Oshaburi Kombu : A Classic Japanese Kelp Seaweed Snack
Unlike many other countries, in Japan, people use edible seaweed as an ingredient in various types of dishes. Especially, Wakame and Kombu are 2 representatives of such seaweed. Wakame is typically used as a main ingredient in miso soup and salads, while we often take soup stock “Dashi (出汁)” from Kombu, or edible kelp seaweed.
Wakame and Kombu are not only prepared for Japanese cuisine, but there also exist a variety of snacks made with such edible seaweed in Japan. As for Wakame, as I wrote about it before, “Kuki Wakame (茎わかめ)” is a representative of Wakame seaweed snacks.
On the other hand, when it comes to Japanese Kombu snacks, Nakano Miyako Kombu is the most famous Kombu snack that has been loved by Japanese people for a long time. Miyako Kombu (都こんぶ) is a soft kelp seaweed snack released in 1931 by Nakano Bussan (中野物産).
Nakano Oshaburi Kombu
Nakano Bussan has another classic Kombu seaweed snack known as a long-seller, which I bought this time for this blog article. This Nakano’s seaweed snack is called “Oshaburi Kombu (おしゃぶり昆布)”.
Actually, in addition to Nakano Bussan, many Japanese food makers also produce “Oshaburi Kombu” snacks like this Nakano’s kelp snack. Then, what type of seaweed snack is Oshaburi Kombu?
Oshaburi Kombu vs Miyako Kombu
First of all, Oshaburi Kombu has a quite hard and tough texture compared to Miyako Kombu. Here is a movie of Oshaburi Kombu showing its hard texture,
and here is a movie of Miyako Kombu for comparison.
From these 2 movies, you can see that the former, Oshaburi Kombu is a pretty tough seaweed snack.
The ingredients of Nakano Oshaburi Kombu
Besides, you may notice that something is attached to these Nakano’s kombu snacks. Actually, the whitish stuff like salt on the surface is ume plum powder.
According to the ingredient list on the back of the package, the whitish powder is made from ume plums, shiso juice, ume vinegar, and salt. Therefore, it is somewhat sour and salty.
In addition to those, bonito extract is added to the Kombu snack as an umami ingredient.
The Japanese term “Oshaburi (おしゃぶり)” means sucking on something. As that indicates, the more you suck on Oshaburi Kombu, the tenderer the kelp seaweed snack becomes and the more the flavor comes out. Hence, compared to Miyako Kombu, you can savor the taste of Oshaburi Kombu for a long time.
Nakano Oshaburi Kombu is one of the most popular “Oshaburi Kombu” snacks, and it is available at many supermarkets and some convenience stores in Japan.