Lately, the unusual sea grape has taken over the internet, appearing in viral TikTok and ASMR videos.
Maybe you came across this fascinating seaweed recently and want to try it.
Or perhaps you’re making Asian-inspired dishes for your family and wondering how to use this ingredient.
Well, shrug off the nervousness.
Today, we will discuss everything about this green grape-looking food.
If you’re wondering what do sea grapes taste like or how to cook them, you’ll find all the answers right below.
What are Sea Grapes?
Don’t be confused by its name; sea grapes are not fruits (not even close).
Instead, they are a species of green algae or seaweed found in the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific.
The scientific name of sea grapes is Caulerpa lentillifera.
However, they’re popularly known as sea grapes or green caviar.
Why the nicknames? That’s because it looks very similar to grapes or fish roe with their small green bubbles.
These bubbles are known as the leaves of the plant.
They grow on their stem, which is also edible.
Though American households are not very familiar with this seaweed, they’re popularly used in Oceania, East Asia, and Southeast Asia cuisines.
Sea grapes are known as umi-budo in Japan and are considered a renowned ingredient there.
In popular cuisines, sea grapes are usually eaten raw or with other side dishes such as rice, salads, and soups.
Some people also pair it with sashimi and ice cream.
So, if you’re wondering if sea grapes are actually safe for consumption, then the answer is a big YES.
In fact, sea grapes are believed to be highly nutritional as well.
They may help in strengthening bones and joints, improving eye health, preventing diabetes and stress, and lots more.
What Do Sea Grapes Taste Like?
Have you ever tried seaweed before? Then, you’ll definitely enjoy the flavor of sea grapes too, because they taste more or less the same.
However, sea grapes tend to have a slimy texture, similar to that of fish roe.
When you bite into its soft texture, it’ll burst into rich flavors, making a loud popping sound in your mouth.
Hence, many people use sea grapes to make satisfying ASMR videos.
The overall flavor of sea grapes will remind you of the ocean’s freshness.
They’re mildly salty, resembling the “taste of the sea.
” Flavor-wise, you can compare it to seaweeds like wakame and kombu.
However, most people enjoy eating these algae mainly for their texture and not the flavor itself.
The burst of each bubble in your mouth will release a briny, fresh taste, reminding you of clams.
Some people also say that chewing further brings about a sweet undertone and acidic taste.
Now that you know all about its flavor, what about its nutritional content? How healthy are sea grapes?
Well, sea grapes are high in iron, manganese, copper, and potassium.
Hence, they’re often compared with purple grapes in terms of nutrition.
In addition, sea grapes are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B, C, and K.
How to Cook Sea Grapes?
Whether you eat sea grapes raw or cooked, make sure to wash them properly.
You can do so by rinsing them in water and then soaking them in a bowl of cold water for a few minutes.
Soaking them in water will bring back their crunchy texture and freshness.
Sea grapes are widely eaten raw.
You can serve it on the side of your rice or just about any entrée.
Most people also eat this seaweed with noodles and soups.
When eaten raw, sea grapes will add a nice crunch and freshness to a dish.
It also does an excellent job at balancing out heavy and oily dishes.
Many people recommend you to try it with a dipping sauce like miso, vinegar, or soy.
This combination is particularly famous in Okinawa, Japan.
Here are some more creative ways of using sea grapes:
- Serve with beer and soy sauce.
- Use as an attractive garnish .
- Use as a sushi ingredient.
- Add to a hot cup of water .
- Add to your soups.
As we have reached the end of our post, we hope you’ve learned a lot about sea grapes here.
And now that you know sea grapes are equally delicious and healthy, you should definitely try them out today.
Wondering where to buy sea grapes? To find the freshest sea grapes, you’d have to travel to Southeast or East Asia.
However, we know that’s not possible for many people.
But the good news is that you can easily find this seaweed online.
Sea grapes are usually packed in brine when shipped to other countries.
So, once you get your hands on them, make sure to soak them in water to get rid of the brine and fishy smell.
And enjoy its freshness in the comfort of your home.