Kewpie Mayo Wins The Condiment Game

Apr 25, 2012 11:31 am

The Japanese, masters of mayonnaise

Squeezing a silky-soft bottle of kewpie mayo has a soothing effect on the soul.
Squeezing a silky-soft bottle of kewpie mayo has a soothing effect on the soul.
Photo: Mark Mrwizard on Flickr
Japanese mayonnaise is the emperor of all condiments.

That bottle back there, with its tantalizing red cap, contains Japanese kewpie mayonnaise. Very few condiments are so important to me that I sacrifice valuable kitchen space to stockpile. This crazy nectar is one of them. Sprinkled with a secret ingredient we all know, and love to hate on, Japanese mayo would definitely prevail in an all-condiment version of Battle Royale.

Here's what's different about kewpie mayo:

  • It's made with only egg yolks, rather than a mix of yolks and whole eggs like most supermarket brands.
  • Mild, aromatic rice vinegar is used instead of its overly acidic distilled white counterpart.
  • It contains just a hint of MSG for that signature Japanese umami note (that's a lie I tell myself, it is positively rife with the stuff).
  • This is my favorite — the star-shaped nozzle dispenses in a very attractive manner, Exhibit A.

Best of all, because kewpie uses only yolks, it's essentially Hollandaise you can keep in your fridge indefinitely. I know this because I've broken more Hollandaises than I've fixed. Might I suggest some mayo-centric dishes that can most definitely be improved with this underrecognized emulsification?

And to clarify, we're definitely late to the Japanese mayo party. They heartily embraced it nearly a century ago, tweaking the formula to suit their tastes and squirting it on absolutely everything. There's even a Mayonnaise Kitchen in West Tokyo, a restaurant for "mayora," or "mayo folks" (loose translation). You can call it mayokichi, though. All the mayora do.  

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