Mayo! That dollop of creamy goodness with the culinary audacity to elevate any dish like it’s no man’s business.
As you might have guessed correctly, not all mayos are created equal, and one brand that particularly stands out from the rest of the pack is Kewpie Mayonnaise.
Of Japanese origins, this condiment has been tantalizing the buds of foodies in the United States for close to 3 decades now, with no real plans of actually stopping.
But what exactly sets Kewpie apart from other types of mayo? And more importantly, what does it taste like?
In this article, we’ll dive into the decorated world of Kewpie Mayo and explore it’s flavor profile. We’ll also be looking at the secret why it is regarded as a must-have ingredient for all food enthusiasts.
How Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like?
The Original Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise (Taste)
The Regular Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise is quite different from the rest of mayos with it’s distinctly rich taste.
Its flavor profile is characterized by a beautiful balance of creaminess, saltiness, tanginess and umami; and sometimes sweet in the case of the Blue Kewpie Mayonnaise.
The creaminess comes from the use of purely egg yolks rather than whole eggs ( with the whites — as is the norm for Mayo brands in West), which provides a smoother and richer texture.
The tanginess is achieved by incorporating acidic ingredients such as Japanese rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar, which helps to add tartness as well as fruitiness.
And lastly, the saltiness and umami or savory taste is enhanced by the addition of MSG (monosodium glutamate — yes, the wildly controversial food ingredient in the USA) as well as the amino acids yielded from the protein of the egg yolks, which amplifies the overall flavor.
American Kewpie Mayo
The American Kewpie Mayo is the version of the original kewpie Mayo made and shipped for the American audience.
The Mayo, while similar in texture to its Japanese counterpart, features some differences in taste which is due to the change in ingredients.
American Kewpie Mayo, characterised by It ergonomic and slightly curved bottle featuring a red and white color scheme with a cute, cherubic baby and a sandwich logo directly underneath, still maintains the signature creaminess of the original kewpie but has a milder, slightly sweeter flavor.
This is due to the use of distilled white vinegar instead of rice or apple cider vinegar, which results in a less pronounced tanginess.
Additionally, the American Kewpie Mayo typically does not contain MSG, which makes its umami flavor less intense compared to the Japanese version.
Some variations may also include sugar or other sweeteners to further enhance the sweetness.
American Vegan Kewpie Mayo
Kewpie Mayo also offers a Vegan variation to their customers in the United states which is basically a plant-based alternative to the traditional mayonnaise that doesn’t compromise on the taste and texture.
It replaces the egg yolks in the standard recipe with a direct vegan substitute such as aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas) or plant-based protein isolates in order to achieve a creamy and smooth consistency.
The flavor profile can be described as mild with a subtle nuttiness or earthiness from the inclusion of plant-based ingredients.
The tanginess is still present, thanks to the use of vinegar (often distilled white vinegar), but the umami flavor may be less pronounced due to the absence of egg yolks and MSG.
Some vegan versions can also include yeast extract to add an umami taste sensation.
Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Different From Regular Mayo?
Yes, Kewpie mayonnaise does taste different from regular mayonnaise like Hellmann’s or Duke’s, mainly due to the differences in ingredients and preparation techniques.
The first way in which Kewpie Mayo differ from Regular Mayo is in the egg content.
Kewpie mayo uses only egg yolks, whereas most other mayonnaise brands use whites in addition to the yolks, except for Duke’s which uses egg yolks too but in reduced quantities than Kewpie.
The use of whites together with the yolks dilutes the richness, creaminess and flavor of the mayonnaise, which is why Kewpie mayo is regarded as a premium condiment over many of its competitions — local and international.
Then, we have the vinegar content.
The Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise typically uses a combination of vinegars such as rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar and distilled vinegar as opposed to regular mayonnaise which mostly relies on one type of vinegar or acidic component (mostly distilled white vinegar or even lemon juice).
The implication of substituting cider or rice vinegar for distilled white vinegar is that it adds a distinct fruity acidity and tanginess to the mayo which interplays with the rest of the flavors going on in the Mayo to produce a really complex, yet beautiful taste.
Additionally, Japanese Kewpie mayo includes the controversial MSG (monosodium glutamate) in its formula which contributes to the umami taste, making the overall flavor profile even more complex and satisfying.
Regular mayonnaise on the other hand, especially those in the United States, typically does not contain MSG which is why it lacks the same depth of umami flavor.
And lastly, many regular mayonnaise brands contain added sugar or sweeteners to make them slightly sweeter. Kewpie mayo on the other hand doesn’t which is why it has more tanginess and umami compared to regular mayonnaise.
Can I Use Kewpie Instead Of Regular Mayo?
Yes, you can use Kewpie mayonnaise as a substitute for regular mayonnaise (especially Duke’s) in most recipes without any significant issues.
However, it’s important to be aware of the difference in taste that may be presented which might end up affecting the final flavor of your dish.
Kewpie mayo is generally creamier, tangier and has a more pronounced umami flavor compared to most regular mayo (as we have discussed above).
If you use it in a dish that calls for regular mayo, then it can enhance the overall taste of your dish by making it more savory and complex.
When substituting Kewpie for regular mayo, consider the specific flavors of your recipe and how the unique characteristics of Kewpie mayo may affect the final result, although in most cases, the substitution should work well.
Also, make sure to keep in mind that Kewpie mayo, particularly the Japanese version, can sometimes be thinner in consistency compared to some regular mayonnaise brands.
If the consistency is a critical aspect of your recipe, you may need to adjust the quantity accordingly or mix Kewpie mayo with a thicker mayo to achieve the desired consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Like Miracle Whip?
Kewpie mayo and Miracle Whip have a lot in common, from the way they are prepared to even their taste. But for the careful observer, you’d notice that Miracle Whip has a more complex flavor profile, as it includes extra ingredients like sugar, paprika and garlic.
Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Eggy?
While Kewpie mayo does contain more egg yolks compared to regular mayo, it does not have an overwhelmingly eggy taste.
The egg yolks contribute to the creamy texture of the condiment and provide a subtle depth of flavor, but the overall taste of Kewpie mayo is more characterized by its unique balance of tanginess, umami and creaminess.
The egginess is subtle (partly in thanks to the way the emulsion of the mayo is neatly performed at the micro level), and does not overpower the other flavor elements in the mayonnaise.
Does Kewpie Mayo Taste Fishy?
The main ingredients in Kewpie mayo are vegetable oil, egg yolks and vinegar, and none of them have a fishy flavor. Even the natural flavoring used does not contain fish as an ingredient, however, Kewpie mayo can serve as a perfect condiment for fish or seafood based dishes such as sushi and sashimi.
Is Kewpie Mayo Supposed To Be Sweet?
Kewpie mayo cannot be characterized as sweet, and therefore is not meant to be sweet in the first place. The Japanese version of Kewpie mayo usually does not contain any added sugar or sweeteners, which gives it an umami-rich flavor profile.
However, the American variant of Kewpie mayo may contain some sugar for sweetening making it slightly sweeter than its Japanese counterpart.
The sweetness in the American version is still relatively subtle and does not overpower the other flavors in the mayonnaise.
Is Kewpie Mayo Spicy?
Kewpie mayonnaise is not characteristically spicy. Rather, it has a tangy feel on then buds with a bit of fruitiness. If you want your kewpie Mayo to be spicy however, you can always mix in your favorite hot sauce or spices to create a spicy version.