Happy (belated) New Year! To kick off 2015 is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time: a short and sweet write-up on my favourite condiment of all time: MAYONNAISE! As a half-Dutch girl, loving mayo is pretty much part of my heritage. The Dutch LOVE the stuff and are famous for french fries with mayo, as immortalised in this great Pulp Fiction scene: To order french fries with mayo in Holland, you simply have to say, “patatjes met”, which literally means, “potatoes with…”. The vendor already knows that you mean, “with mayo,”. Growing up, I watched my Dad eat mayo with: poultry, vegetables, fruit, seafood, and basically anything that’s fried… When you’re eating plain mayo with all of the glorious combinations above, the flavour and quality is of utmost importance! Now, you may think that all mayos are created equal, but to paraphrase George Orwell: some mayos are more equal than others. So, without further ado, I hereby present the mayolympics. Represented here are mayos from continental Europe, Japan and the United States. These are all regular mayos that can be found in supermarkets and are consumed en masse by regular folks like us! FIRST PLACE Coming in at 1st place are the European varieties: Amora’s Mayonnaise de Dijon from France, and Holland’s Calvé mayo. Thrown in for good measure is another Dutch mayo producer, Remia, with a variety especially made for French fries (that gives you an idea how serious they are about mayo + fries). What makes the Euro mayos taste so great is that on top of the regular ingredients used in mayo (egg, vinegar, salt, sugar…) they add mustard. Also, they only use egg yellows in their recipes. There’s more aroma and richness in texture compared to American mayos. Euro mayo is glorious! SECOND PLACE Second place belongs to Japan’s Kewpie, with its iconic squishy baby bottle packaging. Kewpie has been around since the 1920s when the Western condiment was adapted to Japanese palates; it’s made with rice vinegar instead of wine vinegar (like in France), or distilled vinegar. Like the Euro mayos, Kewpie also uses egg yolks only. The result is a sweeter taste, despite having no sugar added. Another reason for the irresistible flavour? You may have guessed it: MSG. THIRD PLACE Last, and I’m afraid least, comes American mayonnaise. I’m not a big fan of these mayos at all. Actually, I’ll only eat them if there’s no other choice (which sadly, is often the case in non-Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong). American mayos use whole eggs (white and yellow) in their recipes, leading to a blander and lighter taste. I’m sure there are people out there who prefer that, but I’m not one of them. Interestingly, a shared ingredient in Hellmann’s and Kraft mayo is lemon juice.
At the moment, I have one treasured bottle of Calvé mayo in the fridge. It was a gift brought over to me by a dear friend all the way from Holland. But, I wondered – what if anyone reading this wanted to get their hands on some Dutch mayo here in Hong Kong?
I thought that the best people to ask would be the staff at The Orange Tree (a Dutch resto I’ve blogged about before). So, I gave them a call this morning and they kindly directed me to PrizeMart in Central, where they stock Zaanse mayo, AND stroopwafels.Zaanse mayo has a stronger vinegar and mustard flavour than Calvé – definitely a mayo with lots of personality! A total steal at only HK$16!!! Happy mayo everyone… Bakker x