Sea Grapes

27 Apr

My mom and I came across this unusual vegetable (is it still a vegetable if it grows in the ocean?) at a farmer’s market in Shibuya, although the sea grapes are cultivated in Okinawa. It’s eaten widely there, and also the Philippines, according to Wikipedia, and is also known as “green caviar,” which I think is more descriptive. Sea grapes are probably the closest you’ll get to a vegetarian version of caviar; they don’t have the same piscine (“fishy” sounds so bad) aftertaste, but they do have that unctuous texture, as well as the brininess — like little tiny sacs of ocean bursting on your tongue. I don’t know if sea grapes are available outside of Asia, but if you do happen to come across them, you’re in for a delicious surprise. Who knows? Maybe sea grapes will turn out to be the next big superfood fad, like açaí berries, and you’ll be able to find them at every Whole Foods on the block.

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