Asian cuisines and seaweed are inseparable. You cannot define one and not consider the other.
But today, this prized item has a significant part in the diets of coastal regions.
And that’s not all; these iodine-rich marine food transfers the flavors of the sea to the land masses, gathering more fans as it extends further.
What does seaweed taste like? Since they’re obtained from the seas, you might be able to guess their taste, but let’s delve deeper and see if their taste does justice to marine life.
What is Seaweed?
Seaweed is a collective term for several multicellular aquatic algae and plants.
Some are found in freshwater, while some are in marine water bodies.
The ones used for culinary purposes are edible seaweed cultivated only from marine sources.
They are considered nutrient-rich superfoods and are widely eaten in Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea.
Commercially distributed seaweed is sold in the form of thin sheets and jellies, and its color may vary from red to brownish-green or even black.
You can find them as ingredients in noodles, sushi, snacks, and stews.
People don’t consume it for its taste alone.
Seaweed is rich in essential fatty acids, fiber, iodine, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Yes, all these are packed in their flimsy seaweed structures, which is why they are a healthy food item for health enthusiasts.
You will even find people in coastal towns engaging in activities like seaweed farming.
What Does Seaweed Taste Like?
If we were to describe a seaweed’s taste using the five qualities, an umami flavor would suit it best.
They can even taste like minerals.
Some seaweed tastes like fish, while some taste like bacon, and they can well be a substitute for many other foods.
Edible seaweeds with culinary uses are also called sea vegetables.
And these sea vegetables come in different variants, each with its unique taste, so let’s look at each of their taste profile.
The Japanese Nori seaweed has a crispy texture like leather and a strong salty taste but becomes chewy once exposed to moisture.
It is prominent in recipes that call for an extra dose of brine, such as sushi rolls and noodles.
Another Japanese product, the Wakame, is dark green and has a silky texture with a sweet taste.
It is also called sea mustard and gives a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids.
The Dulse seaweed also tastes briny but has smoky elements in its flavor.
It has a soft texture, is reddish brown, and can sometimes taste like bacon.
Many seaweed snacks are made using dried dulse seaweed.
Kombu seaweed has a rich umami flavor, a firm and chewy texture, and tastes like mushrooms.
On the other hand, Hijiki is soft, less salty, and more earthy flavored.
Irish moss, a darker variant of seaweed, has a mild taste similar to oysters and clams.
One seaweed that many like to consume raw is sea lettuce.
It is mildly briny but turns bitter once cooked.
How To Eat and Use Seaweed?
If you’re a fan of the sharp flavors of seaweed, you can eat them without any preparation.
And wrapping rice balls or making sushi seems like something everyone knows about.
So, read on to find out some exciting ways to use this delicious treat.
- Seaweed smoothie: A smoothie? Yes, it sounds weird, but wait till you try it. Just add a teaspoon or two of Irish moss to a blender with your favorite fruits, and you’ll have the healthiest smoothie of a lifetime.
- Use as a garnish in salads: Some seaweeds are satisfyingly crunchy, and you can use this to your advantage. So get creative, crush them, and add them to your favorite salads for a salty twist.
- Substitute your potato chips for seaweed snacks: Most chips contain a high amount of sodium and are unhealthy. You can easily find seaweed snacks in convenience stores, so munch on them when you’re tempted to buy chips.
- Add them to stews: If you know some picky eaters who dislike seaweed, make a stew and see how it changes their opinions. Mushrooms, veggies, and tofu add exciting texture and flavor, so don’t skip them.
How to Buy Seaweed?
Eating fresh seaweed is safe but won’t last long in the pantry.
So, a dried and processed one is the one to look for when you want to keep some in stock.
While online outlets are an easy way to get your favorite foods, nothing beats the experience of buying them from stores.
And you can follow these few buying tips so that your next seaweed purchase doesn’t turn out wrong:
- Know your seaweed: Nori seaweed should be vibrant without powdery elements, while Kombu can have some white powder. Wakame should be glossy and Dulse, leathery textured. .
- Check the texture and color: When buying dried seaweed, it should be firm and appear vibrant no matter the color. If they are too crumbly or pale, you might probably be looking at stale and inedible items.
- Check if the product is free of moisture: Another thing to look for when buying dried seaweed is the nature of the packaging. If the seal is broken or the product has been exposed to moisture, the seaweed likely won’t taste good, nor will it last long in the pantry.
- Examine the nutrition chart: If you’re buying seaweed snacks, they’ll probably be mixed with different foods. So, quickly skimming the nutrition chart will determine if it suits your diet.
Seaweed was once a treat exclusively for the coastal regions but is now celebrated worldwide because of its health benefits.
It is a prominent part of Asian cuisine, and you’ll most likely find them even in snacks such as noodles and chips.
With the worldwide significance that seaweeds have attained lately, they’ve found their way into more complex dishes, and smoothies and salads are some of those.
It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the many types of seaweed.
So if you’re out shopping, be sure to look at the ingredient list and get one that is in good condition.