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The Different Types of Edible Seaweed

If you’re an avid sushi lover, nori sushi rolls will typically come to mind when considering which types of seaweed are edible. While nori is a popular type of seaweed and is available in many forms, there are other edible varieties often sold at health food stores.

These sea vegetables are different varieties of algae sourced from the ocean. The type of algae chosen (green algae, brown algae, and red algae) can slightly affect seaweed's taste, though they commonly share an umami flavor.

A few of the most popular varieties include nori, wakame, sea lettuce, kombu, umibudo, and hijiki. Most types are consumed roasted, though umibudo can be eaten raw. With nori and wakame being in such high demand, it only makes sense to explore these varieties further, from the taste differences to ways to use them in the kitchen.

Nori

As mentioned, nori is one of the most popular varieties of available seaweed often used in Japanese cuisine. This variety of edible seaweed starts as purple-red algae and, as it dries, becomes the recognizable dark green or black nori sheets. Nori is cut down and pressed into its form (or roasted then squeezed) to help the drying process. Many stores sell nori sheets for use in soups and garnishes.

You’ll notice a sweet, salty, and smoky taste along with the expected meaty flavor when consuming nori.

Using Nori at Home

Eating nori doesn't have to be confined to restaurant food; it's easy to make recipes at home or find snacks with that delicious salty, sweet, umami flavor. Here are a few ways you can eat this seaweed in the comfort of your home.

As a  snack-some of the yummiest roasted seaweed snacks include dried nori like Morihaku Nori Seaweed Wasabi Arare Crackers,

Morihaku Nori Seaweed Wasabi Arare Crackers

KoeKNori Seaweed Wasabi Arare Crackers,

KoeKNori Seaweed Wasabi Arare Crackers

 

Ohgiya Noriten Seaweed Tempura Chips: Wasabi,

Ohgiya Noriten Seaweed Tempura Chips: Wasabi

and Koikeya Potato Chips: Salt & Seaweed.

Koikeya Potato Chips: Salt & Seaweed

Or, enjoy the flavor more fully by eating dried nori strips from a Yamamotoyama Teriyaki Nori Jar.

Yamamotoyama Teriyaki Nori Jar

As a soup flavoring agent - you can make an easy version of soup at home with these prepared soup packs - Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen (5-Pack)

Sapporo Ichiban Miso Ramen (5-Pack)

and J-Basket Instant Cup Nama Udon: Curry.

J-Basket Instant Cup Nama Udon: Curry

They already have nori pieces in them, though you can always grab a jar of Tono Negi Nori Dry Scallion & Seaweed Flakes for some extra flavor.

Tono Negi Nori Dry Scallion & Seaweed Flakes

As a tasty spread - add it as a garnish to rice or noodles or spread it on your favorite crackers. Try these two delightful options Kuze Fuku Nori Seaweed Spread

Kuze Fuku Nori Seaweed Spread

or Kuze Fuku Enoki Mushrooms With Seven Japanese Spices Spread to add pizzazz to dishes.

Kuze Fuku Enoki Mushrooms With Seven Japanese Spices Spread

As a food topper - another common variation of nori includes smaller sliced pieces that are perfect for adding onto rice, soups, and even eggs! Give these tasty versions a try: Ajishima Furikake Nori Tamago

Ajishima Furikake Nori Tamago

and Kuze Fuku Precut All-Purpose Nori Seaweed.

Kuze Fuku Precut All-Purpose Nori Seaweed

As ingredients for homemade sushi or onigiri– they aren’t as tricky to make as you might think; prepare your sushi rice, slice your favorite raw fish, and mix in Nagatani Sushitaro Sushi Rice Seasoning (With Vegetables)

Sushitaro Sushi Rice Seasoning (With Vegetables)

for extra flavor. You can form your onigiri easily using the Inomata Onigiri Rice Ball Maker (2 pieces).

Inomata Onigiri Rice Ball Maker (2 pieces)

Finish them off by wrapping Yamamotoyama Roasted Sushi Nori Seaweed: Original (10 sheets) around each piece.

Yamamotoyama Roasted Sushi Nori Seaweed: Original (10 sheets)

Wakame

You may recognize this tasty option from seaweed salads or miso soup you have eaten in the past. Wakame begins as dark green algae and is dehydrated in strips. This seaweed is commonly sold dried or combined with salt in a refrigerated pack. Wakame has a sweeter umami taste than nori and offers a smoother texture than most other edible seaweeds.

Using Wakame at Home

This delicious seaweed option also bears some tasty at-home options. Here are a few of our favorite uses.

As a rice flavoring- mix it up by adding Marimuya Wakame Furikake Rice Mix: Seaweed into your sushi rice or other rice dishes.

Marimuya Wakame Furikake Rice Mix: Seaweed

As the base for seaweed salad- you can easily rehydrate Wel-Pac Fueru Wakame Dried Seaweed,

Wel-Pac Fueru Wakame Dried Seaweed

toss it with soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and mirin, then top it with white sesame seeds for a quick wakame salad.

As a soup inclusion – you can opt for making homemade wakame soup, or try one of the following premade soups: Kuze Fuku Wakame Seaweed Soup,

Kuze Fuku Wakame Seaweed Soup

Hikari Instant Miso Soup: Wakame (8 servings),

Hikari Instant Miso Soup: Wakame (8 servings)

Hikari Instant Miso Soup: Green Onion (8 servings),

Hikari Instant Miso Soup: Green Onion (8 servings)

Hikari Instant Miso Soup: Fried Tofu (8 servings),

Hikari Instant Miso Soup: Fried Tofu (8 servings)

Marukome Ryotei no Aji Instant Miso Soups (Assorted 24-pack),

Marukome Ryotei no Aji Instant Miso Soups (Assorted 24-pack)

or Marukome Ryotei no Aji Instant Miso Soups: Low Sodium (Assorted 24-pack).

Marukome Ryotei no Aji Instant Miso Soups: Low Sodium (Assorted 24-pack)

For more Japanese grocery snack and meal inspiration, check out Bokksu Grocery. You can order groceries online, including your favorite Asian grocery items. Bokksu allows you to skip the Asian grocery store and local health food store so that you can receive your favorite items right to your front door.

By Krystina Quintana

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