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Mar 31, 2005 10:32 PM

Kewpie mayonnaise - why is it so good?

  • f

I know I'm not alone in loving Kewpie. It's the only commercial mayo I ever buy anymore. I know that it tastes better - it's creamier, tangier and a little bit sweet - but how do they do it? What exactly is different about it, ingredient and process-wise? I'd love to make my own mayo that approximates the taste and consistency of Kewpie.

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  1. never heard of it... where do you buy it? what part of the country do you live in?

    always up for good mayo... I tend to like hellman's myself.

    7 Replies
    1. re: megan

      The website in Japanese says it is from salad oil, egg yolks, vinegar, flavorings and aromatics. Sounds like KFC`s secret 11 herbs and spices which turned out to be MSG.

      I too am a huge fan of Kewpie! It is Japan`s second most popular sauce after soy sauce.


      1. re: Yukari

        I recently bought a similar japanese product at a Kam Man supermarket in New Jersey labelled horsradish mayo, tinted green, its full of wasabi, whew. Its great with smoked flavors, cured fish, chicken or turkey sandwiches. Just use sparingly until you are tuned in to its strength.


        1. re: jen kalb

          FYI - some of the mayo in Japan also has karashi mustard in it.

        2. re: Yukari

          I love kewpie mayo too. I have to agree with Yukari. It's the MSG. I seem to recall that the american packaging lists it as an ingredient (couple years ago)

          1. re: Yukari

            I suspect you're right about the MSG... I was kinda hoping it was one of the "spices" listed on the ingredient list. Oh well!

            1. re: flywheel

              I am taking Japanese cooking classes and when the instructors add MSG (which happens in at least one dish per class) it kinda looks like what is on the Kewpie website. Imagine that is the addictive ingredient.

          2. re: megan

            Kewpie tastes like Miracle Whip to me.

            Hellmans is the mayo for me.

          3. It's the best mayonnaise on the planet. I lived in Japan for five years and was surprised to learn that the "secret" ingredient was . . . rice wine vinegar!

            Yep. I thought it was a hair of wasabi or mustard (the Japanese also make the best mustard on the planet) but it's just rice-wine vinegar.

            Hellman's is okay, just very bland. I like Miracle Whip because it adds the sweetness I always need for, like potato salad, but Kewpie is just the most go-to mayonnaise I've ever tasted.

            5 Replies
            1. re: tonbo0422

              What is this "best mustard on the planet" that is made in Japan? The brand name?

              1. re: tonbo0422

                Kewpie is really really good, though to put it on a planetary pedestal may be a matter of time and place and personal politics.

                Yes, it's the rice vinegar. And yes it's the MSG that accentuates the taste. And on a more tactile level, it may be that sexy little half-liter squeeze bottle that lovingly yields to your hand and also fits into those tiny home refrigerators, and that fine nozzle tip that allows one to make some really cool designs on their okonomiyaki. (But they miss out on not getting to lick the spoon that's finished scooping from the jar).

                After a few months as an expat in Japan, I realized that I'd need to travel all the way to Tokyo to get some Hellman's in a glass jar. And the southern boy in me gave a silent sob when I realized I wasn't ever gonna get no Duke's.

                Kewpie quickly filled the mayo niche during the wonderful eating years spent there. But I will confess that when we returned to USA, landing in California, our first stop was at a huge opulent grocery store that are standard across America. It was not a trip to buy groceries, but instead to stroll down the aisles and reacquaint myself with old friends. When I rediscovered the Hellman's in the full quart jar, I fondled, gave thanks, and joyfully wept.

                1. re: FoodFuser

                  Amen FoodFuser - QP has attained a mythic, legendary status in the mayo world - and I really wish we could get EVERY condiment in that awesome squeeze bottle - but Hellman's is a damn fine mayo also.

                  1. re: joonjoon

                    Yes...every mayo lover should experience the supple flexibility of the squeezed Kewpie bottle as it sends forth its tasty stream.

                    Only the nubile Japanese have moved so swiftly from a land of maritime villagers to erudite urbanites who have coined the name "Mayohead".

                    Lots of hard-core squeezers out there in the Land of the Rising Sun, just as lots of heavy spooners back here in the Land of Paula Dean.

                    As Bacchus and Dionysus affirmed: "It's all about the bottle." Kewpie, in that squishy squeezy jar, is always welcome in my kitchen.

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      I've bought good Peruvian mayo in Latino shops that comes in a flexible pouch with a screw cap spout in the corner. Very convenient when car camping (and kept in the cooler).

                      The Kewpie bottle is ok, but a bit of a pain when it gets nearly empty.

                      I bought my current bottle for use on okonomiyaki (pancakes). It works well there, and with savory items like ham. I prefer the 'western' style on salads (Hellman's or one of the Mexican brands).

                2. I always figured it was the MSG...if you really want to know, you can always try adding msg to hellman's and see what happens..

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: joonjoon

                    That, and some rice vinegar, really works.

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      You can up the MSG taste in Kewpie by adding HonDashi granules. Here's a recipe for Dynamite sauce - Kewpie, Hondashi, Sriracha, and masago.


                      1. re: paulj

                        OMG...that sounds like it needs to be banned.

                        1. re: paulj

                          I add dashi to my mayo for my Hawaiian mac salad.

                      2. I recently bought a bottle of asian mayo (I thought it was Kewpie but it's really Kenko- which the sushi chef where i work claims is a "more expensive" version) and while I looove the taste, very egg-yolk-y and sweet at the same time, I can't think of what to do with the giant bottle!
                        Other than a generic spicy mayo (shiracha and mayo, usually for spicy tuna handrolls, a spicy Krab salad, or just on rice) I can't figure out what else to use it for! I'm not a big sandwich eater, and my boyfriend doesn't even like mayo (although he did admit the taste "isn't bad"), so I'm searching for things to do with it -- mostly so I have a reason to head back to the Int'nl store and buy some real Kewpie...

                        Anybody have any suggestions on ways to use it?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: DreamCyn

                          Potato and mac salads use a lot of mayo as does creamy salad dressings like ranch. You could also use it to marinade/coat chicken, fish, shrimp, pork or veg sticks - then roll them in panko or corn flakes or what have you and bake. Always good. Heck you could do a Hawaiian plate lunch that comes with rice, potato and mac salad and the protein of choice and then have some kicked up ranch to dip it in and you probably would have used it all! ;-}

                          1. re: DreamCyn

                            I do a sriracha QP "Secret sauce" by adding ketchup and pickles. It's great with everything!

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              I've got to try this! I'm assuming you use dill pickles and everything to taste?

                            2. re: DreamCyn

                              Actually, I've found the Kenko to be about a dollar less than the Kewpie.

                            3. Definitely the MSG. It is the world's best mayonaise in a bottle.