Spicy Mentaiko, cod ovum slowly marinated in chili pepper sauce, is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Its spicy and rich flavor goes well with rice, making it a favorite for putting inside Japanese rice balls. It also goes well with alcoholic beverages. It is a popular topping for Hakata ramen noodles, pasta and potato salad.
Fishermen in the Korean Peninsula began eating Mentaiko in the 17th to 18th century. They discovered the rich flavor of fish eggs and used salt as a preservative for them. Later on, chili was added as well to add a hot and spicy touch. This is the origin of Mentaiko.
Toshio Kawahara founded the oldest Mentaiko company “Aji no Mentaiko Fukuya” slightly modifying the original Mentaiko for mainstream appeal. Fukuya’s first sale was on January 10th, a date that has become “Mentaiko Day” on the calendar today.
Spicy Mentaiko (Karashi Mentaiko) is very popular throughout Japan, and easy to buy. Fukuoka Mentaiko is known for its high quality and incredible freshness, and is considered to be the top of the class. You can also find Mentaiko with just eggs and no skin in a tube, which makes it easy to keep it in your refrigerator and eat with crackers and cream cheese, with a tint of black pepper and lemon juice. It also goes nicely with French baguette, along with butter or mayonnaise. Mentaiko products are very popular souvenirs from Fukuoka. Tourists often buy packages of dried Mentaiko and Mentaiko pasta sauce. Local Mentaiko factories also accept tours and offer visitors the chance to marinate hot and spicy sauce themselves.
Photo by Fukuoka City
JR Hakata station Hakata DEITOS
1-1 Hakataekichuogai Hakata-ku Fukuoka-shi Fukuoka-ken
Fukuoka City Office
1-8-1 Tenjin Chuo-ku Fukuoka-shi Fukuoka-ken