Tobiko (it’s different from Masago!)


Hello! It’s finally October! There are some rumors this year saying that this year will be pretty cold around the Seattle area… But hey, that’s good news for those Skiers and Snowboarders out there~ Not to mention those kids looking forward to a couple snow days in the school year! As for the rest of you who don’t enjoy the cold, you’ll have to prepare for the worst and dress warm till spring… Speaking of spring, this time I’ve brought some information on Tobiko, which is known among fishermen to be the best season for collecting them! I bet you’ve come across Masago before living around Seattle, but rarely Tobiko!

What is it (type of fish, age, etc)


Tobiko is composed of two characters: Tobi (flying) and Ko (child). This is referring to exactly what Tobiko is — flying fish roe (eggs). So you might be curious; what does it taste like? Many people describe Tobiko as being “salty” or having a “smoky” taste. Other than that, it has a crunchy texture, or as some people would put it, “poppy” because they “pop” in your mouth.


You may also be curious why I mentioned earlier that it might be rare for Seattleites to come across true tobiko — Tobiko is a bit more rare as compared to its counterparts around here, because its main areas of harvest are oceans around Taiwan. (we’ll get into the details later)


But it’s easy to tell them apart from its brothers and sister counterparts. The easiest way to describe them would be that they’re larger than masago (capelin roe) and smaller than ikura (salmon roe). The taste is close to masago though, so it’s often substituted with masago due to similarity not only in taste, but how it looks as well.

What is it used for (sushi, poke, etc)

Although it’s commonly replaced for Masago, they are not to be forgotten! The most common dish around here would be for the infamous California rolls. It’s not just these guys that uses Tobiko though. For example …

Tobiko event with master sushi chef SHIN!

Next week on Tuesday 10/19 @ 8p, we'll be hosting a live stream at our Factoria mall location. This time we'll be learning about tobiko! If you have questions, give us a comment on our stream (or visit us live at Facoria Mall!)

Tobiko Gunkan Sushi

Similar to the Ikura Gunkan Sushi, the Tobiko Gunkan Sushi is built in a similar manner, except with Tobiko! Some people enjoy the crunchy texture that comes with Tobiko as compared to Ikura.

Tobiko Spaghetti

The famous spaghetti would be the mentaiko spaghetti, but this one is picking up popularity as well! Tobiko eggs are larger than mentaiko, so apparently it's noticeably different (and enjoyable for some!) according to those who've tried it!


This picture in particular looks more like poke, but the tobiko dons in Japan basically look like tobiko gunkan sushi, except in a bowl! The top layer is completely orange with rice underneath.

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As mentioned earlier, Tobiko is most commonly found around Taiwan. Specifically, fisherman go out during the beginning of spring to the Northern Taiwan strait to collect Tobiko. However, it’s not limited to this area of the world, as many types of flying fish can produce Tobiko, and it’s just as good as what can be caught in Taiwan! Tropical and sub-tropical waters are game, as well as the open ocean. Waters around the Northern Atlantic, and near Iceland are also known to have good Tobiko.

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How to preserve

Okay. So let’s say you buy some Tobiko for yourself. The best way to preserve it while keeping it handy is to Refrigerate it. It will last you around 10-14 days unopened, and 2-3 days after opening.


If you plan on preserving it for longer, it can be frozen for a couple months. However Tobiko is highly perishable, so it should be eaten within a couple of days once thawed!

Where can I get some?

If you want the raw ingredients, your local fish market / store would be the safest bet! Although they are caught in further locations, Seattle still does have access to the ingredients!


But if I should say so myself, the easiest way would be to visit us at Ten sushi ~ We use genuine Tobiko for our recipes, so be sure to come check us out in any of our three locations in Queen Anne, Factoria Mall, and #35!

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