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Kewpie Mayonnaise: Supermarket Spy

What's so great about this Japanese mayo? A rich, creamy flavor and something Americans are terrified of.

Kewpie Mayonnaise might just be the best mayo ever.
Kewpie Mayonnaise might just be the best mayo ever.
Kewpie Mayonnaise might just be the best mayo ever.

Who knew the Japanese were some of the world’s biggest mayonnaise fanatics? With entire restaurants devote to the condiment, along with a mayo museum (really) and a term for mayonnaise fanatics (mayolers), it’s definitely a thing. But when you say mayonnaise in Japan, you’ll inevitably get a bottle of Kewpie. Soon after you’ll become addicted to the stuff.

It’s been a staple in the kitchen of many Asian-inspired chefs, from Momofuko’s David Chang—who called it the best mayonnaise in the world in a Food & Wine article—to local chefs like Matthew Williams of Ramen Gaijin.

“Kewpie is great because it’s has a bit of sweetness from rice wine vinegar and let’s be real, a ton of MSG,” Williams said.

Indeed it’s not for everyone, but it’s also the very definition of umami, that hard-to-describe flavor that’s both rich and savory, thanks to MSG. Let me say that one more time. There’s a lot of MSG in it.

A bit sweeter than good old Hellman’s (aka Best Foods), Kewpie mayo, which is in fact named after the adorable doll that’s its trademark, is insanely smooth and spreadable, best slathered over, well, everything. Closest we can come to a familiar American taste is Miracle Whip.

Mix it into Sriracha, use it for the world’s most decadent deviled eggs, slap it on a sandwich or just squirt a bit on a pretzel.

$5.99 at Asia Mart, 2481 Guerneville Rd., Santa Rosa, (707) 542-3515.

Editor’s Note: Travel, dining and wine tasting can be complicated right now. Use our inspirational ideas to plan ahead for your next outing, be it this week or next year. If you visit restaurants, wineries, and other businesses during the pandemic, remember to call ahead, make reservations, wear a mask and social distance.

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Comments

6 thoughts on “Kewpie Mayonnaise: Supermarket Spy

  1. Kewpie is all I use anymore. All other mayos pale in comparison. You can get multi-packs of it on Amazon. It’s nothing at all like that devil-spew Miracle Whip.

  2. Having been raised on Miracle Whip, the most disgusting taste ever, I’ll have to pass on Kewpie if that’s the comparison. -gag- I can taste it just thinking about it!

    1. I strongly disagree that Kewpie is ANYTHING like Miracle Whip. The closest thing to it is “Duke’s”, which is ubiquitous is the South. Both are less sweet than other brands and more egg-y. And no preservatives, which is also the opposite of Miracle Whip.

  3. Kewpie is great stuff, but check the sell-by date and plan to use the bottle up within two or three weeks. It does not keep well. They also make a roasted sesame dressing that is fantastic!

    1. This makes me wonder if this the secret ingredient on walnut prawns served in Chinese restaurants? We’ve had a few too many conversations trying to determine what the slightly sweet, mayo like textured sauce served on the prawns is……

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