon the underworld. Four years ago, he left Yosen Shuuka to gain the ultimate knowledge in cooking, that’s why he came upon the underworld. Although he gained hardships through it, he was happy because he was cooking. But soon after, he realized the real intent of the underworld, and he began feeling scared and wanted to get out. He escaped, and he vowed to crush the underworld by obtaining the legendary cooking tools. After everything is cleared, they were now having a great feast where Mao and Leon will use the legendary cooking tool in cooking. While Mao was cooking his spring rolls, Shell wonders who really stole h
The Yosan Shuka group composed of Mao, Leon, Shell, Shilou, and Mei Li are off to their first destination in search of the legendary cooking tools - Shanghai. There they are reunited with Sanche, an old friend who is now the head of their family restaurant. However, the happiness ends soon when the team finds out that the Underworld has already reached Shanghai. They declare war on Mao and his team-mates and takes Sanche’s father and the other elders of the Shanghai Cooking Union as hostages. The Underworld asked for four chefs who will compete with them. The price for the challenge is the map indicating the location of the legendary cooking tools. The team then agreed to compete. They were blindfolded as they were transported to the “Lou Lin Vessel” - a large cooking arena built by the underworld.
Mao’s group has arrived at the Lou Lin Vessel, a large cooking arena inside a huge boat. The underworld announces that the competition will be a Banquet Cooking Battle with four categories. The team that won in most rounds will win. The price will be the map that shows the location of the legendary cooking tools. The first category is soup. It is Sanche’s turn and he is going to compete with Rouko - the underworld cook with a mechanical hand. Before the competition was started, Sanche was surprised when he finds out that the judges are the leaders of the different guilds in Shanghai. Rouko uses a whole chicken for his soup. He has a minor advantage because the broth that he will use was prepared even before Mao’s team arrived. When the judges tasted his soup they were very delighted and said that the soup is delicious. It is Sanche’s turn to present his soup. Everyone was surprised to see that Sanche is holding a glowing melon bowl.
Rouko was angry when Sanche showed that a melon couldn’t be a soup. But Sanche replied that it is a soup, and it’s his special: the bouncing snapping turtle soup. Sanche served the soup and Mei Li helped him. But when she laid down the melon, the cover fell off, but the soup didn’t spill! Then, when one judge tried to get soup, and the spoon bounced off. They were saying that the soup is solid and wonders if the dish Sanche prepared is really a soup. Sanche explained that his soup is congealed food. Rouko then announced that his soup wouldn’t do, because a soup is a dish upon itself and not a part of the cuisine. He also told Sanche that the judges look unsatisfied. It is now time to vote. The judges should raise the white spoon for Rouko and the red spoon for Sanche. Each one of them raised the red spoon! Sanche was very happy, but Rouko demanded an explanation. Mao explained that it’s a banquet cooking battle, and although soup is supposed to be delicious, it is also a dish that continues to the next. Rouko’s dish is too heavy and you can’t continue to eat anymore. As comparison, Rouko’s soup has many leftovers as compared to Sanche’s, which are all empty. Then, two guys grabbed Rouko’s arms, and the woman says that it’s shameful to lose to an outside chef, and he is branded with the symbol of distaste. (The same process how they brand cattle). The second round is announced, and it is dim sum, and Shell decides to fight. It’s going to be the old man. Leon recognized the emblem on the old man’s stick, saying it’s the Hakura emblem, the family that once calmed a raging river by offering dim sum. Shell said that the lineage died, the last would be Lakon, the dim sum king. Shell then realized that the old man is Lakon himself! Dim sum has many varieties, and a spinning wheel is pulled out to choose the category. Shell was allowed to choose, with Lakon saying that he should choose the one’s he best with. Shell wanted to f
In this episode, King Lakon prepares the Spirit Calming Buns of the Hakura Family. The bun’s secret ingredient was a piece of 1600 year old ‘lao mien’, a piece of fermented dough passed on from his ancestors (apparently the older the better). The 8 types of buns altogether: all of them first rate seafood which includes shark’s fin, abalone, lobster and sea cucumber, served in a bamboo boat. Method of preparation: Clay pots. The judges give the dish a thumbs up. While Lakon cooked up his dish using the traditional methods passed on for generations, Steel Stick Shell used his own creativity to cook up: Fried Laughing Buns. Even King Lakon was shocked when it laughed in his hand. Secret ingredients: diced steak (not minced) and vermicelli (to retain the juices during frying). Secret method: To make the buns laugh, Shell made a slit on each bun. While frying, the oil will rush in and cook the insides. However, the slit will be sealed trapping the juices inside. Once taken out of the fryer, the pressure inside the bun will reopen the slit and the air coming out of it creates the laughing effect. The judges loved the buns, delicious and fun. Now comes the judgement: the judges were told to raise a red spoon for Shell and a white spoon for King Lakon. It ends with a cliffhanger: None of them lifted their red spoons when asked to do so!
Now that none of them lifted the red spoons for Shell, they were asked to lift the white spoons for King Lakon. Surprise, surprise! The result of the battle is: A DRAW. The judges could not decide which is better and agreed that both were evenly matched. After hearing the judgement, both Steel Stick Shell and King Lakon gets into a heated argument on whose dish is better. After trading blows, they dropped to the ground and exploded with laughter. Actually, they both admired each other’s cooking very much. King Lakon realized his mistake in joining the Underworld and wanted to leave to go on a learning expedition across China (just like Shell did). He told Shell to be prepared to face him again in 10 years time after his expedition and started to walk away. However, Mysterious Shan from the Underworld tried to assassinate King Lakon as he leaves but she was foiled by Shell’s Steel Stick. King Lakon then disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Then it echoed in the room: Shell, we shall meet again in 10 years time.
Matchup no. 3 involves Leon and Shan from the Underworld. The chosen ingredient is crab. What follows is demonstration of each other’s abilities. Leon demonstrates his cutting skills by fishing out a giant squid and cutting it into giant squid sashimi on the judges table. Shan fished out a beluga whale, cut it up to remove the caviar and seal it up again. Soon, the beluga whale was swimming as if nothing happened. Only tool is capable of doing the feat: the Seven Star Knives. How could Shan have in her possession another set of Seven Star Knives? Shan then says to Leon: You will pay for your sins. Leon looks very disturbed. Shan knew something that Leon has done and regretted ever since.
Finally, Leon decides to come clean. Leon had killed the blacksmith that made those knives, after he said that he would make better set of knives than the Seven Stars Knives. Knowing that he cannot let that happen, he stabbed the blacksmith and pushed him off the cliff. When he finally come to his senses, he deeply regrets his actions. His mistake was to tell the elders in the Underworld about the incident. After encouragement from Mao, he starts in making his dish. Special skills: Removing meat from crabs with knives (picks even the leg clean). Special ingredients: Crab shell (when he picked the crabs, picked the small, inferior ones. The crab meat is stuffed into the shells, and when deep fried, the crispy shell can be eaten). While Leon was busy with his dish, Shan lazed around and even mingled with the judges. Her dish was a bowl of soup and crab omelet. Then it was tasting time. Shan went first. The judges were not thrilled with her entry. It was a normal fare. However, when the judges tasted Leon’s stuffed crispy crab shells, they spat out the crab while saying that it was the most disgusting thing they have tasted. How could it be? Everyone was surprised. Was it sabotage? But how?
The judges awarded the verdict in favor of Shan. However, Mao finally figures it out. It was Shan’s soup. Shan’s soup was rich in crab taste. Since the judges tasted the soup first, Leon’s fried crab shells tasted disgusting (all they could taste was oily batter). Although the truth was exposed, it was too late. The judges decision was final. Shan took the advantage to further weaken Leon’s spirit, saying that he was not the true owner of the Seven Star Knives. The vulnerable Leon crumbles to the ground dropping his knives. While Shan tried to reach for them, Shell interfered with the TRUTH! The only reason why Shan had her set of Seven Star Knives was that she found it out from the blacksmith. But didn’t Leon kill him? Apparently, he survived the wounds and the fall. Shan nursed him to obtain the location of the second set (all good blacksmiths keep another set of their best work as offerings to the gods). After she got them, she killed him in cold blood. Knowing the truth, Leon and Shan engaged in a fight to determine the rightful owner of the knives. In the heat of fighting, the soul of the blacksmith was released. Stating that his intention of making the knives was so that Leon can make people through his cooking, he told Leon to forget the past and that Leon was indeed the true owner of the knives. After leaving his message, Shan’s set of Seven Star Knives broke by itself, one by one. Now, there is only one set of Seven Star Knives. A victory behind a defeat indeed. The battle will now be decided in the next match.
Thanks to Shan’s trickery, now the banquet cooking competition is now tied. The results of the next dish will determine the winner. Mao finally meets his competitor: Shou An, his late mother Pai’s disciple. There is a history between the two. It was Shou An that caused Pai’s death. And Mao was the one that defeated Shou An in a Mabo Tofu competition, resulting in Shou An losing his license to cook forever. Mao was the reason that Shou An joined the Underworld! Shou An’s rise in the underworld was phenomenal, driven by his desire to defeat Mao. It was only fitting that the category for the final dish is tofu, which is Pai’s specialty, and the dish Mao defeated Shou An with. Since tofu needed time to be made, the final battle was postponed to the next morning to allow the competitors to prepare the ingredients. However, when Mao’s soy beans were being soaked, the Underworld resorted to dirty tactics. Shilou and Mei Li who were guarding the beans were knocked unconscious with needles laced with sleeping potion. In the morning, when Mao check on the beans, they were already spoilt! But Mao does not seemed concerned and said that he will make the tofu dish of the century!
Sabotaged by the Underworld, Mao had to wait for the tofu to harden. Shou An was cooking away as Mao sits besides his box, much to the disappointment of his friends. As Shou An presents his dish for the judges, Mao finally moves but takes the whole box with him, without cooking the tofu. When he emptied the contents on the table, it was layered tofu (black and white layers). Everyone was thinking how Mao could expect to win with uncooked tofu when the magic began. The tofu crumbles into small cubes that floated in the air, before settling down in a delicious sauce, just like magic. It is actually Mabo tofu. After enjoying the spectacle, the judges tasted it. The judges loved it! Secret ingredients: Black tofu (sweetened due to fermentation). The black tofu enhanced the hot taste of the sauce (even when the sauce was never heated up) and went well with the white tofu. But will it be enough to beat Shou An?
Now that the judges have savoured every bit of Mao’s tofu, Shou An’s dish is Three Harmony Tofu. Secret Ingredients: Tofu, meat-flavoured tofu strips and tofu noodles cooked together with a special sauce. The judges also finished every bit of Shou An’s dish. It appears that it is now tilting to Shou An’s advantage. As the judges emerged from a closed session, they announced the winner: Mao. What tilted the judges toward Mao’s Magic Panda Tofu was universality and originality. While the judges were split over the taste and the cooking techniques of both dishes, one of them recalls eating Shou An’s dish at Kikkaro, Pai’s restaurant some years back. Hence, Shou An stumbled upon Pai’s secret dish without realizing it! No marks for originality there! Convinced now that he has truly lost, Shou An resorts to blowing up the ship, with everyone on it!!
Shou An triggered the self-destruct mechanism and the ship begins to sink, as explosions rip through the ship and destroys all life boats. Shan runs away with the Treasure Maps and escapes through a trap door under the ship with Leon in hot pursuit. Mao and the rest tried to find their way out, along with the rest of the ship’s passengers. They had to go further up the ship to escape the fire. Coming out at the top of the ship, they noticed Shan getting away on a small boat! But all was not lost! Leon has caught up! Leon grabs the Maps from Shan and ordered her and her minion to jump ship. Leon turns his attention to the sinking ship but realizes that his small boat will not be able to save all the passengers. Luckily, a passing large ship spotted the sinking vessel and came to the rescue. As everyone flees the sinking ship. Shou An shows up to challenge Mao to a duel. Mao stayed on board despite his friends pleas. Shou An gave Mao a beating before an explosion caused him to fall into the burning flames. Mao grabbed Shou An and told him that Pai never blamed him for his actions and her dying wish was that Shou An, Mao and Mao’s sister team up to make Kikkaro the best restaurant in China. Shou An realized then that he has been wrong all along and tossed Mao a package that he said will help Mao in the future. After that, Shou An falls to his death. As the ship sinks, Leon comes to Mao’s rescue. Now that they have the Maps, they proceed to find the next cooking tool: a fossilized pot. Dragon Pot. As Mao holds the tool, the fossilized shell breaks revealing the Coiled Dragon Pot.
Now they have gotten the Coiled Dragon Pot, Mao used the pot to cooked Pai’s famous Kikka sauce using the recipe in the package given to him by Shou An in his dying moments (which was actually the second portion of Pai’s cookbook). Normally, the sauce takes months to mature but the powers of the Coiled Dragon Pot shorted the process to seconds. Bidding their farewell to Sanche, they leave Shanghai to continue their journey. They stumbled upon a group of traveling acrobats. After a night of good food and wine, they fell asleep. When they awoke, the acrobats were gone and they found themselves cornered by the local minister’s men. Shell was arrested for robbery and sentenced to death on the same evening. When Leon went to look for the real culprits, Mao devised a cunning plan to delay the execution. As the minister was going the execution, Mao cooked noodles and fanned the aroma to attract the minister (Mao found out earlier from the kitchen that the minister loved noodles). Using 100 different spices to concoct flavoured noodles and soup and using them in different combinations and small portions, it made sure that the kept the minister’s appetite in high gear. Mao calls the dish: The Chamelen Bowl Tower. When the minister finally realized something wrong, he arrests Mao. As he was executing Shell, he was interrupted. It was Shell! The person who was about to be executed was the real culprit (mistaken for Shell as he disquised himself during the robbery to frame shell). Leon had succeeded in capturing the culprits after all. It turns out that the minister was in the mastermind and executed innocent people to cover his tracks. The minister was arrested and Shell was freed.
Shilou found the other portion of the third map in the treasures stolen by the bandits. Putting the two maps together, they know the location of the third tool: Mount Jiuhua. Upon arriving there, they found the people to be wasting away, lying on the streets. They woke to the sound of the gong and everyone rushed to the temple of the Abalone Deity. They exchanged valuables for what appeared to be normal abalone soup. Curious, Mao gave all his money in exchange for the soup. The taste was fabulous and all of them were mesmerized by the taste! It was then that Mao realized that someone had used a legendary cooking tool to produce the soup: the Holy Copperware. Recognising the ‘Abalone Deity’ to be a swindler they met on the way to Mount Jiuhua, they tried to expose him. However, the Holy Copperware was indeed real despite the fect that only cooks of worthy skills can use the tool. Realising that any sort of rash action will incite the anger of the masses, they figured out another plan: to pose as Comet deities themselves.
Well Mao and his group of friends (Meiri, Siro, Shel, and Leon) arrive in a village and the village is empty because everyone is at the temple where a little man is pretending to be a God and is cooking abalone in a magical pot. Abalone usually takes hours to cook but this magical pot only takes a couple seconds to cook it, and the villagers are mistaken that the little man is a God. The little man forces the villagers to give him gold, land or properties by saying if they don't they won't get any of the Abalone which is God's food. Mao and his friends find out that the little man is a con. Mao challenges the little man to a cook off. Mao wins by pretending to be a God and getting Shel and Leon to send rice into the sky and land onto the plate next to Mao. The rice is special as it has lots of vitamins and minerals and restores the villagers to their normal selves. Mao then explains to the villagers that the little man is a con and not a God. Mao then touches the magical pot and it turns out the pot is a legendary cooking utensil.
When Meili finally comes back with the ingredients, two people has already finished the noodles and qualified (3 left!). Feiyi makes 'dragon whisker' noodles which shocks the judges and also passes (2 left!). Meanwhile Mao is still making the dough for his noodles and crushing up the secret ingredient - a rock!. A mysterious green hair woman who makes a noodle with bats and scorpians also passes the test. (1 left!). Finally Mao finishes his noodles which do not need soup. He puts his hand up to say he is finished, but another chef beats him to it (because Mao is too short!).
Mao decides to cook 'namazu noodles' (namazu is a type of fish, looks like a catfish). He quickly finishes and tells Meili to taste it. Meili rejects to the noodles finding them not fresh enough and having not enough bounce. Mao tries to find away to overcome his problem and finds it! - In octopus! Time is nearly up!
Mao arrives at Guangzhou and goes to the Yang Spring Restraunt. At first he is ignored by the master chef of the restraunt, Choyu. Mao shows him the letter of recommendation from General Lee to which Choyu becomes a bit suprised but just chucks the letter away and tells Mao to cook bakchoy (white chinese cabbage) for the chefs to eat for lunch. Mao cooks the bakchoy but the dish is turned down by all the other chefs. Later Choyu tells him that Guangzhou's water contains a lot of dirt so when Mao cooked the bakchoy all the dirt flavour went into it. Mao, being the talented cook he is immediately goes to work finding a way to get rid of the dirt taste. After just one day, Mao works out how to get rid of the dirt taste and begs Choyu to allow him to prove his skills. Mao cooks the bakchoy again, this time using an oil which prevents the cabbage from absorbing the dirt taste. Mao is congratualted by all the chefs for his smart thinking and is accepted Choyu promotes him to'fourth grade chef' for his achievement. Of course, this makes the other resident cooking master boy, Sanche, a little jealous.Watch Now:Amazon
There is only one more place left to enter the next round and somebody beats Mao in making the noodles. Luckily for Mao, the man's noodles are rejected and so Mao's noodles are tasted. Becasue Mao did not use normal water in preparing the noodles or when kneading it, the noodles were able to absorb all the ingredients which Mao had put into the noodles. Also the rock he used was a special rock which makes the noodles have a fresher taste. Mao passes the test and thinks it is over - but the real test is in the Special Grade Cooking arena inside the castle. The judges are replaced by a new judge, one of the greatest chefs in China and also a friend of Mao's mother. The dish announced is again noodles! which is a shock for Mao and the new topic is 'Not noodles'! (Of course it has to tricky! its the final test!) In the arena, the freshest ingredients from all around China are present which makes it a headache for Mao to decide what to make. Again, while the other chefs have started Mao is still thinking of what to make. Time is ticking away...