Agar agar, arame, kombu, hijiki, nori, dulse, wakame. To many Americans, the names of these glorious greens (and browns and reds) are unfamiliar. But sea vegetables (aka seaweeds) have been a staple in coastal regions around the globe—from Japan to Iceland, Ireland to the Pacific islands—for centuries, and for good reason.
Sea vegetables are really green, brown, and red marine algae, and there are thousands of types, but only a few dozen varieties are in wide consumption. Although Americans have been slow to catch on to the culinary value of sea vegetables, they are finally starting to appear in the mainstream as additions to soups, salads, and even on pizza.
I think they’re poised to be the next kale. Here’s why.