Skip to Content

Flavorful Japanese Delight: What Does Narutomaki Taste Like?

Ever bitten into a slice of narutomaki and found yourself surfing a wave of flavors you just couldn’t pin down? You’re not alone.

Narutomaki, that cute pink-swirled fish cake found floating in your ramen bowl, packs a subtle punch that’s hard to describe.

It’s like the mysterious cousin in the food family everyone wants to know better but can’t quite figure out.

Light, slightly sweet, and with a dash of ocean breeze – this is the snack that keeps your taste buds guessing.

Let’s take a closer look and unravel the tasty enigma that is narutomaki.

What is Narutomaki?

what is narutomaki

A much-loved delicacy in Japan and among seafood lovers, narutomaki is fish cake, a kind of kamaboko, or cured fish surimi.

It looks like a piece of cloud when sliced with a red or pink spiral design in the middle.

The pattern is meant to identify with the Naruto whirlpools in the Naruto Strait between Shikoku and Awaji Island.

Yaizu, a city in the Shizuoka Prefecture, produces the most authentic narutomaki.

It’s a versatile ingredient, so you can add it to many recipes.

Since it’s incredibly flavorful, a dish becomes even more delicious when adding narutomaki.

It’s because of this reason that the delicacy has gained so much popularity worldwide.

Minced catfish used to be the main ingredient in narutomaki.

But since a while ago, manufacturers have started using different varieties of white fish like Golden Threadfin Bream, and Daggertooth Pike.

Nibe Croaker, Chicken Grunt, Japanese Gissu, Gnomefish, and Black Bass are fishes that they use.

Some types may also have minced shrimp and squid.

What Does Narutomaki Taste Like?

what does narutomaki taste like

Narutomaki comes from white fish paste molded into a log and steamed.

The red or pink pattern in the center comes from a food coloring dyed into the half portion of the fish paste.

It tastes very much like gefilte fish, a traditional dish invented by the Ashkenazi Jews.

Gefilte fish is a popular food served during Jewish holidays like the Passover and Shabbat.

Narutomaki is also known as fish cake or steamed fish cake, and you can use the two names interchangeably.

In Japan, people also call it chikuwa, the traditionally made narutomaki.

In this method, the fish paste is cooked over a fire after you mold it into a bamboo stick.

Narutomaki may contain sugar and salt, but it has a very mild flavor with a chewy texture.

However, the degree of sweetness or saltiness can also depend on the quantity of salt and sugar used in the food.

Though a bit similar to gefilte fish, it is smoother and rubbery in texture.

Even though it’s made of fish, this delicacy doesn’t have a strong fishy smell or taste.

It’s due to the washing method before making the item.

Since it’s made of white fish and other seafood, narutomaki has a high amount of protein and calcium and is very low in calories and fats.

The number of calories may, however, vary from brand to brand.

For example, Yamasa Narutomaki Steamed Fish Cake has about 60 calories per serving size of 2 oz (55g).

Another type of Kamaboko has about 97 calories per serving of 3 ounces.

One more product has about 160 calories in one bag per serving.

You can therefore check out the nutrition facts carefully before buying any brand.

How to Cook Narutomaki?

how to cook narutomaki

Narutomaki is readily available in many stores all over the world these days.

So, if you want to use it in your dishes, you can simply buy a bag or two.

Even if you can’t find it at nearby stores, you can order online from reputed outlets.

Being a versatile ingredient, narutomaki pairs well with many items.

So, not just with ramen noodles, but you can add it to several other dishes.

You can.

  • Use it in cold noodle dishes like udon and soba.
  • Add it to dry noodle dishes like yaki udon and yakisoba.
  • Include it in dishes that use dashi broth like oden.
  • Deep fry it to make tempura.
  • Use it as protein-rich crouton in soups and salads. .

These days, enthusiasts also include it in dishes such as ramen stir fry and ramen burgers.

What’s more, you can even eat it as a snack with spicy dipping sauce or sriracha.

You can also make narutomaki at home using only the essential ingredients.

These are fresh white fish, mirin, eggs, salt, sugar, red food coloring, and white pepper (optional).

However, keep these points in mind so that you can make the tastiest narutomaki.

  • Choose any non-fatty fresh white fish mentioned above, or even cod and haddock will also do.
  • Mirin is an essential ingredient, but if you don’t have it use white wine or Chinese cooking wine as the last option.
  • A food processor can help you make the fish cake quickly, but it doesn’t matter even if you don’t have it. .
  • You can chop and mince the fish by hand too. But use it if you have.
  • However, you need a bamboo mat and steamer basket. .


Make different dishes using narutomaki and enjoy Japanese flavors any time.

Even if you can’t make the fish cake at home, you can get ready-made ones to fill the void.

When it comes to dishes, there are several, as described above.

So, you will never run out of ideas.

Every time you eat it, you will feel like eating something new and different.

What Does Narutomaki Taste Like? Does Narutomaki Taste Good?

Curious about the taste of narutomaki? Wonder no more! Find out if narutomaki tastes good with a quick exploration.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


  • Narutomaki
  • Ingredients from your favorite recipes


  • Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
  • Make sure to select a recipe that will elevate the food’s original flavor, and enjoy experimenting with different recipes!
Keyword what does narutomaki taste like
Did you make this recipe?Mention @AmericasRestaurant or tag #americasrestaurant!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating