Also called masago, smelt roe are the eggs from the type of smelt fish called a capelin. The most likely place to encounter them is at a sushi restaurant where they’re commonly used inside rolls or on top as a tasty garnish.
These eggs are similar to flying fish eggs — also known as tobiko — but are a bit smaller and have a less crunchy texture. Masago also have less vivid orangey-red coloring than tobiko, although it’s not uncommon for them to be dyed to more closely resemble the appearance thereof. They’re also often used as a substitute for tobiko, because they’re less expensive.
Other than being delicious, smelt roe also have plenty of nutritional benefits. Despite being low in calories, they’re crazy high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E, many different B vitamins, other minerals, and protein. Obviously, a great combination of tasty and good for you!
At Uwajimaya, you can find smelt roe in our seafood section, or on top of sushi in our food courts.