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Mentaiko (明太子?) is the marinated roe of pollock and cod is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Mentaiko originated from Russia, and was introduced to Japan after the Russo-Japanese War. Toshio Kawahara (川原 俊夫 Kawahara Toshio?), 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) (2011-05-06). 일본인 좋아하는 밥반찬에 한국의 그것?. JPNews (in Korean). Retrieved 2011-12-08.