What Is Capelin Caviar?

A popular ingredient of Asian food, Capelin caviar brings up flavors because of its distinct taste. These roes come from a capelin fish – a member of the smelt family. I’ll make sure you know everything about roe that’s commonly used as a topping in many sushi recipes.

Capelin caviar is made of capelin fish eggs. This fish, which length ranges from seven to nine inches, nests in the cold Arctic waters, North Atlantic and North Pacific. Its roes are sometimes called smelt roes, and in Japan are referred to as masago. Tobiko, on the other hand, comes from the same fish family, but in this case, it’s cousin, flying fish.

 Raw salmon with red caviar

If you’d like to know more about this delicacy and garnish your next dish with it, keep reading. I’ll share my experiences and knowledge about this tasty fish roe and let you know where you can get it.

What Is Capelin Caviar and What Does It Taste Like?

Capelin caviar is made from roe of a smaller capelin or capelin fish (Mallotus villosus). It’s one of the smelt species, and unlike many other smelts, the capelin doesn’t enter freshwater to spawn. Instead, it lays the eggs close inshore and even on the gravel beaches. These fish are considered as food to other sea animals like whales and codfish, but also to some land creatures such as seabirds and seals. They resemble sardines and have a greenish color.

Many are wondering if capelin roe is healthy and should they eat it. The answer is yes. Consuming it in small amounts, you’ll be boosted with a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12, magnesium, and selenium. However, there are many ecological concerns about its population. It’s because of their nutrition, but more often for their eggs. But, since it’s a more affordable caviar type with an amazing taste of anchovies, with a little “pop” to it, scientists are afraid this fish will get near the point of extinction like Beluga was.

Watch the video below and learn other interesting facts about masago.

How is Masago Different From Capelin Caviar

Is masago caviar? This question is very popular among foodies, especially those who love eating sushi. Capelin eggs are referred to as masago in Japan, and masago is also often called smelt roe. Since it’s a roe from a smelt fish, technically, it’s caviar because they’re both fish eggs. However, masago is more affordable than caviar since only the sturgeon roe is considered “real caviar.”

The color of masago is pale yellow, but often it’s dyed just to resemble ikura and tobiko. On the other hand, Tobiko is a bright orange roe from Japanese flying fish, and it’s a common ingredient for sushi and seafood dishes. Ikura is salmon roe and is known as one of the most appreciated ingredients in Japanese cuisine.

What is Tobiko

Tobiko is an egg from flying fish, and it looks very similar to the salmon roe, or ikura in Japanese. However, these eggs have different textures and are smaller with vibrant reddish colors. They’re used as a garnish or as a finishing touch to numerous meals, including sushi and popular California rolls. In many restaurants, these eggs are mixed with natural ingredients like squid ink or wasabi to boost the appearance and flavor.

How Does Tobiko Taste?

The most popular ingredient for sushi and other Japanese dishes is probably tobiko. You’ve surely seen it, but if you’ve never eaten it, then it’s the right time to do it and stop wondering what it tastes like.

If you’ve never tasted caviar before, you should know that it’s nothing like fish. Tobiko, for example, has that salty and smoky taste, which gives other ingredients a savory flavor. When you try tobiko with sushi, you’ll experience a unique crunchy texture without that chewy or heavy feeling in your mouth. It will most certainly elevate the taste of sushi on your palate.

Sushi on a black rounded plate

Caviar vs. Masago vs. Tobiko

While caviar, masago, and tobiko are the types of fish eggs, you should know they’re nothing alike. Caviar stands for expensive and more exclusive delicacy. However, all three kinds of fish roe are cured in salt, which actually brings them distinct flavors:

  • Caviar gets sweet and salty and can be eaten alone,
  • Tobiko gets a smoky taste, and it’s better to eat it together with other ingredients,
  • Masago has a salty flavor, and you can eat it alone or along with other dishes.

Also, they are all sealed in tins at a temperature a little above freezing in order to stay fresh. And with their extensive nutrient profile, many people find it enjoyable tasting these delicacies.

Where to Look for a Fresh and High-Quality Capelin Caviar?

Now that you’re sure what’s your next move – tasting capelin caviar – the most important question is where to get the best one. Luckily, there is more than just one place where buying this delicacy is possible, and you can be sure it’s only the highest quality. Here are some markets you need to explore and see what they have to offer you.

Check What Gourmet Foodworld Has to Offer

Gourmet Foodworlds is a great place if you’ve already tried sushi and now you’re looking for a topping that will spice it up. Capelin caviar is definitely a thing for you, and, luckily, professionals at Gourmet Foodworld have just the thing for you:

  • Tobico Capelin Caviar Wasabi are tiny firm eggs that add a delightful crunch to each dish you want. As an elegant garnish or topping, you decide. One thing is guaranteed the utmost enjoyment.
  • Tobico Capelin Caviar Black, with its dyed and flavored roes, provides chefs and foodies endless possibilities, no matter if served as an appetizer or main dish. It will impress your palate, that’s for sure.
A person holding chopsticks with sushi on a plate

Mariana Market Will Provide You With Opportunity to Try Royal Swedish Delicacy

If you search for products you haven’t tried yet, then Royal Sweden Capelin Caviar Large could be just the thing for you. I found it at Mariana Market as a great substitute for pricier Caspian Sea varieties. Although Capelin caviar is originally from Iceland, at Marana Market, it comes from neighboring Sweden. So, if you need a perfect addition to gourmet meals but with more traditional roes, then Royal Sweden is a great substitute.

Try Marky’s Highest Quality Delicacies

As one of the leading caviar connoisseurs, Marky’s is also one of the biggest caviar producers in the country and has a vast range of these delicacies. Here you’ll find only the finest quality of caviar that could be a game-changer for your previous experiences if you’re a newbie at this. Try two following delicacies:

  • Tobiko Black Sushi Caviar – they use squid ink to color these crunchy beads that originally have amber color. That makes them look nearly like the noble black caviar. And because they are small and firm, they are ideal for adding to traditional Japanese meals and achieving crunchy texture with fresh sea flavor. You can have this roe at the price of $15.40. Check the specifications of the Tobiko Black Sushi Caviar.
PackagingJar / Tin
FlavorDelicate and refreshing, these light grains are reminiscent of fresh ocean breezes
PreparationFresh Frozen, Cured with Salt
Storage Type12 Months Frozen
Shelf Life Refrigerated3 to 4 days
ShippingProduct is perishable and will be shipped via Overnight Shipping
SizeLight, tiny, ”Chewy” eggs
  • Wasabi Sushi Caviar – because it’s so widely used for traditional Japanese cuisine, it is also called the Sushi caviar. This is the product that is harvested in Iceland’s cold waters. Spiced with hot wasabi – a Japanese spice that makes these tiny eggs bright greenish with a strong spicy taste.
PackagingJar / Tin
FlavorDelicate and refreshing, these light grains are reminiscent of fresh ocean breezes
PreparationFresh Frozen
Storage Type2 Years Frozen
Shelf Life Refrigerated3 to 4 days
ShippingProduct is perishable and will be shipped via Overnight Shipping
SizeLight, tiny, ”Chewy” eggs

Add the Delicious Delicacy to Your Dish and Make It Special

Trying something new is always exciting and tasting capelin caviar is certainly one of the better culinary experiences. Making these high-end fish eggs as one of the main parts of your dishes will bring up the flavor. So, for Japanese cuisine lovers, this ingredient, including masago and tobiko, will elevate the experience that you just have to share with your loved ones. I personally find Royal Sweden Capelin Caviar one of the best in the market, and I like to impress my loved ones with this delicacy.