The grapes of waves. Okinawa’s green caviar.

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海ぶどう umi-budo is an Okinawan delicacy. The name is literally a “sea grapes” and it’s a tasty seaweed. No, it’s the tastiest seaweed I’ve eaten so far, and I’ve tried a few in Japan.

It’s caulerpa lentillifera. It’s also called the “green caviar“. It’s not cheap for a sea produce here, but still affordable. Yes, the taste and mouth feel are caviardesque. It has some resemblance with salicornia or samphire too.

It is loaded with nutrients, particularly minerals like iron and others vitamin. That’s one more Okinawan super-food. But anything they graze there would have magic powers, so they have no merit to still look like kids in their 90’s… You can feel it is loaded with iodine, and very salty too. If you like strong taste seafood you’ll love it, but that’s surely not for everybody. It’s usually eaten raw, with some sour or vinegar sauce to contrast it.

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DSC00184-001in sushi

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Try it some day !

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Go go-ya ! an Okinawan super food

That’s the beast. Goya. Say go-ya. It’s the infamous bitter cucumber. I didn’t like it much the first time… That really depends how it’s prepared. Now it’s one of my favorites.

What is great about it ? Well, it has all the antioxidants of dark greens, watery texture and hydrating property of cucumbers, fiber and also thanks to bitterness it’s great to eat in hot weather.

A few years ago, that was not common in Osaka. That’s known as an Okinawan vegetable. But people got hooked to it, and more was proposed on markets, then they tried to grow it even in “continental” Japan. So we get it cheaply in season, available all year. The hot season is ending now… but I still get it a couple of times.

Red seeds indicate extreme maturation in sunlight. They are good, just eat them at once.

There are white ones too, with similar taste.

You simply need to discard seeds and scrub the white part.

Often sliced that way.

Preparation tips :

1. eat it raw, or only slightly cooked before it loses vivid colors : salads, steamed, stir-fry, etc
2. you can reduce bitterness by scrubbing well, slicing finely and salting then letting 20 minutes and rinsing

What to do with it ?

kefta spag’
tofu chigae
pasta avocanaise

colorslaw
panda salad

As a drink :
Shiri-shiri with goya
Another goya shiri shiri

dashi’t pickles
Go~ya champloo~ and Okinawan soba
white bean goya
chakin egg sushi and natsu chirashi
white goya in pesto rice

Island pharaon’s

Too hot for food shopping. I ate F.L.O. (frozen left overs). Do you recognize the elements ?

Okinawan shiri-shiri drink (today tomato juice + awamori sweet sake + meyer lemon juice + shredded goya)
Okinawan rafute pig trotters with kombu.
Shiri-shiri and trotter lunch, Okinawan style

+

Organic couscous, moloukhia (reheated with green chilis and chick peas) and quail eggs.
Pain de campagne, moloukhia and ras-el-hanout chick peas…

Cal 694.5 F29.7g C81.0g P29.5g