Japanese-English Glossary
Sea Vegetables

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aonori (aonori flakes)

Filamentous seaweed, dried and crumbled into flakes.

bo kanten (agar sticks)

Agar is extracted from algae and gets its gelling abilty from the polysaccharide agarose. Agar is freeze-dried to produce sticks, which can be boiled and then chilled to form a firm, opaque gel that is vegetarian friendly.

kanten (agar)

Agar (kanten) is extracted from algae and gets its gelling ability from the polysaccharide agarose. It is sold dried in sticks, or powdered, and is used in a similar manner to gelatin, producing a firm, opaque gel that's vegetarian friendly.


Konbu that is thinly sliced, then dried.

kobucha (konbu tea)

A hot, savory drink made using dried konbu (kelp) in place of tea leaves. It can be brewed by adding boiling water to konbu strips, or to kobucha granules.

kona kanten (agar powder)

Made from frozen and dried mucilage of seaweed, such as tengusa (agar weed) and ogonori (Chinese moss), then powdered.

konbu (konbu kelp)

A type of kelp. Often used in simmered dishes and for making dashi. Contains glutamic acid, a source of umami. Usually sold dried and cut into easy-to-use pieces.


Toasted seaweed crumbled into tiny pieces. Sprinkled over dishes.

mozuku (mozuku seaweed)

A filamentous brown alga, mozuku grows in long branching threads that look like noodles. It has a mucilaginous texture and is often eaten as a salad, or added to soups.

musubi konbu (konbu knots)

Thinly sliced konbu tied in a knot.


One of the most widely eaten seaweeds in Japan. Sometimes sold fresh, it is usually chopped and then processed into crisp, dry sheets.

tororo konbu

Compressed konbu shredded into fine filaments. It is most commonly used as a condiment for soups.

wakame (wakame seaweed)

A mildly sweet seaweed familiar to people in Japan from ancient times. Usually sold either dried or salted, it needs to be rehydrated appropriately before use. Most commonly used in miso soup and salads.