General Discussion


Salted/cured/dried fish roe goodness: bottarga vs 烏魚子 vs karasumi vs Myeongran vs mentaiko vs kazunoko


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General Discussion 35

Salted/cured/dried fish roe goodness: bottarga vs 烏魚子 vs karasumi vs Myeongran vs mentaiko vs kazunoko

K K | Aug 30, 2010 02:31 PM

One thing I've recently discovered the Taiwanese and the Sardinians have in common is the food item of dried cured mullet roe. There's bottarga in Sardinia (as seen by Anthony Bourdain on No Reservations, where it's grated over pasta, like bucatini).

On the other side of the globe in Taiwan, wuyuzi, or 烏魚子 (also a type of mullet roe) is a local delicious delicacy can can go beyond a hundred bucks a box. The Japanese version is known as Karasumi and somehow looks virtually identical (or perhaps 烏魚子 is an influence from the Japanese occupied era in Taiwan post WWII). As far as I know they don't shave this stuff over noodles like in Sardinia (perhaps someone can prove me wrong).
I recently enjoyed this at a friend's place where it was served just lightly pan fried, then sandwiched inbetween small thin slices of raw daikon and garlic bulb stems (very delicious). For those who have access to this stuff (consider yourselves very lucky if you get it direct from Taiwan), how do you enjoy them at home? Also I hear you can bring this across customs as it is not considered a meat product (a few daring have even vaccuum packed fish and got away with it, but then again many are scared even trying to bring back blocks of dried cured bonito whole fish "blocks" for shaving).

Kazunoko is a different beast, a delicious new year's delicacy that's either enjoyed at the sushi bar, or embedded with saba (mackeral) which I only discovered at a Japanese food buffet in Taipei a few years ago.

Myeongran I only know about through wikipedia links. How are these normally served?

Mentaiko is not part of the category theoretically although some say it's derived from myeongran, especially the spicy version karashi mentaiko that's superb when stir fried with squid (or just served raw together).

Totally unrelated, but in Hong Kong, they add dried shrimp roe, sprinkled over brothless plate of egg noodles (lo mein), tossed with a little lard to give it smoothness, and some serve broth on the side to dip/drink. Like a pseudo bottarga bucatini I suppose.

Either way, they're all salted/cured/dried fishy eggy goodness.

How do you like yours?

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