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A story of our Karasumi
What we make is a Japanese traditional food called "karasumi." It is famously known as "Spicy Caviar." Karasumi is a premium delicacy loved by many people in Asia, but Sugaya’s karasumi is not typical karasumi; it's special. When you compare it with regular karasumi, you will notice the difference.
This unique recipe is based on what my great-grandfather invented 60 years ago for the inn business he was running in Fukuoka. The owner had many celebrity guests, and he was trying to create something unique and rare to please the VIP guests. He recreated and refined it, making it a tradition passed down through our family.
Typically, karasumi is made by smoking fish roe that has been salted. However, Sugaya's Karasumi uses mentaiko, which is fish roe marinated not only in salt but also in chili peppers. Since chili peppers contain umami naturally, they enrich the taste of karasumi.
At Sugaya, we finish most of our karasumi products not by smoking but by drying. While we also offer smoked karasumi, the dried method preserves the delicate and complex flavors. So, taste produced during the fermentation process becomes richer and clearer.
The karasumi crafted by the owner at Sugaya is so condensed—it is a harmony of intricate flavors. It's not just something you eat; it's more like something you savor. With just a small amount, you can enjoy the slow unfolding of aromas and umami in your mouth. In Japan, it's popular to pair it with alcoholic drinks such as sake or wine.
For us, eating karasumi is like sharpening your senses, and it becomes a meditative experience. It is a moment of special relaxation, freeing you from the tensions of daily life and the noise in your mind. We hope you will give yourself an opportunity to have moments like that.