Roe – Japanese traditional Otsumami food / how Japanese people eat egg of fish roe in their food culture


Roe – Japanese traditional Otsumami food / how Japanese people eat egg of fish roe in their food culture


***Notice – you will find the photo of fish eggs below, if you are not comfortable stop reading***


In Japanese culture, as you can imagine “Sushi” as a signature dish of Japan, sea foods plays a significant role. When we look at the map of Japan you can realize Japan is entirely surrounded by sea and ocean, and the current of the sea is different to the area. In the other word, the type of sea food is very wide across Japan.

Maybe you have heard of the word “Mottainai”. This word means “try not to through away”, so from sea food Japanese people have been eating not only meat. Japanese people use skin, bone and even eggs of fish, so called [ROE].

This time, ikki delivers the information about fish of the egg roe and how Japanese people have been enjoying them in their culinary culture and also with Japanese Sake as Otsumami.


Japanese Otsumami – Roe

How many kinds of fish egg “roe” do you know? In Japan, there are varieties of roe enjoyed in their food culture. Below, you can find the kind of roe and how Japanese enjoyed.


Roe you can buy in super market

Tarakao – egg of walleye pollock

Tarako is one of the most common fish egg enjoyed in daily scene. When you go to the convenience store like Lawson, or Seven-Eleven in Japan, you must find Tarako Onigiri(rice ball). In addition, Tarako is just salted fish egg, but in North Kyushu they put green peppers when salt the eggs and it is called Mentaiko. This is also very famous and seen in Japanese daily food culture.


Ikura – egg of salmon

 Ikura is one of the most famous fish eggs and you may have seen in Sushi. Gentle touch in the mouth and unique flavor attract many Japanese consumers. Mostly Ikura is pickled in soy sauce and perfectly match with any Japanese dish.


Kazunoko – egg of herring

 Kazunoko may not be the main ingredients of the dish due to its bitterness, but very familiar. In Japanese New year, people eat Kazunoko to make a wish of the prosperity of descendants as it looks like many small eggs gathered as one.


Tobiko – egg of flying fish

 Tobiko is famous in oversea as well. You may have seen in California roles and acting great role in Sushi in foreign countries. It is mostly used for the decoration of the dish.


Roe expensive and rare

Sujiko – fish of egg of salmon

 Sujiko is egg of salmon, which is same as Ikura. Please understand Sujiko as gathered Ikura. To clarify the difference, Ikura is pickled in soy sauce in separated eggs and Sujiko is pickled with entire ovary. Time and effort are required to produce Sujiko more than Ikura so it is expensive and used in the place like fine dining.

Karasumi – egg of striped mullet

 Karasumi is salted and fermented egg of mullet. It looks like Tarako, but totally different. Karasumi is considered as Japan 3 big delicacy. It is used in Japanese dish, but sometimes it is grated like cheese and added to Pasta dish.


Takomanma – egg of octopus

 The last, Takomanma is very rare egg and it is from Octopus. As it is quite delicate and easy to go off, it is mostly enjoyed by fisherman.  


 Hope you learn!

See you in the nest article!