Spicy marinated pollock roe, known as mentaiko in Japanese, is a popular and versatile food which is enjoyed in many ways in Japan ranging from raw or grilled on rice, cooked in pasta with cream sauce, mixed with mayonnaise as a dressing or seasoning for various salads, and much more. Not to be confused with tarako, which is marinated but not spicy, mentaiko includes chili peppers in the marinade, imparting its characteristic flavor.

source: (C) Kanko

Mentaiko owes much of its popularity in Japan to Fukuoka-based manufacturer Fukuya, whose founder, born in occupied Korea, was inspired by the myeongnan marinated pollock roe he enjoyed in his youth to sell mentaiko in Japan. Since 1949, Fukuya has built a successful mentaiko business.

To celebrate their 70th anniversary, Fukuya decided on a bold new direction, launching a line of ice cream bars earlier this year called Alps Ice Candy. The first flavors to be sold featured the fruits and flavors of Kyushu, such as strawberries from Yanagawa, matcha from the Chiyonoen tea farm in Yame, amanatsu citrus from Nokonoshima Island, milk from Yamanoibuki Farms in Kumamoto Prefecture and soda syrup from Saga-based Tomomasu Drink Co. The only non-Kyushu flavor is azuki with the red beans sourced from Hokkaido.

It seemed that Alps Ice Candy was going to be a complete departure from Fukuya's mainstay, mentaiko, until a few days ago when Fukuya revealed its latest addition to the Alps Ice Candy series...

Introducing: Alps Ice Candy Mentaiko Milk Flavor!

On the product website, Fukuya entices us: "A surprising flavor with no precedent, this ice cream bar contains 6% mentaiko (...) As soon as you take your first bite, the strong, sweet flavor of milk fills your mouth, but as the ice melts, the spice of the mentaiko kicks in."

If you can't wait for the mind-boggling experience of iced mentaiko and sweet condensed milk melting in your mouth, you can buy them in boxes of six for 1,300 JPY from their online store.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.