Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Chuka Wakame


  • Please log in to reply
36 replies to this topic

#1 ohev'ochel

ohev'ochel
  • participating member
  • 68 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Quebec -- CANADA

Posted 07 July 2006 - 04:00 PM

hi everyone! this is my first post to eGullet (gulp :blink: ) -- hope it works.

i have a question about something that i have been pondering for a while and am not sure has been answered here before. (if it has please re/direct me).

my query concerns the main ingredients of a sushi resto style salad. i have even seen it packaged in various japanese/korean stores but i have never got a straight answer as to what EXACTLY it is. the shopkeepers and resto owners keep telling me that it's "seaweed"! lol...maybe the language barrier doesn't help. the packaging just says seaweed also.

so here it goes... if anyone could tell me which TYPE of "seaweed" is used in it. i have replicated it myself at home using wakame but the texture is totally off. i also have ruled out hijiki and kombu so....what is left? [probably many i have never heard of!]. key to this salad is its crunchy texture.

i know that the other main ingredient included is agar which someone told me is dyed a bright green (oh yes, the salad is a nice bright green usually). when is agar crunchy?? :blink:

dressing ingredients are: rice vinegar, sugar/mirin, salt, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red chili.

thank you for your help -- i love this forum. constantly learning new things.

(have a picture of what it is supposed to look like; hope the photo gets attached).

Posted Image

#2 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 07 July 2006 - 04:47 PM

It is a little hard to tell but it could be ao tosaka, which is popular in salads and also comes in red and white varieties.
Some pictures and a recipe for a seaweed salad that looks quite good.

The problem is I don't really seethe frilled edges that the tosaka types have, and am thinking that it may be a type of wakame called kuki wakame.
a picture
While is doesn't seem to be as popular as the ao tosaka in salads, I have seen it served that way.

EDIT
and welcome to eGullet!

Edited by torakris, 07 July 2006 - 04:47 PM.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#3 Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki
  • participating member
  • 5,124 posts
  • Location:Shiozawa area of Minami Uonuma city, Niigata, Japan

Posted 07 July 2006 - 05:47 PM

It's hard to tell from the picture, but does this dish contain some kind of leaf vegetable as well as seaweed? And, why did you leave out kombu? The first thing that came into my head was kiri kombu or kizami kombu.
Kiri kombu and kizami kombu are often used in salad, like these:
http://www.misbit.co...e/mid00915.html
http://www.kikkoman....i?numb=00001232

#4 worm@work

worm@work
  • participating member
  • 148 posts

Posted 07 July 2006 - 05:55 PM

It looks exactly similar to a seaweed salad I adore and frequently order at restaurants. At the restaurants I eat this at as well as at the local Japanese store where I purchase it prepacked, its called chukka seaweed salad. I've tried replicating it at home as well and asked the Japanese grocer for more details. He said its a seaweed called chukka that comes from Hawaii.. I've never been able to buy just the seaweed though.. always the salad!
Now I'm really really craving this stuff ... gotta leave from work and pick up a pack on the way!

-w@w

#5 Kent Wang

Kent Wang
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,386 posts
  • Location:London

Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:39 AM

Very few places make it in house; they all seem to order it from somewhere. I've purchased 10 lb packages of the stuff -- I like it that much.

#6 ohev'ochel

ohev'ochel
  • participating member
  • 68 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Quebec -- CANADA

Posted 08 July 2006 - 07:17 AM

hi guys -- thank you for your replies so far. the question i posted is interesting to me in that the answer seems so elusive, like it's some kind of "secret" ingredient :laugh: .

worm@work was right, it's called chukka salad in restaurants [and like kent said, it's available often in bags or containers already prepared] but i am not so sure about the "chukka seaweed" part. i know there is seaweed called OGO from Hawaii but have no clue what the texture of it is like. worm is right though, it's addictive -- and good enough to buy in a 10 lb bag!!

tokaris - i have a feeling it might be made with the ao tosaka which would explain the texture part. i will dissect the salad the next time i get it to see if the edges are frilled or not. i know that it is cut into to strips and is usually a bright green. i have never had the kuki wakame you mention but i have seen it usually salted in bags. what does the word kuki mean in Japanese? i still don't get the agar part of it however.

hiroyuki, i found that picture somewhere on the net. it is not a very good one for detail, i know. i think the salad is on top of regular iceberg lettuce. it is not served here that way normally, just in a small bowl but i imagine different places serve it differently. i have never had the other kombu you mention; i have only used the very large one used for making dashi.

in any case, thank you all for your help -- it's more answers than i had previously!

#7 Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki
  • participating member
  • 5,124 posts
  • Location:Shiozawa area of Minami Uonuma city, Niigata, Japan

Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:16 PM

Does anyone know what chukka means? I don't think it's a Japanese word. Is it Korean? Does it mean seaweed?

#8 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:41 PM

Does anyone know what chukka means?  I don't think it's a Japanese word.  Is it Korean?  Does it mean seaweed?

View Post


When I initially saw someone refer to this salad at chukka seaweed salad, I thought it was 中華, the Japanese word to describe Chinese style foods but it should be written chuuka or even chuka. I tried looking it up on the internet and I all come up with is this salad and some boots! :laugh:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#9 mizducky

mizducky
  • participating member
  • 2,407 posts
  • Location:San Diego, CA

Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:50 PM

Does anyone know what chukka means?  I don't think it's a Japanese word.  Is it Korean?  Does it mean seaweed?

View Post

When I initially saw someone refer to this salad at chukka seaweed salad, I thought it was 中華, the Japanese word to describe Chinese style foods but it should be written chuuka or even chuka. I tried looking it up on the internet and I all come up with is this salad and some boots! :laugh:

View Post

I tried searching on "chukka" or "chuka" also, and in addition to the seaweed salad--and the boots :laugh: --also came up with a noodle salad: hiyashi chuka. I am not a Japanese-speaker, but I couldn't help wondering if "chukka/chuka" might signify some style of salad, or some other quality that the seaweed salad and noodle salad shared.

#10 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:55 PM

I tried searching on "chukka" or "chuka" also, and in addition to the seaweed salad--and the boots :laugh: --also came up with a noodle salad: hiyashi chuka. I am not a Japanese-speaker, but I couldn't help wondering if "chukka/chuka" might signify some style of salad, or some other quality that the seaweed salad and noodle salad shared.

View Post


This chukka/chuka, as in hiyashi chuka, is what Iw as just referring to as something prepared in the Chinese style. Hiyashi chuka could be translated into English as Chinese style cold noodles.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#11 Dorine

Dorine
  • participating member
  • 123 posts
  • Location:Center City Philadelphia, PA USA

Posted 08 July 2006 - 05:06 PM

I love that salad, too. My japanese neighbor says she always buys it ready-made at the Japanese market.

A good many years ago she taught me how to make another delicious salad using wakame. You need to soak a very small amount of wakame in very cold water; it expands amazingly. Slice up and toss with thinly sliced cucumber, then toss with white vinegar, sugar and salt.

#12 shinju

shinju
  • participating member
  • 198 posts
  • Location:Mountain View CA

Posted 09 August 2006 - 12:56 AM

I've also wondered about this very common seaweed salad found in most US Japanese restaurants. It's sold in bags imported from China (Shenyang Export) and is called hiyashi wakame. But, I'm not sure about the wakame part at all. The texture is all wrong for wakame. It isn't kombu. Ingredients listed as you stated (misspeplled agar agar to arga arga) - can't figure that part out at all. Unless wakame is somehow all dipped in agar agar to make them chuchy (I doubt it, but why agar agar). But, that does not explain why the wierd green color - it seems too green to me (a bit artificial color to me - I don't know though).

Could this be something from the river? I wonder how stringent food import law to US is. Maybe this hiyashi wakame is mislabled.

#13 SuzySushi

SuzySushi
  • participating member
  • 2,400 posts
  • Location:Hawaii

Posted 09 August 2006 - 01:57 AM

Hey, I live in Hawaii and I've never seen -- raw or dried -- the kind of "seaweed" used in this salad. It always comes ready-made (I suspect there's one factory in the world that makes it, because it always tastes the same and is dyed that artificial bright green). I wonder how much of it is indeed "sea vegetable" and how much is composed of agar-agar noodles.

"Chukka" I agree, is a misspelling of "chuka," the Japanese word meaning "Chinese-style."

It's not ogo (aka limu, which is a fine branch-like seaweed that's usually a purplish red.
SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."
My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

#14 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 09 August 2006 - 01:03 PM

I am just back from a month long trip to the US and I finally know what everyone is referring to! I saw this stuff everywhere, in every Asian market and even in all the local supermarkets in the deli sections near the sushi. It was all the exact same stuff, I even saw a huge bag of it ( a couple pounds) in one of the Asian markets. I have never seen the exact same stuff in Japan. I wonder if it is really just an agar agar product dyed green, I've never seen that brightness of green in a seaweed either.

EDIT
the bags of the stuff I looked at all came from China.

Edited by torakris, 09 August 2006 - 02:55 PM.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#15 SuzySushi

SuzySushi
  • participating member
  • 2,400 posts
  • Location:Hawaii

Posted 09 August 2006 - 02:27 PM

Hmmm.... come to think of it, maybe the "sea vegetable" in the seaweed salad IS agar-agar, which is derived from a form of algae!
SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."
My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

#16 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 09 August 2006 - 02:56 PM

Hmmm.... come to think of it, maybe the "sea vegetable" in the seaweed salad IS agar-agar, which is derived from a form of algae!

View Post


Just what I was thinking! :biggrin:
now I am wishing I had tasted it....

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#17 Hest88

Hest88
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:Bay Area, California

Posted 09 August 2006 - 02:59 PM

Okay, all of you are freaking me out. I had no idea the "seaweed salad" stuff isn't seaweed. Ugh, now I don't think I can ever order it again!

#18 Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki
  • participating member
  • 5,124 posts
  • Location:Shiozawa area of Minami Uonuma city, Niigata, Japan

Posted 09 August 2006 - 03:18 PM

?? I don't understand what's going on here.
Agar-agar is made from a seaweed called tengusa. Is that clear?

#19 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 09 August 2006 - 03:31 PM

Okay, all of you are freaking me out. I had no idea the "seaweed salad" stuff isn't seaweed. Ugh, now I don't think I can ever order it again!

View Post


Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse anyone. Agar agar is definitely seaweed, agar from wikipedia.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#20 tantan

tantan
  • participating member
  • 35 posts
  • Location:Hobart

Posted 10 August 2006 - 12:58 AM

I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called.

He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc.

So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)?

If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?

#21 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:52 PM

I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called.

He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc.

So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)?

If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?

View Post


I have never seen this seaweed salad atop gunkan maki (battleship sushi), but there is a lot I haven't seen. I popped seaweed gunkan maki into google pictures and look what came up! It looks like the same stuff to me.
Another interesting thing I found was at this site, 4th from the bottom just above the chuka salad gunkan there is a chuka ika. This looks like a prepared squid salad and looking it up on google shows that is is commonly sold in bulk and from the same places that do the chuka seaweed. So I guess the "chuka" isn't really the name of a type of seaweed....
Just to add a little more confusion :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#22 Hiroyuki

Hiroyuki
  • participating member
  • 5,124 posts
  • Location:Shiozawa area of Minami Uonuma city, Niigata, Japan

Posted 10 August 2006 - 11:55 PM

I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called.

He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc.

So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)?

If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?

View Post


I have never seen this seaweed salad atop gunkan maki (battleship sushi), but there is a lot I haven't seen. I popped seaweed gunkan maki into google pictures and look what came up! It looks like the same stuff to me.
Another interesting thing I found was at this site, 4th from the bottom just above the chuka salad gunkan there is a chuka ika. This looks like a prepared squid salad and looking it up on google shows that is is commonly sold in bulk and from the same places that do the chuka seaweed. So I guess the "chuka" isn't really the name of a type of seaweed....
Just to add a little more confusion :biggrin:

View Post

As for me, I'm quite satisfied now because it's almost certain that chuka is "Chinese" rather than some mysterious word. :biggrin:

The seaweed on top of the gunkan maki in the first link looks like kiri kombu to me... Am I the only one who thinks so?

The next time I go shopping, I'll check what Japanese seaweed salad looks like.

#23 ohev'ochel

ohev'ochel
  • participating member
  • 68 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Quebec -- CANADA

Posted 11 August 2006 - 10:55 AM

I am just back from a month long trip to the US and I finally know what everyone is referring to! I saw this stuff everywhere, in every Asian market and even in all the local supermarkets in the deli sections near the sushi. It was all the exact same stuff, I even saw a huge bag of it ( a couple pounds) in one of the Asian markets. I have never seen the exact same stuff in Japan. I wonder if it is really just an agar agar product dyed green, I've never seen that brightness of green in a seaweed either.

EDIT
the bags of the stuff I looked at all came from China.

View Post



....and u didn't try it??!! :shock:

the seaweed ontop of the gunkan IS the same stuff -- so ...... my question remains ---> what the *@*@ is this stuff??!! :wacko:

btw...the salad definitely does have a form of agar which is dyed BRIGHT GREEN but there is also some type of "seaweed" in there.

#24 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 11 August 2006 - 03:35 PM

I am just back from a month long trip to the US and I finally know what everyone is referring to! I saw this stuff everywhere, in every Asian market and even in all the local supermarkets in the deli sections near the sushi. It was all the exact same stuff, I even saw a huge bag of it ( a couple pounds) in one of the Asian markets. I have never seen the exact same stuff in Japan. I wonder if it is really just an agar agar product dyed green, I've never seen that brightness of green in a seaweed either.

EDIT
the bags of the stuff I looked at all came from China.

View Post


....and u didn't try it??!! :shock:

View Post


It seemed expensive.... :sad: :huh:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#25 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 11 August 2006 - 03:46 PM

I think I have solved the mystery!
I decided to start searching Japnese pages instead of sticking with the English ones, and I found this (scroll to the middle of the page).
中華ワカメサラダ
Chuka Wakame Salad

The picture looks the same or a least very similar, I there is a good chance they would just translate wakame to seaweed as i am sure there are many people outside of Japan not familiar with the name. This one doesn't mention agar agar, but it doesn't really list any ingredients, I have a feeling the agar agar is added to bulk it up.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#26 ohev'ochel

ohev'ochel
  • participating member
  • 68 posts
  • Location:Montreal, Quebec -- CANADA

Posted 11 August 2006 - 07:30 PM

I think I have solved the mystery!
I decided to start searching Japnese pages instead of sticking with the English ones, and I found this (scroll to the middle of the page).
中華ワカメサラダ
Chuka Wakame Salad

The picture looks the same or a least very similar, I there is a good chance they would just translate wakame to seaweed as i am sure there are many people outside of Japan not familiar with the name. This one doesn't mention agar agar, but it doesn't really list any ingredients, I have a feeling the agar agar is added to bulk it up.

View Post

kristin -- that looks just like it but it is hard to see since it is a small picture.

are there different kinds of wakame? i tried to make it with naruto wakame [cause that's what i found] and it did not fare the same way as the original. the texture was all wrong although the taste was perfect.

if u get the chance to sample it, try it. it's actually very tasty leading to being addictive, IMO. :raz:

#27 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 11 August 2006 - 11:06 PM

I think I have solved the mystery!
I decided to start searching Japnese pages instead of sticking with the English ones, and I found this (scroll to the middle of the page).
中華ワカメサラダ
Chuka Wakame Salad

The picture looks the same or a least very similar, I there is a good chance they would just translate wakame to seaweed as i am sure there are many people outside of Japan not familiar with the name. This one doesn't mention agar agar, but it doesn't really list any ingredients, I have a feeling the agar agar is added to bulk it up.

View Post

kristin -- that looks just like it but it is hard to see since it is a small picture.

are there different kinds of wakame? i tried to make it with naruto wakame [cause that's what i found] and it did not fare the same way as the original. the texture was all wrong although the taste was perfect.

if u get the chance to sample it, try it. it's actually very tasty leading to being addictive, IMO. :raz:

View Post


The regular leaf part of the wakame plant won't work, it will be to soft. You need a part that has more bite to it like the stems, called kuki wakame. They are sold in various thickness, dried and fresh. Looks like this.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#28 zoe b

zoe b
  • participating member
  • 539 posts
  • Location:Glen Gardner, NJ

Posted 12 August 2006 - 10:58 AM

are there different kinds of wakame? i tried to make it with naruto wakame [cause that's what i found] and it did not fare the same way as the original. the texture was all wrong although the taste was perfect.


could you share your recipe? I've been trying to duplicate this with wakame, and I don't mind the texture being different, but I haven't gotten the taste right, either.


I think there are also cellophane noodles in the purchased seaweed salad--I/ve seen bean threads on the ingredients list.

Zoe

#29 torakris

torakris
  • manager
  • 11,008 posts
  • Location:Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:57 PM

I wasn't able to find this in supermarkets in Yokohama but I just came back from a 4 day trip to Fukushima and look what I found in a local supermarket up there!

Posted Image

Chukka wakame

The ingredient list (which I forgot to take a picture of) listed kuki wakame as the main iingredient and no other types of seweeds were listed. This specific product did not contain agar agar in any form. The main seasonings were soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds and kochujang! This particular product was made in Niigata, it was quite good and my husband, who normally doesn't care for wakame, devoured the pack. IIt was definitely cheaper here than in the US, that pack of 180g (6.3 oz) cost me 198 yen ($1.70). :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"
Manager, Membership
kwagner@egstaff.org


#30 markemorse

markemorse
  • participating member
  • 784 posts
  • Location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Posted 18 August 2006 - 04:26 PM

Thank you, everyone! This is a question that has plagued my wife and for years (well, it's annoyed us occasionally), we've always loved it and called it chuka wakame, but no one from Japan ever knew what we were talking about when we talked about it.

First surimi cleared up, and now this...
Fantastic!

mark