Nori (Seaweed)

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Being an island, Japan has a rich seafood culture. Nori is edible Japanese seaweed, perhaps a unique sight for many first-time foreign visitors.  In Japan, Nori, which looks like a piece of thin black paper, is often placed on the top of the always popular Ramen noodles.

Japan’s oldest written history, the Kojiki, describes scenes of ancient Japanese people eating seaweed, and it appears in later historical records as well. These days, several locations are known for their production and processing of Nori. This isn’t exactly a recent development, as farmed Nori has replaced wild Nori since the 1600s. Asakusa Nori is a pioneer for processing Nori harvested from Tokyo Bay, utilizing the same method as that used for making Asakusa paper.

A sheet of Dried Nori is roasted slightly to enhance its natural flavor. Nori is used for Sushi and Sushi rolls, Onigiri (rice ball), Isobe-Mochi, condiment, Ramen and many other dishes.  Its powdered version (Aonori) is also available, and mostly seen in Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) and Japanese soup preparations.

Nori is also well known for its health benefits. It is rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, calcium, EPA, beta-carotene and amino acid.

Nori is also appreciated for its versatility, and can be eaten at all times of the day. Sweet and salty Nori roasted with soy sauce and mirin is a staple snack in the Japanese household. It also goes well with cheese and pasta, so it can be a nice dry topping for pizza or soup.

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Photo by Chiba Prefecture

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