What Is Kewpie Mayo?

I bet you thought that the Great Mayonnaise Debate came down to Hellman’s vs Duke’s. At least that’s what I always thought. But, boy, am I an idiot! Because I completely left out Kewpie mayo, the rising star of the mayonnaise world. I think the equivalent would be…Timothee Chalamet? Austin Butler? Who’s hot right now that all the kids love? Anway, what is Kewpie mayo? Let’s talk about it. 

What is Kewpie mayo?

Kewpie mayo was developed in Japan by a man named Toichiro Nakashima. The founder of the company Shokuhin Kogyo in 1919, he spent a lot of time traveling between Japan and the United States. On one trip he encountered two uniquely American products: mayonnaise and Kewpie dolls.

We all know mayo, so no explanation needed there. But the Kewpie doll is an interesting pop culture phenomenon that arose in the early 20th century. Artist Rose O’Neill created cherubic little baby characters for a comic strip in Ladies’ Home Journal. Due to their close physical appearance to depictions of Cupid, the name Kewpie came to be. 

Armed with mayo and cuteness, Nakashima went back to Japan and started production immediately. His mayo, branded Kewpie, started selling in 1925 and today is the most popular mayonnaise brand in Japan.

What is in Kewpie mayo?

Kewpie mayo is made with apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar, soybean oil, salt, and egg yolks. A commercial bottle of Kewpie mayo will also have other seasonings, such as MSG, and preservatives.

How is Kewpie mayo different?

The one key difference between Kewpie mayo and American mayo brands is the egg. American mayo includes whole eggs—yolk and white alike. Kewpie mayo contains only the egg yolk. This difference results in a slightly yellow color and a noticeable flavor difference. 

What does Kewpie mayo taste like?

The relatively high concentration of egg yolks in Kewpie mayo makes it slightly more custardy. It is richer and fatter than American mayo and you can definitely feel that in your mouth. It’s wild; you’d think there really can’t be much variation in mayo, but this stuff is really quite good. And it tastes almost like a deviled egg.

What do you use Kewpie mayo for?

You can use Kewpie mayo just as you would American mayo. In Japan, it’s the base for a tamago sando, or egg salad sandwich. It’s often used as a drizzle for sushi, in poke bowls, or mixed with sriracha
Sporked suggests it as a dip for fries if you don’t like ketchup. I normally wouldn’t mix fries and mayo, but the next time I am at the grocery store I am getting some Kewpie mayo to try this out.

About the Author

Luke Field

Luke Field is a writer and actor originally from Philadelphia. He was the former Head Writer of branded content at CollegeHumor and was also a contributing writer and actor to the CollegeHumor Originals cast. He has extensive improv and sketch stage experience, performing both at The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and with their Touring Company. In addition to writing, he also works as a Story Producer, most recently on season 4 of Accident, Suicide, or Murder on Oxygen. Keep your eyes peeled for his brief but impactful appearance as Kevin, the screaming security guard, in the upcoming feature The Disruptors, directed by Adam Frucci.

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