Customers' personal bottles of mayonnaise at the Mayonnaise Kitchen restaurant. (Mayonnaise Kitchen)
CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MAYONNAISE:
Maniacs Add Mayonnaise to Everything They Eat
August 9, 2002
Mayonnaise, originating on the Mediterranean island
of Minorca, appeared in Japan close to 80 years ago. Made largely of eggs
and oil, the dressing has long since found its own place in the Japanese
diet. Its consumption has continued to rise, and there has recently been
a marked increase, particularly among young people, in the number of fanatics who cannot
help adding mayonnaise to everything they eat, including cooked-and-complete
dishes. They are called mayora - a coinage
combining the first half of mayonnaise and
the English suffix -er or -or
(as in driver or visitor).
Many unique mayonnaise combinations are to be found in Japan, several
of which have been around for quite some time. In 1983 the convenience
store chain Seven-Eleven Japan introduced an onigiri
(rice ball, usually with a filling of some sort) with tuna mayonnaise
inside, and in 1989 McDonald's Japan invented the Teriyaki McBurger, containing
a patty dipped in a soy-sauce-based sauce and topped with vegetables and
mayonnaise. Although the popularity of food offered at convenience stores
and fast-food restaurants tends to pass quickly, both items continue to
enjoy high sales.
Rice topped with pork and kimchi and flavored with
mayonnaise. (Mayonnaise Kitchen)
In addition to tuna mayonnaise, rice balls sold today at convenience stores
in Japan come with a wide range of mayonnaise-flavored fillings, such
as shrimp with mayonnaise, cod roe with mayonnaise, chicken with mustard
mayonnaise, and spicy pickles with mayonnaise. These rice balls are particularly
favored by young Japanese, who find nothing unusual about combining mayonnaise
with very Japanese ingredients like rice and soy sauce. Among the other
foods popular with young people are mayonnaise-flavored snacks, including
potato chips. The dressing has even become a common pizza topping.
Mayonnaise Kitchen is a restaurant in Hachioji, in the western outskirts
of Tokyo, that uses mayonnaise in every dish it serves, as well as in
some of its cocktails and desserts. Regular customers who want to add
still more mayonnaise to the dishes can even buy a personal bottle of
it and keep it at the restaurant until they finish it. Mayonnaise
Kitchen (site is Japanese only) opened two years ago, and it has been successful enough to
start a second outlet in the nearby town of Tachikawa in April 2002.
Ideas and Innovations
About 15 years ago, more than half of the Japanese people ate mayonnaise
only as a dipping for raw vegetables. But nowadays a growing number think
of it as just another seasoning and use it to cook a variety of meat and
vegetable dishes. The Website of Q.P.
Corp., Japan's top mayonnaise maker, offers many original recipes
using mayonnaise. The ideas include cake with mayonnaise in
its dough and pork slices sautéed in mayonnaise instead of oil.
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil and either vinegar
or lemon juice, which normally do not blend. Heating the mayonnaise breaks
the emulsion, though, and the oil separates from the rest of the dressing.
When an omelet is made using beaten eggs with a small amount of mayonnaise
added in, the separated oil spreads throughout the eggs in tiny bubbles,
preventing the eggs from hardening and resulting in a fluffy omelet. Mayonnaise
can also be used to give body to otherwise light-flavored food.
The popularity of the dressing has spurred research on the development
of new products. One of the problems with using mayonnaise in frozen entrees
used to be that the taste would be ruined when the food was heated in a
microwave oven due to the separation of oil. Since 1998 Asahi
Denka Co. has been marketing a mayonnaise-like dressing for business
use that does not separate when heated thanks to a proprietary solid fat.
The product had the shortcoming of being more sour than the average mayonnaise,
but in April 2002 the company came out with an improved product that is
20% less sour.
Because its main ingredients are egg yolk and oil, mayonnaise is high
in calories and cholesterol. For this reason, some people refrain from using the dressing. While insisting that the cholesterol
found in mayonnaise should not be a health concern, in February 2002 Q.P.
Corp. nevertheless introduced a new mayonnaise-type dressing made with
egg yolk from which the cholesterol content has been removed using proprietary
With an ever-growing range of products and dishes for every person and
every need, mayonnaise is becoming an essential part of the
Copyright (c) 2002 Japan
Information Network. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese
news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes
and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese