This post is for all mentaiko lovers!
Did you know? There are actually a Mentai Park (it’s more like a factory museum rather than a park) in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, by one of the most famous mentaiko manufacturer in Japan, Kanefuku. They have a total of 4 parks across Japan.
This is Mentai Park in Oarai! There’s a huuuuuge free parking space, and you can spot the giant mentaiko mascot – Tarapiyo, on the rooftop from afar.
Haha. Mentai JunJun.
Entrance to Mentai Park is not only free, you are also invited to try their freshly produced Kanefuku mentaiko!!
Look at those chubby pocketful of spicy cod roes!
Other than free tasting, you can also expect to treat yourself to a few freshly made Mentaiko onigiri.
Inside the building is the factory of Kanefuku, where mentaiko is made, and there’s also a small museum/gallery to show you everything you need to know about mentaiko!
The different types of roe sacks of varying maturity contributes to delicate changes in taste.
On the day of our visit, they were manufacturing 5000KG (!!!!!!) mentaiko, and there were a total of 100 workers on duty that day!
I think that’s enough for 1o0 life times’ consumption for me even as a super mentaiko lovers lol.
You get to observe how mentaiko is made, from the harvesting of the roe, selection process, marination, and also packaging, either in sack form or in paste.
For little kids, there was even interactive game stations where you get to fix mentaiko puzzles, do quizzes and stuff.
Junya enjoying the interactive floor projection. With fishes following his footsteps ^^
After equipping yourself with all the mentaiko knowledge from the gallery, you can now head to the canteen with an appetite for the delicious little roes.
There’s jumbo mentaiko onigiri, mentai dumplings and even… wait what??!
Yes, mentaiko soft cream. Hmmm. Yes I love mentaiko but honestly I wasn’t very ready for that haha. Please tell me how it tastes like after you have tried it. (I’m pretty sure it taste just like “mentaiko-flavored soft cream”. lolol)
On the way out, to seduce your appetite further, the photo gallery that also serves as a collection of mentaiko recipe will give you good inspirations on how you can be creative with your freshly purchased products.
On the left is Mentaiko Kobu Maki, and on the right is Mentai Chikuwa
Camembert Cheese and Mentaiko Pizza. I’d have this, thanks.
Ika & Mentaiko Ochazuke on the left, and Mentai Scrambled Egg Dip on the right.
Crispy Mentai Chicken Wing (I supposed it’s a little like our version of prawn-paste chicken wing), and (OMG??) Mentaiko Fondue!!!!!
Mentai Cheese Spread.
The last photo, it doesn’t even need an explanation. This is just the purest, simplest and most perfect way of enjoying those tiny little roes bursting with flavors.
Next time you’re in Ibaraki Prefecture, do make a yummy trip to Oarai Mentai Park to satisfy your craving for mentaiko!!
Opens everyday from 9am to 6pm, free entrance with free parking!