What are the Orange Eggs on Sushi?

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Sushi is a type of Japanese fresh seafood dish, with vegetables and seaweed. It has become very popular around the world, and is renowned for being a very healthy option—even appealing to people who like gluten-free food.

If you’re not familiar with it, however, it can be a bit daunting. So, to give a little bit of an explanation, in most cases you’ll find seaweed wrapped around rice, with either vegetables or seafood in the middle. Occasionally the fish will be battered. The majority of the sushi are formed into little rolls.

It comes with slices of optional ginger, soy sauce and wasabi. Wasabi is green, and has an extremely potent burn, so it’s advisable to use just a tiny amount on your food.

Orange Eggs in Sushi

Orange Eggs in Sushi
OAK and Rowan

Still, there are some items that make part of certain sushi dishes that may simply not be familiar at all. Some people query the tiny little eggs heaped onto some rolls, that are orange in color. It really isn’t something to worry about. It is simply a type of fish egg.

These fish eggs are sterile, and their orange coloring indicates that they are from the flying fish roe. Called Tobiko in Japanese, these little eggs range from 0.3-0.5 mm, and they have a mild smoky or salty taste, with a touch of sweetness. They are also very crunchy.

Some chefs like to add extra coloring, like red or black, to add artistry to their food:

tobiko eggs color
Credit: @int.marineproducts.inc
  • The black coloring comes from squid ink
  • Red coloring is made from beet
  • Green coloring emanates from wasabi

Types of Roe Used in Sushi

It’s also worth noting that more than one type of fish roe can be found in sushi:

  • One type is bigger (masago, or capelin roe)
  • Another type is smaller (ikura, or salmon roe)

Another differentiator is that masago isn’t crunchy, and it can be more bitter than tobiko. Ikura is gooey and delicate. It’s also orange, but can’t really be mistaken for tobiko.

However, sometimes Japanese restaurants will try to pass off masago as tobiko, because tobiko is more expensive.

All of these kinds of roe will mostly be used as decoration, rather than the main part of a dish.

How are Tobiko Used?

Tobiko is sprinkled on top of dishes as decoration, or used in sushi rolls.

Read More: 35 Fun and Tasty Sushi Filling Ideas

What Nutritional Content is in Tobiko?

Tobiko contains vitamins and proteins that are very beneficial for health. The list is as follows:

  • B12: This is important in the metabolism and the heart, and is used in the central nervous system and DNA synthesis.
  • Choline: It’s essential for healthy fat, and the transport of cholesterol. It also supports cognitive function.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: This is anti-inflammatory, and may help with rheumatoid arthritis and brain health. It also boosts heart health, and may reduce unhealthy cholesterol.
  • Protein: 16 g of tobiko will also contain 4 g of protein.
  • Sodium: It is also high in sodium, so be careful of your intake if you’re trying to reduce the salt in your diet.


See? Sushi may look out of this world, but you just need some facts to put your mind at rest. Now you can improve your weekly menus with these scrumptious dishes—even ones containing fish eggs.

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