The Difference: Wakame vs Kuki Wakame vs Mekabu

As Japanese food is getting popular overseas, the recognition of the commonly eaten seaweeds in Japan is also increasing.

Among them, I think wakame and kombu (kelp) are fairly well known, but how about “Kuki Wakame (茎わかめ)” and “Mekabu (めかぶ)”?

Wakame vs Kuki Wakame vs Mekabu: Japanese Seaweed

Wakame Kuki Wakame Mekabu Parts

To get to the point, Kuki Wakame and Mekabu are both parts of the seaweed wakame.

As the illustration shows, the leaves of the seaweed are called wakame, the stem part is literally Kuki Wakame (“Kuki” or “茎” means stem in Japanese), and the part right above the roots is known as Mekabu.



Among these 3, wakame is the most consumed seaweed in Japan. It is healthy, low in calories, and has a delicate, slightly sweet, briny flavor and silky, satiny texture.

Wakame is commonly used in Japanese cuisine and can often be seen in Japanese soups (miso soup, ramen, clear soup…etc), Sunomono (vinegared dishes), and salad dishes. 

Kuki Wakame 

Kuki Wakame

The stem part of the seaweed wakame, Kuki Wakame is especially characterized by its pleasant crunchy texture and is used by making the most of that. 

In Japanese culinary culture, Kuki Wakame is often used in Nimono (simmered dishes), Itamemono (fried dishes), and Tsukemono (pickles), and can even be seen in snacks.



The part right above the roots of the wakame, Mekabu, when boiled, turns its color to green and produces sliminess. 

Mekabu is also a crunchy, low-calorie seaweed, rich in dietary fibers such as alginic acid and fucoidan, potassium, iodine, and calcium. 

Mekabu is often shredded and seasoned with Sanbaizu or Tentsuyu sauce, and sometimes eaten with Natto.

(Reference Page: )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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