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Nori vs Wakame: What’s the Difference?

It’s no surprise that Japanese cuisine has been winning hearts all over the world for quite some time now.

What might be a little bit less well-known, however, is the tricky and wide variety of seaweeds used to make many of these beloved dishes.

Two seaweeds in particular—nori and wakame—are two peas in a seafaring pod; they are commonly mistaken as one another because they look similar and are both integral parts of Japanese meals.

But don’t let their similarity deceive you: there are fundamental differences between nori and wakame that separate them far beyond just appearance!

Read on if you want to learn more about the subtle yet essential distinction between nori vs wakame so you can get your seaweed game right every single time.

What is Nori?

Nori is a type of seaweed that is most commonly used for making sushi.

It has a thin, paper-like texture and is typically sold in sheets.

Nori is dark green in color and has a slightly salty taste.

It is high in iodine, vitamin B12, and protein.

If you’re unfamiliar with nori, it can be helpful to know what it looks and tastes like before trying it out in a recipe.

The paper-like texture can take some getting used to, but many people enjoy the slightly salty flavor of nori.

In terms of uses, nori is most often associated with sushi.

It’s used to wrap around rice and other fillings before being sliced into bite-sized pieces.

However, it can also be crumbled up and sprinkled on top of soups or salads for added flavor and nutrition.

Overall, nori is a versatile ingredient that offers a range of health benefits.

If you’re interested in exploring new types of cuisine or looking for ways to incorporate more nutrient-dense foods into your diet, it’s worth giving Nori a try.

What is Wakame?

Wakame is a type of seaweed commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

It is a brownish-green type of seaweed that grows in cold, shallow water.

Wakame has been an integral part of the Japanese diet for centuries and is known for its delicate flavor and crunchy texture.

Wakame can be found in many Japanese dishes, including miso soup, salads, and sushi rolls.

It can also be used to garnish various dishes or consumed as a snack.

Wakame contains many essential vitamins and minerals, such as iodine, calcium, and iron.

Additionally, it is rich in fiber, making it ideal for digestion.

Overall, wakame has been highly valued in Japan for its nutritional profile and delicious taste.

It is widely used in traditional Japanese cooking and continues to gain popularity worldwide.

Differences Between Nori and Wakame

Nori and wakame are two types of seaweed that are commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

They share some similarities, but there are also several differences between them.

Nori is darker in color compared to wakame which usually appears deep green or brown.

More importantly, their tastes differ with nori having a mild flavor characterised by a slight sweetness while wakame has a unique salty taste.

In terms of uses, Nori is mostly used as an ingredient for making sushi rolls, or as a garnish, whereas Wakame is perfect for miso soup or salads.

Apart from their taste and uses, their texture also differs as Nori can be crispy yet tender on moistening, while Wakame tends to be soft, pallidly slippery but with a slight crunch coming from its stems.

Lastly, looking at nutrition aspects, Nori is an excellent source of essential amino acids such as vitamin A & C which play various roles in body functions while Wakame is highly-rich with iodine that supports thyroid function among other functions.

Appearance and Texture

When it comes to seaweed, appearance and texture play a significant role in distinguishing one type from another.

Nori and wakame, two of the most popular seaweeds used in Japanese cuisine, have distinct appearances that set them apart from each other.

As you can see from the table above, nori has a dark green or black color with a smooth and shiny surface.

It is often used as sushi wrap due to its thin and crispy texture.

On the other hand, wakame has a brownish-green color with long leaves that are slightly wrinkled.

When cooked, it becomes soft and chewy – making it perfect for soups.

In terms of texture, nori is best described as paper-thin sheets that turn crispy when toasted or roasted.

In contrast, wakame has broad leaves that are more delicate than nori.

Wakame can be eaten raw in salads or pickled but is typically reconstituted by soaking before cooking because of its tough texture.

With appearance being one of the most obvious differences between nori and wakame, understanding their unique textures helps distinguish these two seaweeds when adding to dishes.

Taste and Flavor

When it comes to taste and flavor, nori and wakame have distinct differences.

Nori has a mild, slightly sweet taste that is often described as nutty or savory.

It is also known for its crispy texture which becomes chewy once it is hydrated.

On the other hand, wakame has a more subtle flavor that is in the realm of umami with a slight saltiness.

The texture of wakame is soft and it becomes slippery when soaked in water.

In terms of usage, nori is often used as a wrap for sushi whereas wakame is commonly used in soups and salads.

However, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to using these seaweeds.

It all depends on how you want to incorporate them into your dishes.

Overall, while both types of seaweed come from the same group of red algae called Porphyra, they offer different tastes and textures that can complement various dishes and cuisines.

Nutritional Value

When it comes to comparing nori and wakame, one important aspect to consider is their nutritional value.

Both seaweeds are known for being rich in nutrients, but they do have some differences in terms of their specific nutritional profiles.

As shown by the table, nori tends to be higher in protein and fiber compared to wakame.

It is also known for having particularly high levels of vitamins A and C, which are important for immune health and skin health, respectively.

Nori can also be a good source of minerals like iron.

Wakame, on the other hand, is an excellent source of iodine – an essential mineral that plays a role in thyroid function and overall metabolism.

In fact, wakame has some of the highest concentrations of iodine among all edible seaweeds.

In addition to these nutrients, both nori and wakame contain antioxidants – compounds that can help reduce inflammation and protect against cell damage.

Overall, both nori and wakame are highly nutritious foods that offer a variety of health benefits.

Culinary Uses

When it comes to culinary uses, both nori and wakame are highly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.

As you can see from the table, nori is specifically used for making sushi wraps and as a seasoning, in the form of furikake.

On the other hand, wakame is primarily used as an ingredient in salads and soups.

It’s also commonly used as a tempura coating for deep-fried dishes.

Both nori and wakame are also popularly used in Japanese cuisines such as miso soup, poke bowls, and udon noodles.

Nori sheets can be toasted or roasted for added flavor, while wakame can be soaked in water before being added to soups or salads.

In summary, nori and wakame offer distinctive flavors and textures that lend themselves well to various culinary applications.

Similarities Between Nori and Wakame

Nori and wakame are both types of seaweed commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

They share several similarities in terms of nutritional value, taste, texture, and versatility in cooking.

As you can see from the table above, both nori and wakame have similar nutritional values.

They are both rich in iodine which helps maintain thyroid health.

Nori is also a great source of vitamins A and C while wakame has high levels of calcium.

In terms of taste, nori has a savory/salty flavor often compared to umami while wakame has a mild, slightly sweet taste.

Both types of seaweed have distinctive textures as well – nori is crispy when roasted or grilled while wakame is chewy when rehydrated.

Lastly, both nori and wakame are versatile ingredients used in various dishes.

Nori is primarily used for sushi rolls and wraps but it’s also added as a seasoning to many Japanese dishes.

On the other hand, wakame is commonly found in soups, salads and noodle dishes like miso soup or seaweed salad.

How to Use Nori and Wakame in Cooking?

To use nori and wakame in cooking, you need to understand how they can be used in different dishes.

When using nori and wakame in cooking, keep in mind their different textures and flavors.

Nori has a crispy texture and savory umami flavor, while wakame is soft and tender with a slightly sweet taste.

This means that while nori is great for adding crunch and depth of flavor, wakame is best suited for adding some sweetness to balance out other flavors.

In sushi-making, nori is traditionally used as the wrapper for rolls.

However, it can also be cut into thin strips as a topping for sashimi or other dishes.

Meanwhile, wakame can be added to the filling of sushi rolls, chopped up for salads or served simply as a side dish.

In soups, crumbled nori adds saltiness to miso soup without overwhelming other flavors.

Similarly, wakame softens quickly when soaked in liquids such as soup broth making it perfect to add directly to your soups.

For salads and snacks: Nori makes great additions when sliced thinly into strips providing crisp texture that complements vegetables well; Wakame is a versatile ingredient, too, and can be used as the base for Korean-style salads or simply served with sesame oil and chili flakes.

When it comes to snack time both nori and wakame are perfect choices to grab for a salty crunch beside your beverage.

Where to Buy Nori and Wakame?

Nori and wakame are both popular types of seaweed used in various dishes.

If you’re wondering where to buy nori and wakame, there are several options available.

You can find nori and wakame at most Asian grocery stores or health food stores.

Many mainstream supermarkets also carry these products in their international or specialty sections.

Additionally, you can purchase nori and wakame online from various retailers.

Keep in mind that availability may vary depending on your location and the season.

It’s always best to call ahead or check online for product availability before making a trip.

When shopping for nori and wakame, make sure to look for high-quality sources that are sustainably harvested.

It’s also important to check for any added ingredients or processing methods that may affect the taste or quality of the seaweed.


To summarize, both nori and wakame are popular seaweeds used in Japanese cuisine.

While nori is often used for wrapping sushi rolls and is typically toasted, wakame is commonly added to soups and salads and is usually served in a rehydrated form.

Overall, whether you prefer the crispy texture of nori or the softness of wakame comes down to personal preference.

However, incorporating either of these nutrient-packed seaweeds into your diet can offer numerous health benefits.

So why not give them a try?

Nori vs Wakame: What’s the Difference?

Andrew Gray
Looking for a comparison between nori and wakame? We'll examine their unique qualities and culinary uses.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Nori
  • Wakame


  • Choose between two items based on your preference and availability.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option, using the appropriate ratio of ingredients.
  • Prepare it according to your desired recipes.
  • Incorporate them into your dish, adjusting the amount to suit your taste.
  • Enjoy the unique taste experience and experiment with different dishes to explore their versatility.
Keyword Nori vs Wakame
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