Aside from soy sauce, mirin, and sake, another kitchen condiment that is widely used in Japanese cuisine is mayonnaise. Yes, Japanese people love mayonnaise and we are proud of our own version of Japanese mayonnaise.
How Is Japanese Mayonnaise Different from American or European Mayonnaise?
Japanese mayonnaise uses only egg yolks instead of whole eggs so it has a rich egg flavor and a creamy thick texture. It also uses rice vinegar instead of distilled vinegar, so it’s more suitable for Japanese flavors. Overall, Japanese mayo is creamier in both color and texture with a tangy and sweeter taste. And just like any Japanese creations, it scores on the umami factor.
The most famous Japanese mayonnaise brand is Kewpie Mayonnaise. Kewpie mayo is known for its signature squeeze bottle that comes with a red narrow tip, which makes it easy to spread on anything. There is a recognizable Kewpie doll logo on the plastic cover.
If you want to purchase one, you can check Amazon, or try Japanese or Asian grocery stores.
Simple Substitute for Japanese Mayonnaise Recipe:
A homemade version will not be exactly the same, as it completely lacks the rich egg yolk flavors, but this is the closest substitution that I could come up with.
For 1 cup of American mayonnaise (I use Best Foods/Hellmann’s Mayonnaise), add 2 Tbsp rice vinegar and 1 Tbsp sugar. And whisk until sugar dissolves.
For 1 Tbsp of American mayonnaise, add 1/2 tsp rice vinegar and 1/8 tsp sugar. And whisk until sugar dissolves.
Homemade Japanese Mayonnaise Recipe:
If you like to make homemade, check out my homemade Japanese mayonnaise recipe.
Recipes with Japanese Mayo:
Burgers, sandwiches, fries, or potato salads, you can use Japanese mayo on just about anything. Beyond the usual suspects, Japanese mayo is also widely enjoyed on many unique Japanese dishes. Some of the delicious recipes include:
- Spicy Tuna Roll
- California Roll
- Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancakes)
- Takoyaki (octopus balls)
- Crab Salad with Ponzu Mayonnaise Dressing