For those that live on the sunny, coastal region of Okinawa, Umi Budo is a staple food found plentiful around the area and is usually a snack or side dish. However, those that live elsewhere (like in the US, for example), may not have heard of this delicious treat. So, what is Umi Budo?
The word “Umi Budo” translates to sea grapes and is also known by its scientific name, caulerpa lentillifera. As one of the edible types of caulerpa, this delightful, nutritious seaweed is also known as green cavier, given its nice and soft texture, as well as its salty taste. Appearance-wise, one can see why the Umi Budo is named as “sea grapes”– tiny, green bubble-like fronds make up the seaweed and give it that “grape” look.
Umi Budo is not only pleasing in appearance and texture, but it is also high in minerals and low in calories. Harvested in mineral-rich waters, the Umi Budo is a great accompaniment to seafood, serving as a garnish, or as a side dish. However, in Okinawa, you can find that the Umi Budo has one more form that might be surprising to the palette– ice cream! Other methods of using Umi Budo include sprinkling it on top of Okinawan soba, in dressings that are vinegar or soy-sauce based, or on top of rice for a donburi.
From beni-imo to goya to umi budo, this type of food is definitely a must-try for whenever you can snag it or if you are in Okinawa. Refreshing, with little bubbles that pop flavors into your mouth, and overall nutritious, the Umi Budo will be a popular treat in Okinawa for many years to come.
“Caulerpa Lentillifera.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
“Okinawa Gourmet Guide : Umi Budo(Sea Grape) | Website of Okinawa Sightseeing Information Okinawa2Go!” Okinawa Gourmet Guide : Umi Budo(Sea Grape) | Website of Okinawa Sightseeing Information Okinawa2Go!N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
@summertomato. “Japan: Eating in Okinawa.” Summer Tomato. N.p., 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.