Umibudo Seaweed: The Caviar Algae with Healthy Benefits from Japan

Japanese people are known for being healthy with long lifespan. One of the key factors is their healthy lifestyle, such as eating nutritious food. We all know they like to eat fish and possibly vegetables. Yet, Japan has a lot more in the table. Here’s one example:

In Japan, there’s one unique food called “sea grapes” or “caviar algae”. It could be considered as super food, because of its many health benefits.

Sea grapes are rich in nutrients; from vitamin A and C, zinc, iron and calcium. It also contains a high level of vegetable protein per calorie and a good amount of Omega 3 fatty acids!

Although people around the world might think it’s green caviar, it is actually a seaweed. Japanese people call it “Umibudo”. Originated from Okinawan ocean, Umibudo is edible and quite common to eat, even in other countries in Southeast Asia, such as Philippines.

Surprisingly, Umibudo’s popularity is just growing in recent years. It has even become a must-have souvenir when visiting Okinawa! Stores in Okinawa sells Umibudo in plastic containers or plastic pouches approximately from 10 years ago. Umibudo can’t take cold temperatures, so we can’t keep it in the refrigerator.

More and more people are finding new recipes to include Umibudo as a culinary ingredient. Japanese mostly eat raw Umibudo but seasoned with soy sauce or a combination of soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and mirin. More often than not, Umibudo also served with alcohol.

There are several dishes that can include Umibudo: sashimi, soba, natto, soup, eggs and rice. It also goes well with olive oil because of its enjoyable texture. Wondering how it taste like?

This tiny-grapes-shaped-like seaweed has subtle taste with a hint of seaweed taste. When Umibudo’s little bubbles “pop” in you mouth, it will release a little bit of salty taste that carry the scent of ocean. Umibudo is like crunchy bubbles filled with liquid. Imagine the unique texture combined with pure sea freshness!

Interestingly, the breaking of little bubbles called puchi-puchi in Japanese. Puchi-puchi is an expression recreating the sound of the burst of a small bubble. It has sensational feeling on the tongue, which not many foods can offer. Thus, Umibudo is a rather new special addition for Japanese cuisine that you should try!

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