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Mentaiko (明太子?), Myeongranjeot (명란젓) is the marinated roe of pollock and cod, and it is a common ingredient in Japanese and Korean cuisine. Mentaiko originated from Korea, and was introduced to Japan after World War II. Toshio Kawahara (川原 俊夫 Kawahara Toshio?), who was born in the city of Busan, Korea during the Japanese occupation, adapted mentaiko to Japanese tastes in Fukuoka in 1949. The typical seasoning and flavor is different in Japan.

Mentaiko is made in a variety of flavors and colors and is available at airports and main train stations. It is usually eaten with onigiri, but is also enjoyed by itself with sake. A common variety is spicy mentaiko (辛子明太子 karashi mentaiko?). It is a product of the Hakata ward of Fukuoka City.

Recently in Japan, mentaiko pasta has become very common and popular. Mentaiko is mixed with butter or mayonnaise and used as a sauce for spaghetti. Thin strips of Nori are often sprinkled on top.

Mentaiko was nominated as Japan's number one side dish in the Japanese weekly magazine, Shūkan Bunshun.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ahn (안), Min-jeong (민정) (May 6, 2011). 일본인 좋아하는 밥반찬에 한국의 그것? (in Korean). JPNews. Archived from the original on November 22, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Mentaiko at Wikimedia Commons