Iron Chef Japan

Season 1 Episode 8

Mango Battle

Aired Daily 11:00 PM May 08, 1998 on Fine Living

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A Latin duel: Mexican versus Italian. Whose cuisine will reign supreme?

    This is one of my favorite battles in the series. Maybe because I am from Texas and Mexican food is such a staple of my diet. It's highly amusing to watch the panelists and the commentators marvel at "exotic" ingredients like jalapeños, chipotle peppers, mango, and tortillas. For once, the show is on the other foot. Usually when watching this show, I marvel at the bizarre ingredients that my Western palette wouldn't dream of eating--but this episode has tons of food that I eat regularly, but the Japanese have never heard of.

    There two plots in this battle. One is the main stand-off, which Latin cuisine is the most intricate and flavorful? Kobe makes numerous statements that Mexican food is only about heat, and not about the subtle layering of flavor. The challenger is insistent that Mexican cuisine is the parent of all other Latin flavors. That without Mexican food, there would be no proud Italian genre. The second plot involves only the challenger. He is obviously trying to prove something to Japan--that Mexican food is delicious and worthy of its own genre. He is careful to distinguish between authentic Mexican food and the Americanized version of Mexican food: Tex-Mex.

    Overall, this is a fun battle to watch because there seems to be a genuine rivalry between the two chefs and because the dishes are surprising.