Fish Eggs on Sushi – What Are Different Sushi Fish Roe Called?

Fish Eggs on Sushi – What Are Different Sushi Fish Roe Called?

Fish Eggs on Sushi? On sushi, you could have seen fish eggs, but you might not have recognised what they were. Sushi fish eggs (or roe) come in a range of shapes and frequently have various appearances depending on where they are harvested. Therefore, what exactly is roe and what varieties are there? In today’s post, I’ll respond to that and more!

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Fish Eggs on Sushi – What Are Different Sushi Fish Roe Called?
Fish Eggs on Sushi – What Are Different Sushi Fish Roe Called?

The eggs on the sushi, what are they?

Keep in mind that although the various little fish eggs found in sushi may appear to be different, they are all produced by the same kind of fish. Eggs are a common element in excellent cuisine, including sushi.

What Kind of Eggs Are Used in Sushi?

In addition to the fish eggs on sushi we’ll describe below, there are other types of eggs that can be found in sushi that contribute to the dish’s distinctive flavour.

For instance, consider tamago nigiri sushi. Instead of fish eggs, which are often used in this dish, a thin egg that resembles a crepe is rolled omelet-style and served on top of a bed of sushi rice. Even while tamago nigiri sushi often just has a few ingredients, it is nevertheless quite tasty.

Many of the fish eggs mentioned in this page are also present in sushi. The typical sushi roll, platter, or plate frequently contains them even though they are not frequently found on tamago nigiri sushi. As previously said, these frequently assume a range of colours.

What Kind of Eggs Are Used in Sushi?

Indeed, the fish eggs used in sushi are actual fish eggs. These are frequently called fish roe.

The flavour and texture of fish roe are often salty and gritty. They can be found on top of sushi rolls and other related foods. They differ in type as well as appearance. The numerous forms of fish roe that are accessible depending on the fish species will be discussed in the next portions.

Do Fish Eggs Really Exist on Sushi?

True fish eggs can be seen on sushi rolls.

The ovaries of some marine species frequently contain completely mature eggs. Fish eggs are occasionally harvested from animal-released external egg masses. Squid, scallops, shrimp, and sea urchins are among the marine creatures from which the eggs are harvested.

What Is the Name of the Fish Eggs in Sushi?

Recall that roe is the term used frequently to describe fish eggs found in sushi. The roe are usually completely matured, unfertilized eggs. They adopt a range of textures, tastes, and hues. They may also differ in size and shape.

Many of the most popular kinds of fish roe are listed below:

  • Caribou caviar
  • Ikura
  • Tobiko
  • Roe Pollock
  • Caviar from whitefish
  • Uni
  • Hen’s Eggs
  • Salmon Caviar
  • Masago

What Kinds of Fish Eggs Are There?

You could come across a variety of eggs on sushi. Let’s discuss the most prevalent forms of fish eggs found in sushi and their typical sources.

These are a few of them:

Masago (Smelt Roe) (Smelt Roe)

Smelt is the source of the fish roe known as masago. This smelt roe, which is popular in Japanese cooking, is frequently confused with the tobiko flying fish roe. Tobiko, on the other hand, is typically more costly and crunchier than masago. Restaurants frequently choose masago over tobiko for this reason, especially since there aren’t any obvious differences between the two.

Also take note that masago typically has a somewhat more bitter flavour than tobiko, in addition to having less crunch. This is why someone who is knowledgeable in fish roe would be able to detect these minute variations. However, many people are unlikely to perceive much of a change because roe is primarily used for decoration.

Ikura (Salmon Roe) (Salmon Roe)

Salmon eggs, also known as ikura, are a fairly common type of roe. These eggs are a vivid orange colour, but they lack the firmness of masago and tobiko flying fish roe.

These naturally rosy, orange eggs are actually soft varieties of fish roe. They can explode on your tongue with only one bite and are frequently referred to as “gooey.” Although they are less expensive than your standard sought-after sturgeon caviar, these are frequently salty and sweet.

Tobiko (Flying Fish Roe) (Flying Fish Roe)

Tobiko originates from a species of flying fish. They are very tiny fish eggs that, in many ways, resemble masago. It tastes faintly sweet, smoky, and salty and is distinctively crunchy. They are frequently found folded up like an avocado half or a cucumber cup. Additionally, they can be coloured a variety of colours, such as red, yellow, and black.

But do not fret. Yuzu is used to colour the tobiko yellow, while squid ink is used to colour the tobiko black, and other natural materials are used in this “dye.”

Uni (Sea Urchin Roe) (Sea Urchin Roe)

Sea urchin roe and uni are both obtained from them. Uni, in contrast to the others, has a fairly thick consistency and a buttery flavour. They are manually cut, prepared, and frequently consumed uncooked. They are occasionally pureed and turned into sauce.

In any case, you can find these orange-yellow fish eggs with a bumpy surface on sushi rolls and other Japanese foods like pasta or butter.

Caviar (Sturgeon Roe) (Sturgeon Roe)

Sturgeon caviar derives from the sturgeon animal, as its name suggests. What is commonly referred to as “caviar” is actually these salted unfertilized eggs. When it comes to exquisite cuisine, they are regarded as the pinnacle of luxury. This fish’s roe, in contrast to many other caviar varieties, can be either black or gold, with the gold variation being among the most uncommon.

Cauvery Caviar

Whitefish caviar often has a light, crisp flavour as opposed to sturgeon caviar, which is frequently described as tasting like salty ocean water. It looks bright (bright orange-yellow) and is undoubtedly made from whitefish.

Salmon Caviar

Ikura and trout eggs have a similar feel and look. They come from the female trout fish. When you bite into these vivid orange roe, they pop in your mouth with a satisfying pop and are slightly firm.

Similar to Ikura, they are substantially larger than typical tobiko or masago roe, making them potentially more aesthetically pleasing and pleasurable to consume.

Hen’s Eggs

In Japanese cuisine, herring roe, also known as kazunoko, is particularly unique. Every Japanese New Year, this female fish, which derives from herring, is used in festive meals.

Roe Capelin

Masago roe includes capelin roe. It originates from the smelt-family fish capelin. Capelin roe is therefore similar to other masago roe in that it is quite tiny and has the expected orange-red hue.

Roe Pollock

Since pollock roe belongs to the same family as cod, it is possible to classify it as cod roe. In Japanese cuisine, dishes like Tarako and Mentaiko frequently incorporate them. They aren’t often seen in sushi, though, unlike other kinds of roe.

Additionally, pollock roe differs from other fish roe in that it frequently has a membrane covering and can be chewy. Both the skin and the roe can be eaten uncooked.

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What on earth is the orange substance on sushi rolls?

The “orange substance” you typically find on sushi rolls is eggs. They aren’t just any eggs, either. “Roe” refers to what are actually fish eggs. As we have seen, there are many different kinds of fish eggs that can be found on sushi rolls. These eggs can have a range of textures and are fully mature, but they have not yet been fertilised.

Keep in mind that there are various varieties of orange eggs that you may see on sushi. Roe and caviar come in a wide range of hues, tastes, and textures, but the orange varieties are most frequently tobiko, masago, or ikura roe.

Sushi’s orange balls: are they fish eggs?

They do! Although orange balls on sushi may initially appear to be standard garnish, they are actually edible fish eggs. These orange balls have a distinct flavour, and the texture and flavour may change depending on the kind.

Keep in mind that tobiko, masago, and ikura are often orange in colour.

You might also find different sorts of fish eggs, or caviar, on your sushi. They come in a variety of hues, including black, red, yellow, and even gold. If you’re particularly curious, try asking the person, store, or restaurant selling it what kind of fish roe it is because the kinds of fish roe that go well with sushi rolls can differ.

What Are the Crunchy Ingredients in Sushi?

Depending on the component of sushi you’re referring to. Depending on the type of sushi you’re eating, it could have a variety of crunchy qualities that can’t all be attributed to the same thing.

For instance, some sushi rolls include breadcrumbs on them. The exterior of the sushi is typically covered in breadcrumbs, which frequently have a toasted brown or tan hue.

On the other hand, some varieties of sushi could include tempura flakes or crunchy onions. In this instance, the ingredients listed above or a combination of these ingredients and the breadcrumbs will be the cause of the crunchy sensation you are presently experiencing.

Last but not least, as you may have already suspected, the crunchy “stuff” atop your sushi rolls may actually contain fish eggs. Fish eggs come in a variety of textures, some of which are mushy and gooey, while others, particularly the smaller orange variants, are crunchy. Therefore, it’s possible that you’re consuming colourful flying fish roe or another type of fish roe that has a pleasing crunch and a salty flavour.

Why Do Sushi Have Black Fish Eggs?

Sushi may contain a range of fish roe types, including black fish eggs. Black eggs are most frequently sturgeon caviar, however this isn’t always the case.

Some varieties of caviar, as was already mentioned, are naturally coloured. You may be consuming any form of roe that has been simply dyed black in this situation. However, naturally black roe is typically black sturgeon caviar or your standard-yet-expensive black lumpfish caviar.

How Are Eggs Obtained for Sushi?

Depending on the roe or caviar utilised, there are many methods for obtaining eggs for sushi. The most common types of roe will be mentioned in this piece, though I won’t go into depth on how they are harvested for all of them.

How Is Caviar Made From Harvested Roe?

Fish roe can be obtained in a variety of methods and transformed into caviar. Let’s look at a few different marine animal species and how their roe is obtained.


Japanese flying fish roe is not particularly challenging to harvest. Thankfully, the way flying fish naturally behave makes for simple harvesting. On seaweed, female flying fish lay their eggs. Then, when the mother has dropped them, skilled harvesters take advantage of these deposits by gathering them. The harvesters frequently lay out their own seaweed to entice mother fish to release her eggs. The method for gathering colourful flying fish roe is quick, easy, and non-intrusive.

Salmon Roe Ikura

Ikura, or salmon roe, can frequently be gathered in a number of methods. One of the most popular methods is to simply do a c-section-like procedure to remove the fish eggs. Harvesters can extrapolate the survival of the eggs and the salmon by making an incision.

But in other cases, the fish might be put to death. When salmon is caught in the wild, this method is particularly well-liked. To prevent the carcass from going to waste, the dead salmon is then typically sold on the market as meat.

Steer Caviar

Typically, female sturgeon fish are slaughtered to collect caviar the old-fashioned way. This is typically accomplished by quickly killing the fish and retrieving her eggs after making her unconscious in cool water. By doing it this manner, the sturgeon eggs are guaranteed to be fresh.

Having said that, there are several techniques for collecting sturgeon eggs. Sturgeon eggs can now be removed using modern technologies without harming or killing the fish. In essence, the female sturgeon is massaged to release her eggs. The drawback of this is that it could alter the caviar’s consistency and general freshness.


Masago fish eggs, which are distinguished by their vivid red-orange hue, are also gathered in accordance with this species of fish’s innate habits. The capelin will lay eggs in their native habitat, much like flying fish, which are later harvested and utilised as smelt roe.

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Hello there! Cuisine Cravings Team is a group of people who are passionate about Kitchen Ideas that developed this website to educate people on the finest kitchen techniques. We publish articles that focus on basic and fundamental cooking ideas for all levels of chefs, from beginners to specialists! Our objective is to remove the guesswork out of meal preparation so you may worry less and enjoy more! Food is an important aspect of our life, and we are excited to share our knowledge with you!

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