What is Mentai Flavor of Umaibo Corn Puff Snack Bar?
“Umaibo (うまい棒)” is a Japanese corn puff snack bar of which there are a lot of fans in and outside Japan.
The first flavor of Umaibo went on the market in 1979, and now the cylindrical snack bar comes in many flavors, including locally limited ones.
Since the price of 10 yen (about 0.1 USD) has never been changed since its release, the puffed snack has been widely loved by Japanese children for decades.
According to the official website of Umaibo, currently there are 15 regular flavors in the series.
Umaibo Mentai (うまい棒 めんたい)
Among those, Umaibo “Mentai (めんたい)” is one of the most beloved flavors and if there is a popularity contest of the flavors of Umaibo, the Mentai flavor is every time ranked high.
What is Mentai Flavor?
However, it seems that many people wonder “What is the Mentai flavor?”
About this flavor, Umaibo’s official website says that Umaibo Mentai is a corn puff snack bar that recreates the taste of spicy Mentai.
Actually, spicy Mentai is known as “Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)” in Japan.
Karashi Mentaiko (辛子明太子)
Karashi Mentaiko is known as a specialty of Fukuoka Prefecture and made by pickling walleye pollack roe in a liquid seasoning containing red chili pepper.
Karashi Mentaiko is characterized by its distinctive salty, spicy flavor and we Japanese like eating the spicy walleye pollack roe with plain white rice at meals.
The Taste of Umaibo Mentai Snack
In fact, I think this Mentai-flavored snack of Umaibo has a taste like Karashi Mentaiko. It is not so salty but really savory and slightly spicy.
The Ingredients of Umaibo Mentai Snack
Finally, I checked what ingredients are included in the snack of Umaibo Mentai.
Based on the ingredient list on the package, the snack of Umaibo Mentai mainly consists of Non-GMO corn, vegetable fat and oil, sugar, paprika, spices, breadcrumbs, salt, amino acid, and seasoning powder containing walleye pollack.
From the above, Umaibo Mentai doesn’t contain actual Karashi Mentaiko itself. Instead, I think that the snack recreates the taste of Karashi Mentaiko mainly using walleye pollack seasoning powder, spices and salt.