Salmon roe, the red jewel

Everyone loves salmon roe over rice.
The red beads glisten like jewels.
Today let’s talk about salmon roe.

I think the true aim of some percentage of travelers to Hokkaido is to eat salmon roe (author’s personal opinion).

The origin of the Japanese word for salmon roe, “ikura,” is the Russian word “икра,” which is pronounced “ikra.” It means “fish egg.” The word’s meaning is not limited to salmon roe; caviar, tarako and herring roe are also ikra.

In the past salmon eggs they were called “sujiko” in Japan, but there was no difference between the names of salmon roe clumps still wrapped in ovaries and those broken up into individual granules. And the origin of the word “ikura” lies in the fact that Japanese people who saw granular salmon roe being called “ikra” by Russians thought that was the name. Today the names sujiko for clumps of salmon eggs and ikura for granular salmon eggs are well-established.

In Hokkaido and the Tohoku region, the word sujiko more often refers to clumps of salmon roe that have been processed by pickling in salt than to raw salmon roe clumps still as they were when taken from a salmon. These salted sujiko are quite salty and sticky and are a food best eaten by more advanced connoisseurs of Japanese food. Many people, however, are captivated by them, and some experts even say sujiko tastes better than ikura.

But with ikura, everything depends on freshness, and unlike sujiko, which last longer when pickled in salt, ikura must be processed and seasoned immediately after being removed from a salmon. That is why ikura is said to be a luxury item.

So, how about it? Don’t you feel like eating a bowl with more ikura in it than rice?