Oshaburi Kombu: A Classic Japanese Kelp Seaweed Snack
Seaweed is one of the indispensable parts of Japanese food culture, and especially, Wakame and Kombu are representatives of such edible seaweed.
Wakame is often used in miso soups and salads, while Kombu, or edible kelp, is typically prepared to make soup stock “Dashi (出汁)”.
Wakame and Kombu are not only for Japanese cuisine but in Japan, there are even a variety of snacks made with them.
Among those Japanese treats, “Kuki Wakame (茎わかめ)” is one of the most loved Wakame snacks, and I think Nakano Miyako Kombu is probably the most famous Kombu snack product.
As I talked in this article, the “Miyako Kombu (都こんぶ)” is a tender, sweet-sour kelp seaweed snack introduced in 1931 by “Nakano Bussan (中野物産)”.
Oshaburi Kombu (おしゃぶり昆布)
Nakano Oshaburi Kombu
Actually, in addition to the Miyako Kombu, Nakano Bussan has one more classic Kombu seaweed snack. The kelp seaweed snack is called “Oshaburi Kombu (おしゃぶり昆布)”, which I picked up today for this blog article.
Actually, Oshaburi Kombu has a long history and now is one the most common seaweed snacks in Japan, so other than Nakano Bussan, a number of Japanese food makers also produce and sell “Oshaburi Kombu”.
Then, what kind of seaweed snack is Oshaburi Kombu? and how does it differ from Miyako Kombu?
Oshaburi Kombu vs Miyako Kombu
First of all, Oshaburi Kombu has a hard, tough texture compared to Miyako Kombu. As evidence, here is a video of Oshaburi Kombu showing its hard texture,
and here is a video of Miyako Kombu for comparison.
As you can see from these videos, the former, Oshaburi Kombu is a pretty hard seaweed snack.
Ingredients and Calories
Besides, in the video, you may notice that whitish things are adhering to the Oshaburi Kombu strips. Actually, the salt-like stuff on the surface is Ume plum powder.
From the ingredient list on the back of the package of Nakano Oshaburi Kombu, I guess the whitish icing consists of Ume plum, Shiso (perilla) juice, Ume vinegar, and salt. Therefore, it is salty-sour.
In addition to these ingredients, bonito extract is additionally added to the kelp sheet for umami. By the way, the calories per bag (11 grams) are 28 kcal, and the Japanese seaweed snack contains 1.6 g salt equivalents.
The Meaning of Oshaburi
As for the Japanese term “Oshaburi (おしゃぶり)”, it actually means sucking on something. As this indicates, the longer you suck on the Oshaburi Kombu, the tenderer the kelp seaweed gets and the more the flavor and umami comes out.
Hence, you can savor the taste of Oshaburi Kombu for a longer time than Miyako Kombu.
Where to Buy Nakano Oshaburi Kombu
What I introduced here, Nakano Oshaburi Kombu is the best known Oshaburi Kombu, so the product can be bought in many supermarkets around the country.