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Aug 22, 2010 09:42 AM

Seeking info re seaweed

I recently had a delicious seaweed salad. The seaweed was fairly bright, and uniform thin shreds. I recall it as having some crispness.

Can someone tell me what kind of seaweed this is, and how I recognize it at the Asian market? Is it tried, or wet-packed?

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  1. I think that what you had is prepared "seaweed" that is very common in Japanese restaurants. I put seaweed in quotes, because that product is actually seaweed derived, i.e., denatured alginate that is gelled, pressed through cutters or dies, then sweetened, dressed, and dyed with four different food colorings, to give it that bright, green color. The colors of the dyes are blues and yellows. I have found it in the frozen section of Asian grocery stores. I liked it too, until I saw the ingredient list.

    Real seaweed salad is fabulous. Buy whatever is available from the health food store, such as Arame, Dulse, Wakame, (not from the Asian grocer, as that may come from highly polluted waters), soak it in hot water, drain then toss with whatever you please. I usually use rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and little else except for the addition of sesame seeds, sometimes grated carrot and daikon, minced scallions, hot pepper flakes, grated fresh ginger.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pitterpatter

      I have a bunch of different types of seaweed in the cabinet and I use different kinds for different purposes. One thing I liked about the seaweed salad I had is that it had very nice "mouthfeel"--it was not limp, like the dried wakame I have (I think I have wakame among the different seaweeds).

      Are you saying that ALL the seaweed products I can buy in the Asian market should be avoided? I've been aware of periodic scandals involving tainted foods of various types from China and (I think) Japan.

      1. re: Howard_2

        You were probably having fresh seaweed, that was not dried.

        At least at the Chinese supermarkets in my neck of the wood, there will be tubs of fresh seaweed (or 海带, hai dai" in mandarin) in tubs of water for purchase.

    2. First thing I would do is ask the (presumed) restaurant where I had it if they can tell me what kind of seaweed they use. There's some chance, in my mind, that it was a prepared seaweed salad which can be purchased in some Asian markets.

      My first guess would be that you had some sort of kelp salad. Kelp is a wonder plant! But there are lots of other types of seaweed that make good eating. Have fun exploring seaweed! When I get really lonesome for the ocean, I put some dried kelp on to boil and play a record of surf sounds. Works best in a small enclosed room with a gas hot plate. hmmmm... Where is that hot plate and the ocean CD?

      1. Sounds like hawaiian ogo seaweed? I don't know of any Japanese seaweed that closely matches your description.

        1. I love seaweed salad and all the different varieties they come in. Next time a picture might be useful so we can all correctly identify and learn from it! Thanks.

          1. We are fortunate enough to be able to drive a few miles and collect 'turkish towel/sea lettuce/bladderwort and kelp off a very pristine beach on the WC of Van. Is. We make fresh salads. The dressing is simply a very small amount of home made Japanese mayo topped with a drop of fresh squeezed lemon juice. We dry the rest of the seaweeds and use them on pretty well everything'.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Puffin3

              Puffin3, that's awesome! That would be my first choice!! We didn't seaweed but we used to catch crabs & shellfish in the tidal zone as kids growing up. Also gathered wild herbs & edible plants in the fields too. Those were good days...