5 Popular Japanese Foods and Dishes with Mentaiko Roe

Today I went to a 7 eleven convenience store near my house to buy lunch, where I found a newly released Onigiri rice ball lined up on the shelf. 

I’m fond of trying new products, and I was attracted to the Onigiri and grabbed it.

The main ingredients in the Onigiri are grilled salmon and Mentaiko

The salmon flakes have just the right amount of salt, and the Mentaiko roe gives them a little bit of kick. And as a result, they are a good match for the rice.

By the way, have you ever heard of the Japanese food “Mentaiko (明太子)”? 

This time I will talk about the delicacy and introduce 5 popular foods and dishes using it that are widely enjoyed in Japan.

Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)Karashi Mentaiko

Mentaiko is a common food in Japan that many people like to eat with rice.

It is made by marinating cod roe or Alaska (walleye) pollack roe in a liquid seasoning, often with ground red peppers.

Fukuoka, especially Hakata City in the prefecture, is a famous production area of Mentaiko called “Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)“.

When Japanese people go on a sightseeing trip to the city, many of us pick up Karashi Mentaiko for a souvenir.

5 Popular Japanese Foods and Dishes with Mentaiko

The seasoned roe Mentaiko can be eaten as it is but one recommended way to enjoy it is lightly grilling it over an open flame before eating, which brings out the flavor very well.

In Japan, Mentaiko is used as the main ingredient in a wide range of foods and dishes. So last, let me introduce 5 popular Japanese foods using the roe.

Mentai Chazuke (明太茶漬け)

Mentai Chazuke

Mentaiko is often prepared for the Japanese rice bowl dish “Ochazuke (お茶漬け)” whose rice is soaked in hot green tea or soup.

The one topped with Mentaiko roe is usually called “Mentai Chazuke (明太茶漬け)” which is one of the most popular Ochazuke varieties loved by many people.

Mentaiko Spaghetti

Mentaiko Spaghetti

As preparation, we often take individual eggs out of the Mentaiko sack, for with a distinctive savory taste, the red eggs inside stand out.

There are a variety of Japanese dishes using those eggs, which include Onigiri, pasta, and salads. Among others, many of us love Mentaiko Spaghetti.

Mentaiko Kamaboko

Image: Amazon.com

Kamaboko is a traditional Japanese food made by steaming or baking “Surimi (すり身)” fish paste kneaded with sugar, salt, mirin, and egg white.

In modern times, the one flavored with Mentaiko is popular, together with Cheese Kamaboko. These flavored Kamaboko cakes go perfectly with beer.

Mentaiko Butter

Image: Amazon.com

Many bakeries in Japan sell baguettes spread with Mentaiko butter.

The bread actually pairs well with Mentaiko because when toasted, the flavor of Mentaiko is brought out. Also, the butter matches well with rice as well.

Mentaiko Sauce

Image: Amazon.com

In Japan, Mentaiko is commonly used in sauces, such as Mentaiko Mayonnaise and the Mentaiko dip above.

They go especially well with fresh vegetables, like celery sticks.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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