Here's Where The Flavor Of Kewpie Mayo Comes From

It wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination to call the United States the Earth's biggest champion of white-ish condiments and sauces. We eat it all, from ranch to bleu cheese dressing to miracle whip, cool whip, marshmallow fluff, sour cream, alfredo, tartar sauce, even creamy horseradish. And then there's mayo. Yes the stuff of dreams, the condiment to end all condiments that we slather on everything from cabbage to potatoes to that strange substance found pretty much only in the South known as ambrosia (via Serious Eats).

But when it comes to the best of the best in the mayo game, a country across the pond has us beat. Definitively. Japan, to be exact, has the mayo that American chefs can't get enough of, fans rave about, and David Chang called, "the best mayonnaise in the world, because it has MSG" in a story from Food & Wine. And yes, it does have different ingredients than your classic Hellman's or Duke's — including MSG — sort of. Kewpie mayonnaise is creamy, yellow and adds a hit of umami to dishes that everyday mayo just can't (via Thrillist and the Kitchn). Sorry America. Japan beat us at our own creamy game.

So what's in Kewpie mayo that makes it so good?

First off, most Kewpie contains the once-heavily-maligned salt substitute, monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Based on some flawed science and possibly racist views that flourished in the '60s, MSG got the undeserved reputation of being unhealthy and causing headaches (via FiveThirtyEight). Turns out, it's likely fine to eat. But unfortunately for us stateside, the American version leaves it out because of these lingering assumptions from a U.S. market (via Chicago Tribune and Thrillist).

Kewpie mayo also makes a few more key changes to classic mayo by using egg yolks instead of a whole egg-and-yolk mixture and rice vinegar instead of just distilled white (via Thrillist and Woolworths). The egg yolks, according to Kewpie, give it its distinctive richness, and rice vinegar helps give it a little added sweetness, the Kitchn tells us. Plus, have you seen the irresistible baby doll on the packaging?! So if you can find this coveted golden flavor-booster online or at your local market, don't be shy: it's just as good in devilled eggs as aioli, or to dip some fried chicken in. Just don't waste it in ambrosia.