July 16, 2015

Packaging Whore: Kewpie Egg Royal Mayonnaise

by Moto Yamamoto

Mayonnaise in America = Hellman’s = Gross. This is what many people say or think, but mayo in Japan is very different. As many of you know, Kewpie mayo is the good stuff.  If you haven’t had them, go to Umami Mart in Oakland and buy one. Or you can make it yourself.

A lot of things about Japanese condiments packaging is so clever. Many come in tubes, which makes it so easy to squeeze out rather than to scoop out of a jar.

Anyhow, this year marks Kewpie’s 90th anniversary. To commemorate this special year, they came up with a limited edition mayo, ridiculously named Tamago wo ajiwau mayonnaise — Egg Royal shiyo or “Mayonnaise that savors the egg — with Egg Royal.” Price is 1350 yen (about $11). I wonder what they are planning for their 100th anniversary.

Japan LOVES anniversary items. Well, Japan LOVES anything limited. People usually buy two of the same thing so that they can use one, and save the other for display purposes.

They started selling these mayo in March, and they sold out within a day or so. Many auction sites listed them a couple of days later, selling for $30-$40. Craziness. In May, they restarted the sale, and that’s when my friend kindly secured one for me.

Here is the sneak peek of this special baby:

The jar is definitely cute. Love the packaging. This is not in their trademark tube, which makes it look even more special — but it’s still annoying to scoop rather than squeezing out.

And it looks like regular mayo from this view.

But look at the color difference! That’s regular Kewpie on the right.

Regular mayo looks very white compared to the special version. This is because of the “Egg Royal.” What the hell is Egg Royal?

A lot of Japanese chefs apprentice or go to culinary schools in France. When they return to Japan, they find Japanese eggs are not the same as they were in France. This is due to what chickens eat. Majority of chickens in Japan are corn fed, but French chickens are wheat fed. So an egg farm in Japan changed their diet to wheat and perfected creating French eggs. How smart. I am sure given Japan’s technology and adaptability, these eggs taste better than French ones. Of course the price is very high too. It’s usually around 120 yen for 10 normal eggs, but these Egg Royals cost 380 yen for six of them.

Aside from the eggs, they use some special white grape vinegar and rapeseed oil. Furthermore after they produce and jar up the mayo, they are aged for a month. What a production!

So the taste of this mayo? It’s very eggy. It’s almost completely different from the regular kewpie. Good, but not the greatest. It’s a bit too eggy for me.

The package comes with instructions, and recommends to use this mayo as vegetable dip, or simply spread it on bread and eat as is. This notion is very Japanese. We use mayo on everything from sausage to fishcake to you name it. Some people even squeeze some into their mouth directly.

God bless Kewpie.

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