Pollock Roe
Pollock Roe

Processed Pollock Roe, usually in what is called mentaiko, is widely consumed in Asia, mostly Japan and less so in South Korea. In fact, a weekly magazine in Japan recently rated it as the most common side dish in Japan, attesting to its popularity.

The unprocessed roe is sold through a series of auctions in various locales round the globe-including Seattle. E & E Foods takes part in the Seattle auction, bidding for a number of lots each time. There are two seasons-A and B-and A Season has two auctions, one in March and one in April.

Customers bid on lots via written offers to the producers, but prior to the bidding process, a parade of inspectors from Asia visit Seattle's Pier 90 and 91 to inspect the latest harvest. Each seller's roe is laid on long tables, categorized by quality, degree of maturity and size, and most inspectors pass silently through, taking pictures and notes, before deciding on what lots to bid on.

It is a fascinating process and one that shows the diversification of E & E Foods' capabilities.