Wednesday, April 26, 2006

TIP: Where to get mentaiko

Fresh mentaiko can be quite expensive. From what I've seen at Japanese grocery stores in the US, it's about $7-9 for a pack of two sacks. But there is a cheaper alternative.

I get mine at Korean markets in the frozen food section. They are usually in boxes. There are wide varieties of them, and a lot of the ones I've seen doesn't have any Japanese on it, so sometimes, I'm not sure if it really is mentaiko or not. But in English, it's usually titled, Salted Pollock Roe. If it says "Spicy" on the box, then it's probably mentaiko. If it doesn't say so, and the picture looks like there's no red spices around it, then it's probably just a regular [tarako], which if you have some [shichimi] powder at home, you could wing it.

But what's great about getting frozen mentaiko by a box in the frozen section, is that there are usually about a dozen of mentaiko in there, and the price is only between $7 to $25. I usually get the cheaper end of the line. The main thing with the cheap end is that chili pepper is usually not spread around evenly so some parts are more red than the other. But if you are going to mix it in the end for mentaiko pasta or mentaiko riceballs or for some salad, you won't notice the uneven spiciness in the end. So basically, instead of getting two sacks for $7, I get twelve sacks for $7, which is a great deal.

I usually take the bag out of the box, and put it in the freezer ziplock bag, and take out a sack or two at a time when I think I need it. They defrost in the fridge easily overnight. A dozen of mentaiko usually lasts me half a year or so in the freezer.

1 comment:

sildenafil said...

Great information about Asian stores, I think that the blog is very interesting.
In all my country in every corner you can find to Asian store.