Tarako, written 鱈子 or たらこ in Japanese, is salted pollock or cod roe. A popular and versatile food, it is enjoyed in many ways in Japan ranging from raw or grilled on rice, mixed with mayonnaise as a dressing or seasoning for various salads, and much more.

keiphoto | © PIXTA

It is often used interchangeably with its spicy cousin mentaiko 明太子 (sometimes called 辛子明太子 karashi mentaiko) in which chili peppers are added to the brine during the curing process.

One of the most famous uses for tarako (and mentaiko, to a lesser degree) is combined with spaghetti, known as たらこスパゲッティ tarako supagettī, typically abbreviated as たらスパ tarasupa. The recipe originated in 1967 at the pasta restaurant 壁の穴 Kabe no Ana in Shibuya, Tokyo when a customer who had lived in Italy requested the chef to make pasta using a tin of caviar which he had brought with him. The result was so delicious that the chef considered adding it to the menu, but since caviar was prohibitively expensive, he replaced it with tarako.

The basic recipe calls for tarako, oil, soy sauce and a sprinkle of shredded nori seaweed on top. Eventually, other variations appeared, one of the most popular ones being tarako cream sauce.

"Tsumi na Tarasupa": sinfully good Tarasupa

Although tarasupa is a common dish, often appearing in restaurant menus and on dinner tables within many Japanese homes, you usually don't find more than one tarasupa dish, perhaps two at most on a menu, let alone an entire restaurant specializing in it.

Until now, that is.

In what is most probably a world's first, you can enjoy not one, not two, but a total of seven delicious variations of tarasupa at a specialty restaurant called 罪なたらすぱ tsumi na tarasupa opening tomorrow, November 6th in Nishi Shinbashi, Tokyo.

In case you're wondering about the name, the adjective 罪な tsumi na means both "sinful" in the conventional sense, but can also mean "seductive" or "alluring." In other words, it's meant to be sinfully good pasta.

The brainchild of Y Create Inc. founder Yusuke Moriyama and with guidance from gourmet instructor @annnnyannnn2, Tsumi na Tarasupa delivers seven sinful tarasupa dishes made with well-practiced Italian cooking techniques.

Prices begin at 850 JPY + tax.

Let's take a look at some of the choices.

Mentaiko Cream

Combining the spicier mentaiko with cream sauce, this is a classic.

Japanese style garlic butter tarasupa

The flavor of myōga ginger and shiso leaf and the crunchy texture of tobikko flying fish roe make this a knockout.

Rich tara-bonara

An original interpretation of carbonara, blending egg yolks, parmesan cheese and tarako in a sinfully rich and tasty pasta dish.

In addition to four more variations, you can also find side dishes on the menu such as light and crispy lean chicken breast tempura sticks, soft-boiled omelette, and others.

Shop Information

  • Name (JP): 罪なたらすぱ
  • Transliteration: Tsumi na tarasupa
  • Address (JP): 〒105-0003 東京都港区西新橋1丁目20-10
  • Address (EN): 1-20-10 Nishi-Shinbashi Minato-ku Tokyo 105-0003
  • Hours: From 11:00 to 20:00, closed weekends and national holidays
  • Tel: 03-6205-8484
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By - Ben K.