Potato salad with mayonnaise and spring onion, selective focus
The Key Difference That Sets Japanese Potato Salad Apart From The American Version
By Garth Clingingsmith
In Japan, yōshoku refers to Japanese versions of Western recipes, and it has a fascinating history dating back to the mid-19th century. Some of Japan's more familiar dishes are yōshoku, like tonkatsu, curry rice, omurice, and a popular bento box addition — a yōshoku version of American potato salad.
The Japanese adaptation stays true to the inspiration — the potatoes are partially mashed, making for a more cohesive salad, while fresh cucumbers and carrots sub in for pickles or relish, and there's often some deli meat, like diced ham, added, along with a slightly more acidic dressing. However, it's the Kewpie mayonnaise that sets Japanese potato salad apart.
Kewpie is made only from egg yolks and adds glutamates to enhance the flavors and up the umami taste, whereas, in the U.S., those umami-boosting glutamates are provided by yeast extract. They also come in a distinct, vase-shaped plastic bottle akin to a tube of toothpaste, which minimizes oxidation and has two different-sized nozzles for dispensing Kewpie.