Food is a pretty common item in the Suikoden series. Although food is usally discovered as being dropped by enemies, at some point, a chef will be able to prepare different dishes, on demand. Food is typically better than medicine because it may restore more HP, cost less, come in larger packages, and/or add or remove status effects. Food can also sometimes be used as an offensive weapon.
In Suikoden II, Food was either dropped by an enemy, found in a chest, bought from an item shop, or from Hai Yo's Restaurant. At the restaurant, however, a menu could be made up from recipes, meat, vegetables, and seasoning.
In Suikoden III, a similar system was utilized, with the chef, Mamie. It had less recipes, and no requirement for ingredients (meat or vegetables).
In Suikoden IV, there was no chef or recipes. Food was either bought from special food stores, found in chests, or obtained from enemies when a character with the Cook Ability, was in the party.
Suikoden V brought back ingredients (meat, vegetables), without the recipes. Whenever the proper amount of fish and veggies were present, and some time had passed, chef Retso would automatically add a new food item to the restaurant menu. Food items are also found in chests or dropped by enemies (increased probability with the Cook Ability).