SUSHI GUIDE: Ikura (Salmon Roe, Red Caviar)

Salmon roe is called “sujiko” in chunks, and it becomes “ikura” when the ovaries are loosened. Ikura tends to spill out easily when it’s simply topped on rice; therefore it is commonly made into Gunkanmaki, an oval-shaped sushi wrapped around with a strip of seaweed to keep loose ingredient inside. It is very popular in Japan and often wins a higher position in popularity votes of sushi toppings.


1. Season and area of production

Hokkaido is the largest producer of ikura followed by Sanriku area. The peak season is the early autumn when salmons come back to rivers from seas to lay their roe. Frozen roe is available all through the year.

2. Savory and appetizing ikura as sushi neta

When marinated with salt or soy sauce, ikura has a bright red color and a rich flavor, and it melts in your mouth as you chew it. It is so unique and delectable when ikura’s popping texture is combined with sour-sweet sushi rice – nothing can compare to it. A slice of cucumber gives a nice little freshness to the rich taste of ikura.

3. Other ways to enjoy ikura

We can enjoy ikura in Kaisendon (rice bowl with various kinds of sashimis) and Ikuradon (rice bowl topped with plenty of ikura). It is also commonly used as an ingredient for appetizer and pasta dishes.


Ikura don