Mayonnaise is such an underrated condiment. It’s the unsung hero that holds sandwiches together, the key to creating a great salad and the secret ingredient in many dips and sauces!
For us, there is no denying the highest form of mayo is Japan’s Kewpie.
Our team at Asian Pantry are huge Kewpie fans. Give us a bottle of the squishy red capped Kewpie and we will be squeezing it on everything! If you haven’t tried Kewpie, you need to. It’s rich yet light and is an umami bomb! It’s no wonder Kewpie is ubiquitous in every Japanese household. Trust us, it will make you question returning to regular mayo in a jar.
Kewpie is so loved in Japan that the company opened multiple pop-up “mayonnaise cafes” in Tokyo and Nagoya as a tribute to this ever so popular condiment.
The dishes served in these cafés all contain flavoured or the original Kewpie mayo. Their popular dishes include mayo-marinated chicken, omelettes, sandwiches, and salads. For the more adventurous souls, the kewpie mayo pudding is a must try!
There is even a Kewpie Museum where you can learn all about Kewpie and customise your own mayo.
The History of Kewpie
The company’s founder- Koichiro Nakashima, who first discovered mayonnaise in the USA, had hoped to create a unique version of mayonnaise for the Japanese to enjoy. Nakashima founded the Shokuhin Kogyo Company, Ltd. in 1919, which produced various sauces and canned food items.
When Nakashima invented Kewpie in 1925, mayonnaise was unknown in Japan. This spurred Nakashima to focus on promoting its use with traditional Japanese dishes.
The original Kewpie mayonnaise came bottled in glass jars featuring the cute cartoonish baby doll image. The Kewpie doll is a cutesy cherub-like baby, was created in 1909 by American illustrator Rose O'Neill and first published in the Ladies' Home Journal.
O'Neill originally drew the Kewpie doll "to teach people to be merry and kind." She based the name Kewpie on Cupid. They were eventually made into physical dolls in 1912 and skyrocketed in popularity throughout the 1920s, becoming a piece of true Americana.
The Kewpie brand has been using the doll as its logo mascot since it began mayonnaise production. It's not entirely clear why Nakashima chose the Kewpie doll but according to the company's website, it was likely due to the fact that it was popular at the time.
What is Kewpie mayo made of?
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil, egg, and acid. Regular mayonnaise uses whole eggs and white vinegar whereas Kewpie uses only egg yolks and rice or apple cider vinegar. It contains 4 eggs per 500g.
What does the kewpie mayo taste like? Imagine mayo, but better! Kewpie mayo is umami rich and has a thick savory texture that is both sweet and tangy.
In Australia, we have a huge population that have special dietary requirements. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions from some of our customers about this popular condiment:
Is Kewpie mayo healthy?
As far as its nutrition goes, regular mayo and Kewpie come in pretty close, with Kewpie being slightly lower in calories and fat.
Does Kewpie mayo have dairy?
Kewpie mayo does not contain dairy and can be consumed by those with lactose intolerance.
Is Kewpie vegan or gluten free?
For those who have special dietary requirements, the Kewpie company has a range of gluten free, MSG free and even egg free versions of their famous mayo.
Is Kewpie mayo Keto?
According to ketofoodist.com, Kewpie is suitable for a Keto diet. Net Carbs are 0% of calories per serving, at 0 g per serving. If the amount is close to 25g per serving, consider whether you're going to eat more food later.
What to do with Kewpie mayo
Even if you're not too savvy or adventurous in the kitchen, you can easily swap any other mayonnaise with Kewpie in simple cold dishes such as potato salad, Caesar dressing or classic Japanese egg sandwiches. They can also be used as a dip for chips (Kewpie and sweet chilli is a winner in our books!) or drizzled on top of your favourite sushi rolls and tuna rice bowls for an extra punch.
In Japan, however, mayonnaise is used in hot dishes. Here are some of the more typical dishes that is enhanced with the Kewpie mayo.
Okonomiyaki is a type of thick cabbage pancake. Its name literally means” what we love “(okonomi) “grilled” (yaki). Mayonnaise and buffalo sauce is often spread on its surface in pretty patterns.
Yakisoba is a dish of noodles, meat and vegetables sautéed on a hot plate. Mayonnaise is added as a seasoning.
Tako means octopus and yaki indicates the cooking method, in this case, pan-frying. Sometimes called “octopus balls”, takoyaki is made of a batter infused with dashi (dried kelp and fish flakes) which is filled with diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion. It is usually topped with a takoyaki sauce, kewpie sauce, bonito (fish flakes), and seaweed flakes.
The term karaage refers to meat Donuts (often chicken), fried in oil. These bites are then served steaming hot along with a slice of lemon and kewpie mayo. Kewpie is even used by Japanese on pizza and in some desserts.
Stock your pantry with Kewpie Mayo today!
Try adding a bottle (or two) of Kewpie mayo during your next pantry restock. You can shop a range of Kewpie mayo on Asian Pantry here. Need more information on this magical mayo? Pop us an email and we will gladly help you out.