Among an array of condiments, mayonnaise holds a special place in the hearts of many.
While its origin traces back to the early 19th century in Europe, Asia and America have embraced the condiment and adapted its recipe to create distinct variations that have now become staple components of their respective culinary cultures.
In this article, we will embark on a journey to explore and discover the differences that set apart Japanese mayo from its American counterpart.
What Is The Difference Between Japanese Mayo And American Mayo?
Japanese and American mayonnaises are both condiments that have evolved with their respective cultures.
Even though they share some similarities, like all other mayonnaise you’ll elsewhere, there are key differences in terms of ingredients used which influence how they end up tasting as well as what their final texture feels like.
Below are the ingredients that birth the distinction between Japanese Mayo and American Mayo.
When it comes to Japanese mayo, most of them typically use egg yolks instead of whole eggs although few Japanese Mayo lines like the Ajinomoto Pure Select Mayonnaise do contain whole eggs as opposed to only yolks.
The American counterparts, on the other hand, embrace the use of whole eggs, together with the whites (although there may still be brands out there that use only yolks too or whole eggs together with extra yolks in their recipes).
The use of pure yolks, and more of them (about 2x the amount you’ll find in a regular Mayo) results in a creamier, smoother and more custardy product than American mayo which bears a characteristic light texture due to the dilution of fat in the yolk by the water in the white.
It also gives the mayonnaise a rich yellow hue which makes it visually appealing as well as make it a popular choice for many dishes.
Both Japanese Mayo and American Mayo contain vinegar, but most of the time, different types of it.
The former relies mostly on apple cider vinegar, white grape vinegar, barrel aged malt vinegar, rice vinegar, or a combination of both or even more other types of vinegar to lend acidity, tanginess and unique savoriness to the Mayo.
American mayo, in contrast, mostly uses distilled vinegar (with or without lemon juice concentrate) or sometimes red wine vinegar, for the acidic component which results in a less pronounced sweeto-tanginess like in kewpie Mayo.
Most of the time, American Mayo brands use sugar to enhance the sweetness of the Mayo, whereas Japanese Mayo sometimes ditch sugar and rely solely on the sweetness provided by the vinegar to represent in this department. Now of course there are exceptions, such as the kenko that includes sugar in most of its recipes and Duke’s that exclude sugar from all of it’s mayo lines.
Another way that Japanese mayo differs from American Mayo is in the spice content. As both products emerge from two different regions with a lot of culinary variations, the range of spices found in both regions would differ to some extent, which would influence the constituent spices of the Mayo and therefore the final taste.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
In order to enhance the umami profile of the Mayo, Japanese products sometimes use MSG and Yeast Extract, the former which is an ingredient under intense scrutiny in the United States. The Addition of MSG and other umami boosting ingredients to some Japanese Mayo helps add new dimensions to the Mayonnaise making it highly superior.
Is Kewpie Or Japanese Mayo Better?
When it comes to taste, quite a lot of people that have tasted both Japanese Mayo (especially Kewpi Mayo: which is the most widely used Mayonnaise in Japan), and American Mayo, opine that the Japanese mayo is slightly superior.
It’s easy to see why that is so. Japanese Mayo employs the use of yolks and flavor enhancers like MSG as well as the use of different types of vinegars which all come together to create an explosive flavor that pairs well with everyday recipes and at the same time isn’t too overpowering of other ingredients in the recipes it is used in.
Remember, though, that it’s only slightly better, and the average foodie isn’t likely to pick up on the subtle taste difference.
Is Japanese Mayo Healthier?
Japanese mayo and American mayo are very similar when it comes to their ingredients with very subtle differences when it comes to nutritional content.
Japanese mayo typically contains: soybean and canola oil, egg yolks, various types of vinegar, salt and MSG. In comparison, American mayo typically includes: soybean oil, whole eggs (and sometimes plus egg yolks), distilled vinegar or lemon juice, salt and sugar.
Below is a comparison of two popular mayos in Japan and America based on a single serving size (1 tablespoon which is approximately 15 grams).
Japanese Mayo (Kewpie Regular Mayo 1 serving equals 15g)
- Calories: 100
- Fat: 11g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5g
- Cholesterol: 25mg
- Sodium: 105mg
- Carbohydrates: 1-2g
- Protein: 0g
American Mayo (Duke’s Real Mayo 14g per serving)
- Calories: 100
- Fat: 12g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Cholesterol: 10mg
- Sodium: 70mg
- Carbohydrates: 0-1g
- Protein: 0g
While variations would definitely occur between specific brands and products, the overall nutritional profiles of Japanese and American mayonnaise seem quite similar, especially in areas to at matter such as calorie and fat content.
Both are calorie-dense and high in fat, particularly with unsaturated fat, but Japanese mayo takes home the higher share of cholesterol which is the result of the extra egg yolks used.
But remember that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 500mg of cholesterol per day to stay safe from its harmful effects.
Kewpie Mayo also has a slightly higher sodium content, although that, expressed as a percentage of the Daily Recommended Value, is not more than 5% which is quite small.
Thus, neither Japanese nor American mayo can be considered particularly healthy due to their high calorie and fat content.
However, when you consume them in moderation, both types can easily be included as part of a balanced diet without posing any threat to the health.
If you’re concerned about health, consider choosing a reduced-fat or light version of mayo (Both Duke and Kewpie offer that), or you can opt for a mayo alternative such as mustard or hummus, which can provide fewer calories and healthier nutrients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kewpie Mayo vs Dukes
Kewpie Mayo and Duke’s Mayo are two popular mayo brands originating from Japan and the United States respectively.
Each has its own unique recipe and flavor profile.
Here’s a breakdown of what each mayonnaise contains:
- Soybean oil and Canola Oil
- Egg yolk
- A combination or two or more of the following types of vinegar: rice vinegar, cider vinegar, white balsamic vinegar and distilled vinegar
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Natural Flavor
Duke’s Mayo (American mayo) ingredients:
- Soybean oil
- Eggs (plus whites)
- Distilled and cider vinegar
- Oleoresin paprika
- Calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor)
- Natural Flavors
Kewpie Mayo, because of its heavy yolk content, bears a characteristic yellow hue and a rich, creamy texture. Duke’s mayo on the other hand, also has a smooth and creamy texture due to its extra yolk content too, but it isn’t as creamy as kewpie Mayo due to its lesser quantity of yolk compared to it.
Both Mayo also have a slight tang from the addition of vinegar, and only kewpie Mayo has the extra umami edge due to the use of MSG.
The addition of paprika, however, does give Duke’s Mayo a little bit of twist than the traditional American Mayo.
In terms of which tastes superior, it’s hard to tell since both mayonnaise are really good and both work quite simailarly with different ingredients.
It’s always tricky to answer these types of questions because of its subjective-nature, since everyone tastes things differently.
But for sure, kewpie Mayo would definitely give that extra fat content which would coat buds and give the feeling of creaminess and richness.
Duke on the other hand would have more of a balanced and rounded flavor that is just about good for any application.
Kewpie Mayo vs Kenko Mayo
Kenko Mayo is another Japanese mayonnaise brand that is similar to Kewpie Mayo.
Like Kewpie, Kenko Mayo is known for its creamy texture and unique taste compared to American mayonnaise, and it also has a smooth and fine texture.
The ingredients in Kenko Mayo’s Gluten Free Product include:
- Vegetable oil
- Egg yolk
- Spice Extract
While the ingredients in Kenko Mayo are quite similar to those in Kewpie Mayo, there are still differences in taste due to the exclusion of MSG, and variation in the spice extracts used as well as production techniques.
Overall, it seems the people’s choice (based on the top selling Mayo in Japan) seems to be kewpie, and it can only suggest that it has the more superior taste.
Japanese Mayo vs Yum Yum sauce
Yum Yum sauce, also known as Japanese White Sauce, Shrimp Sauce or Hibachi Sauce, is a condiment often served at Japanese steakhouses or hibachi restaurants.
It has a creamy texture and a slightly sweet, tangy flavor from it’s highly acidic content, and it is often used as a dipping sauce for seafood, vegetables or as a dressing for salads.
The main ingredients in Yum Yum sauce typically include:
- Mayonnaise (often Japanese mayonnaise like Kewpie)
- Tomato ketchup
- Sweet Paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Warm Water
- Butter (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Kewpie Mayo, on the other hand, is strictly a mayonnaise with many uses including as a base for various sauces such as Yum Yum sauce.
Japanese Mayo vs Sriracha Mayo Sauce
Sriracha Mayo is a by-product of mayonnaise, and it is spicy, creamy and tangy.
It is derived by combining mayonnaise with Sriracha sauce, a popular hot chili sauce originating from Thailand.
The sauce is often used just like Mayo, but mostly in applications that would benefit from the extra heat supplied by the Sriracha sauce i.e as a spread for sandwiches, a topping for sushi rolls, or a dressing for various dishes.
The main ingredients in Sriracha Mayo typically include:
- Mayonnaise (either American or Japanese, such as Kewpie)
- Sriracha sauce
- Lemon or lime juice (optional)
- Garlic (optional)