Mentaiko (明太子?) is the marinated roe of pollock, and is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Mentaiko originated from myeongran jeot (명란젓) of Korean cuisine[1] and was introduced to Japan after the Russo-Japanese War. Toshio Kawahara (川原 俊夫 Kawahara Toshio?), a Busan-born Japanese, adapted Korean mentaiko to Japanese tastes in Fukuoka in the 1950s. The name is derived from the Korean word for Alaska pollock (mentai, 명태 : myeongtae in Korean) and the Japanese word for "child" ( ko?). The typical seasoning and flavor is slightly 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.

See also


  1. ^ (Korean) 일본 후쿠오카에서 한식세계화 가능성을 엿보다

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