Renee 'Nay' Favreau wanted to be a respected chef with a renowned Taco Truck. Maybe even two or three trucks if she became successful, so she could truly cover Los Angeles.
But after a deadly encounter with an interdimensional spider, she finds herself in a dangerous new world full of magic and mayhem.
Discovering she has the power to become a coveted Epicurist for the cultivators known as Marrow Eaters, one of the special chefs with the ability to prepare the magical meals that give the Eaters their powers, she must navigate a world full of gods and monsters if she wants to survive the heat.
Release schedule is 5 chapters per week. Monday - Friday.
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This story is the best new release I have seen this year. I'm confident in saying that anyone not reading this is missing out on something huge.
Despite being an Isekai, the initial setting is quite relevant to the story. Usually, a person attacked in an alleyway by an eldritch monster would stay clear of that area for the rest of their life. However, Nay is first and foremost a chef, so when the tentacle-meat burritos become an instant sensation, it fell upon her to source more. How could she expect to come across a portal to another world?
In terms of genre, this story is a mishmash of eldritch nightmares, slice-of-life banter, LitRPG progression, and magic fantasy. Apparently, you gain power by eating special food, called delicacies, and these delecacies can be specially prepared for increased effect. I have a feeling that her being a chef will become very useful in the near future.
Subcategory Justifications :
Style : Wonderfully chaotic, concise yet detailed. The author's unique writing style is truly a breath of fresh air, and is in my opinion the glue that makes this so wonderful, it makes the individually great elements fuse together naturally.
Story : Thus far, the plot is simple enough. Survive, and follow the system-issued quests. Information about the setting and situation is being revealed at a steady pace, allowing for plot points to occur with a natural feel.
Grammar : I saw no errors in grammar or spelling, formatting and syntax are great.
Character : Characters are developed extremely well, and feel realistically multidimensional. I'm enjoying the dyanmic between Nay and Nom, it's a perfect combination of weird and wholesome.
This story is giving me all the asmr vibes! I am so into it. What was the deal with the spider? And holy tentacle burrito Batman!
The style is immersive and you can tell the writer has a clear voice. He writes with delicious descriptors that makes me super hungry.
The story has just started but I'm already invested in where it is going. What is going to happen next? This seems like it is going to be a bingeable read. I was pretty much hooked from the first sentence which is a great sign of the tale ahead.
Grammar is better than this review haha but in all seriousness you can tell the writer is well trained in the craft and that nothing is placed in the story without thought and care.
Still getting to know the main character but I like what I see. I'm invested in her struggle and so curious to see what is going to happen. I like the spite and grit we've seen of her. What is going to become of Nay?
I am on the edge of the seat with this cliffhanger. And can not recommend reading this story enough. I hope the asmr vibes continue. Please give us more of this delectable read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This fiction is really splendid so far - an isekai where the background is actually relevant! A LitRPG where the upgrades are earned the hard way! A progression fantasy where progress has much more to do with character and skill than "his axe swings harder, harder than ever before"!
Characters are great so far, you can tell the author has done time in the service industry, or really done their research. Nom, the multiverse's best sous-chef/side-kick/coke-fiend, really steals the show sometimes.
Really enjoying this one, keep it up!
The grammar is nigh flawless with flowing sentences that don't feel horrible to understand.
The characters are well thought out and don't feel like cardboard cutouts.
The world is well founded and while there isn't much now I guess that we will learn more the longer the book goes on.
There aren't many, if any at all, info-dumps and the potential ones that exist are so small that they flow into conversation well.
The book is good and is worth a read
Food is good. Cultivation is good. Cooking is good. Systems are good (but rarely in my opinion). Magic is good. A chef with a cultivation system that cook up magic food? That's better than good. That's great. That's this story.
The grammer: Perfect. The words fly off the page and right into your mind stomach. No grammar or spelling indigestion whatsoever. 5 out of 5.
The plot: It feels like an actual adventure with recipes mixed in. The cooking aspect reminds me of Morcster Chef and I'm all for that. My two complaints are that it feels like the plot should have had more system or power aquirement-wise instead of the slower yet more world building oriented style that I've seen, and makes me confused as to why a different and magical dimension has the same kind of vegetables, meats, and other ingredients that are exactly the same as on Earth. That doesn't make any sense. 3.5 out of 5.
The characters: I love them all. Especially the tentacle! Every single character feels interesting yet fleshed out. Even the ones that were only described in a paragraph or two. Those paragraphs tell you all you need to know about them without getting overly wordy. 4.5 out of 5.
The System: Bare bones system, but done in a easy to understand food oriented way which I find quite unique. It reminds me of the anime Toriko where special and dangerous foods can be power boosting if prepared by the right chef. In this case the system helps the main character become that chef while still making her question why she has it in the first place. 5 out of 5.
The combat: Meaty. Brutal. Descriptive! There isn't very much combat so far but the combat that you do get to experience wets your appetite and leaves you hungry for more. 4.7 out of 5.
Final review score: This is a story that makes me hungry for good food AND more chapters. 4.5 out of 5.
I won't lie, when I saw that the novel had cooking to do with it, I was about to immediately pass over and look for another novel to read. However, I also saw the gore and horror tag under it and was like, "you know what? This might actually be interesting." Lo and behold it really is.
The main character had a cool head, but like any humans, have their small nitty flaws, even then I can agree with their small emotional outbursts. Plus, the side characters are amazing. I came to care and understand more about tentacle San and those working with the main character. The main character isn't strong as of yet and those around her are at an reasonable strength level where they can help her, but not overly where she grows too dependent and lose character growth. Overall, I really love this novel and can't wait to see more future chapters. As these past months, new novels with quality work and imagination have been incredibly rare.
Before I started Monster Menu, I was pretty confident that I'd go my whole life without getting my stomach in a tizzy thinking about monster meat tacos. I don't even like octopus; a tentacle from another world should be out of the question. And yet...
The way the author describes food is just so incredibly tantalizing without ever becoming over-descriptive or melodramatic. It's get you out of bed at midnight to grill cheese level appetizing. (True story.) I didn't think Food Wars would ever be knocked from its perch atop my personal ranking of food-based stories, but this one just might do it. Can't wait to see how it turns out. I highly recommend sitting down with something tasty to munch so you can eat along with Nay and Nom as you read. It's a whole experience.
Now I know, this isn't an advanced review.
Mostly because the story hasn't progressed far enough for me to get a REAL taste. But from the point I am at, I can say that this story does most things right, while the bad things are pretty much only noticeable if you're actively looking for them, except for maybe one, which is only noticeable because I've seen it in 60 different stories so cut me some slack for not even wanting to nitpick something minor.
Now I am turned down by anything that says Cultivator anywhere near it's description, so I'll say that for now, cultivator is very much synonymous as leveling up, with some extra conditions thrown into the mix. Was that a tautology? Maybe.
Anyways. I like the premise, I like the execution, I believe that this has some standard ingredients mixed with some more exotic ones and yet the food isn't overseasoned in any way.
I am happy to stick with this one.
5/5 Full score as a recommendation until it's fleshed out enough for a advanced review.
(Now don't think I haven't noticed what you're doing. Because I am.)
I wandered into this one by complete accident, and am quite happy I did. It's entertaining, with a solid grasp of world building. I'm also really partial to Nom, the extra dimensional horror sous chef. So far it's hitting all the right notes for a good story. I'm excited as to where it could lead.
So, this story is basically all about food in some way, the Main character being a cook, the entire system being an ingenious way to make a system based on food somehow, food cultivation yep, the plot also being about food in some way, all together its rather impressive that the author managed to write a coherent story thats basically all about food, even the damn politics look like they will be food related in some way. Its all just wonderfully done!
As said initially, the MC is a cook, one who finds herself in a new world after an incident with some alien thing invading her world and attacking her. Her main goal is surviving all this strange world throws at her, often in an ingenious or lucky way, and sometimes involving food in some way! She's one jolly fun character to read about, who so far mostly got dragged from situation to situation by things out of her control, though things seem like they are improving!
Writing is excellent here, no complaints with that, its all easy to read for me, and neither does the author go overboard with the food descriptions, even if it does come close at times!
I can imagine some readers being already rather familiar with cooking stories, and mostly the manga kind with all their food descriptions that can make one drool, this story is basically just like that, but with more action and adventure mixed in to make it not boring or one toned.
This story somehow works, with all those elements & genres smashed together into one chaotic story that feels like a trip at times, it can quickly switch from horror to slice of life to comedy and back and it works, i have to applaud the author for making this story coherent somehow.
Currently as things stand, i highly recommend this uniquely tasty story, if it keeps like this its gonna be something special, and urge people interested to read it to not miss out on this experience!
Oh and dont forget to eat something after reading this, you'll probably need it with all the food this story contains!