Mayonnaise can be either the proverbial cherry on the cake or a way to make something not so tasty taste good. Japanese mayonnaise is slightly different from the version abroad, it tends to be more salty than sweet. People get addicted easily to Japanese mayonnaise. There are two major brands in Japan, and don’t be fooled! Your choice can determine your future, love life, or even social life!
Secretly, fans of one type of mayonnaise judge fans of the other. It is just a fact. If I go to your home and see that you prefer Kewpie, I will assume we are not going to get along well. But that is just me. Others feel the same about those who are in the Ajinomoto group. That, my friend, is my group. Even still, there are people who buy generic or discount brands of mayonnaise. These people are simply heathens, so you’re better off avoiding them. If you see discount mayo in the refrigerator of an acquaintance, you had better run fast. There is no good excuse for buying generic mayo. Splurge on what is important.
Japanese mayo also comes in convenient squeeze bottles, rather than the standard jars found in the west. I know, right? This is the land of all things convenience! No knife or spreading required.
This is the blessed king of them all. Made from freshly gathered eggs (within three days of being laid), the pure select brand is by far my favourite. Not sweet, not too salty or sour, it is simply heaven. You can buy other varieties of Ajinomoto, such as low calorie or reduced fat, but if you are gonna eat a cookie it might as well be a good cookie. The same goes for mayonnaise. Find it at your local supermarket, discount shop, and in most convenience stores.
Kewpie has a strong following in Japan, in spite of being the lesser of the 2 premium brands in my opinion. Kewpie has the cornerstone on nostalgia, with their recent release of their “old school” packaging bottle from days gone by in convenience store 7/11, as pictured above. Those sneaky Kewpie mayonnaise geniuses, playing at nostalgia. I still prefer the Ajinomoto mayo, I mean you can put anything in a pretty package, but pretty doesn’t always mean delicious. Well, it isn’t disgusting, I will use it if I am fresh out of Ajinomoto. You can find Kewpie in almost every store that sells consumables. They have a variety of options as well such as low cal, spicy and fish egg flavored. The original flavor though is where it’s at.
Another drawback of Kewpie mayonnaise it is the mascot that is used. It seriously gives me the creeps, check out the picture below and tell me you don’t feel the same way…
Recently there has been an increase in availability of imported mayo in both specialised import stores like Seijo Isshii and regular supermarkets. One of the import brands that is sold well is Hellmann’s. This should be considered a completely different product in my opinion. American or foreign mayo is different to its Japanese counterpart, it is slightly sweet and not so tart. If you need a hit of your regular trusted mayo you should definitely buy some Hellmann’s, just like you would buy ketchup or salad dressing. It works better when making dips and when cooking than Japanese mayo does, which is more of a topping for salads and veggies.
If you find yourself in dire need of condiments, buy a mini bottle of Ajinomoto and Kewpie. Taste test, and enjoy! You may just find a new taste you love, but be sure to disclose your preference before getting into a serious relationship. You may just be dating someone from ‘the other’ group.