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, and especially, Wakame and Kombu are 2 representatives of such seaweed.
Wakame is typically used as a main ingredient in miso soups 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 in Japan there exist a variety of snacks made with such edible seaweed.
As for Wakame, as I wrote about it before, “Kuki Wakame (茎わかめ)” is one of the seaweed snacks that represent Japan.
On the other hand, when it comes to Japanese Kombu snacks, I think Nakano Miyako Kombu is the most famous Kombu snack that has long been loved by Japanese people.
“Miyako Kombu (都こんぶ)” is a soft, sweet sour kelp seaweed snack released by “Nakano Bussan (中野物産)” in 1931.
Nakano Oshaburi Kombu
Actually, in addition to Miyako Kombu, Nakano Bussan has another classic Kombu seaweed snack known as a long-selling item in Japan.
The Nakano’s Kombu snack is called “Oshaburi Kombu (おしゃぶり昆布)”, which I bought this time for this blog article.
Other than Nakano Bussan, in Japan, actually many Japanese food makers also produce and sell “Oshaburi Kombu” snacks like the Nakano’s one.
Then, what type of seaweed snack is Oshaburi Kombu?
Oshaburi Kombu vs Miyako Kombu
First of all, Oshaburi Kombu has a quite hard, tough texture compared to Miyako Kombu. As the evidence, here is a video of Oshaburi Kombu showing its hard texture,
and here is a video of Miyako Kombu for comparison.
From these 2 videos, you can see that the former, Oshaburi Kombu is a pretty hard seaweed snack.
Nakano Oshaburi Kombu Ingredients
Besides, you may notice that there are whitish things adhering to these strips of kelp seaweed. Actually, the salt-like stuff on the surface is Ume plum powder.
In fact, according to the ingredient list on the back of the package, the whitish powder is made from Ume plums, Shiso (perilla) juice, Ume vinegar, and salt. Therefore, it is salty and somewhat sour.
In addition to these, bonito extract is also added to the Kombu snack as an umami ingredient.
The Meaning of Oshaburi
The Japanese term “Oshaburi (おしゃぶり)” actually means sucking on something. As this indicates, the longer you suck on the Oshaburi Kombu snack, the tenderer the kelp seaweed gets and the more the flavor comes out.
Hence, compared to the Miyako Kombu snack, you can savor the taste of Oshaburi Kombu for a longer time.
Where to Buy Nakano Oshaburi Kombu
Nakano Oshaburi Kombu is one of the most popular “Oshaburi Kombu” snacks in Japan, so it is available in many supermarkets around the country.