Warning: The following contains spoilers for Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Sanji Chapter 5, "Crooked Cooks, Soba Salvation," by Eiichiro Oda, Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki, Yuki Morisaki, Adrienne Beck and Sara Linsley available in English on Viz Media and Manga Plus.
The creators of Food Wars! are back with another serving of Shokugeki no Sanji. Starting as a one-shot crossover manga highlighting events in One Piece where the Straw Hats' cook would shine the most, the series is now on its fifth installment. Chapter 5 brings fans back to the start of the "Wano Country" Arc, when the Straw Hats were still finalizing their disguises.
The Straw Hat Pirates separated after arriving in Wano in order to recruit forces and meet up with their crew members. In order to blend in with the locals and hide from Kaido's sight, they assumed different personas and accepted different jobs. Naturally, their chef started a food stall in the hopes of inviting samurai customers to join their cause. The plan took a weird turn when his stall ended up having a long line of purely female customers, and One Piece didn't provide any explanation as to how this happened.
Chapter 5 starts with Usopp and Sanji discussing their options as they try to figure out what Sanji would be selling. That's when they encountered a bustling soba shop. Usopp himself got a taste of the shop's delicacy, but Sanji noticed something off about their operation. He realized that the shop owner was conning poorer customers by selling them poor-quality noodles while still charging a full price for it. This urged the Straw Hat to confront the owner and challenge him to a cook-off. The deciding factor of their showdown was the two shops' profits after a three-hour mark.
Sanji and Usopp immediately sprung to action and informed Franky, Brook and Robin about their situation. The shipwright quickly made him a cart, but they soon learned that Haraguroya already monopolized the supply of the best-quality buckwheat flour. That's when the series pulls out a classic Food Wars! trope -- improvisation. Being reminded of the harsh seas of Wano, which they had to brave because of Luffy's gluttony, Sanji leveled up his dish with lemon and koi-based broth.
Sanji's unorthodox soba caused a familiar overreaction, piquing the observers' interests. Naturally, orders piled up and Sanji won the duel. However, the bigger twist came when Haraguroya's owner heard Usopp calling Sanji. It turned out that Sanji's old wanted poster washed ashore on Wano's beach. Piecing together bits of rumors, he somehow came to the conclusion that Sanji was the head chef of a pirate crew with millions of members. This led the soba store owner to idolize him as another member of the food business. Realizing this, the enamored man willingly accepted his defeat.
Shokugeki no Sanji finally unveils the mystery behind Sanji's all-female customer base. Unfortunately for Sanji, it's not just because of his looks and charismatic, gentleman appeal. The reason is much simpler. It's just because male samurai are too impatient to queue for his soba. In their defense, the line was very long.