Is Masago a Caviar?

Reviewed on 11/24/2020

Is masago a caviar?

Masago is a type of fish roe.
Masago is a type of fish roe.

Masago and caviar are both fish roe (fish eggs) from different species of fish. Only the roe from sturgeon fish is called “true caviar.” So, technically, masago is not caviar. Both masago and caviar are used as a garnish and not as the main ingredient. However, there are differences between these two types of fish eggs.

Table 1. The Differences Between Masago and Caviar

DifferencesMasagoCaviar
Type of fishCapelinWild sturgeon fish
ColorBright reddish-orangeRanges from amber or green to deep black
Taste 

Salty, smoky and slightly bitter

Salty
CostLess expensiveHighly expensive
Size Very small Size of a pea
Texture Less vibrantGlossy
Nutritional components

Protein

Fatty acids

Magnesium

Selenium

Vitamin B-12

Sodium

Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids

Amino acids

  • Glutamic acid
  • Lysine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Lysine
  • Leucine

What is masago?

Masago is a type of fish roe or fish eggs used mainly in sushi preparation. It is often prepared from the roe of the capelin fish found primarily in the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Capelin belongs to the family of small fish that are a meal for larger fish, thus making it a significant part of the food chain. Masago is highly nutritious and makes a great accompaniment with rice. Masago is commonly used in Japanese dishes and sushi rolls. Overfishing of these fish has been banned because it may cause disturbances in the food chain or ecological system.

What is caviar?

Similar to masago, caviar is also fish roe prepared from the roe of the wild sturgeon fish. It is one of the most luxurious foods that originated from Russia and the Persian empire. There are different types of sturgeon caviar, which include

  • Beluga
  • Kaluga
  • Osetra
  • Sevruga
  • Sterlet
  • Siberian sturgeon
  • White sturgeon
  • Hackleback
  • Paddlefish

The omega-3 fatty acids in caviar are anti-inflammatory and they are also beneficial for the function of the brain, heart and eyes.

What are the health benefits of fish roe?

Fish roe is very nutritious.

Table 2. The Nutritional Components of Fish Roe

NutrientAmountDietary value
Carbohydrate1.50 g1%
Protein22.32 g

45%

Fat6.42 g8%
Saturated fatty acids1.456 g7%
Folate80.00 mcg
Vitamin B1210.00 mcg417%
Vitamin B60.160 mg12%
Vitamin C16.0 mg18%
Vitamin D12.10 mcg60%
Vitamin K0.2 mcg0%
Calcium, Ca22.00 mg2%
Copper, Cu0.100 mg11%
Iron, Fe0.60 mg3%
Magnesium, Mg20.00 mg5%
Manganese, Mn0.010 mg0%
Phosphorous, P402.00 mg57%
Potassium, K221.00 mg5%
Selenium, Se

40.3 mcg

73%
Sodium, Na91.00 mg4%
Zinc, Zn1.00 mg9%
Cholesterol 374.00 mg125%

The health benefits of eating such a nutritious food includes

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References
Medscape Medical Reference

The Wet Lab


Lancet


International Food Research Journal


NutritionValue.org


Clinical Nutrition


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