Salmon roe caviar: All about Ikura

It looks weird from foreigners but it’s for sure tasty. Now salmon roe is one the most popular Sushi toppings and salmon roe bowl is really dream of modern Japanese food. However still there’re some tips, difference and little known facts of salmon roe.

Difference by kind of fish

This is the biggest difference and not well known. Actually there’re two types of salmon roe, from salmon or trout and to make matters worse, both are named salmon roe. Of course salmon’s salmon roe is better in taste and mouthfeel.

Salmon roeGoodHigh
Trout roeEven – goodLow – middle

Difference of origin

Origin of Hokkaido and Sanriku is expensive and great taste. Russia’s roe is cheaper than Japan origin. Casual Sushi restaurants, like one dollar conveyor sushi shops, usually use trout roe or Russia’s salmon roe.

If you want to try great experience of salmon roe, it’s good to go to Hokkaido or Sanriku Coast. They offer never-frozen, genuine salmon roe.

Hokkaido, JapanMiddle – high
Sanriku, Japan
incl. Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi prefectures

Difference in flavor

Salmon roe is pickled in sauce as preparation and there’re two kinds of flavor, soy sauce + Dashi and Salt + Dashi. Usually salt flavor roes have light orange while soy sauce ones have dark orange or red. Salt flavor can’t cheat roes’ own smell so basically great quality of roe is used for it and are expensive.

Tastes actually depends on preference and not big difference. You might taste slight sweetness of salt one.


Best season of salmon roe is around from October to November when salmons lay eggs and the roe have bigger size and great balance in taste. Salmons in this season are especially called autumn salmon – Akijake.

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