Bizarre Snacks: Beyond the seaweed, my wasabi is waiting for me

The grilled crispy seaweed looks like green tarpaper – tasty, tasty tarpaper!

So, there’s a stereotyped China-man on the package of Japanese Crispy Seaweed which is made in Thailand. It’s enough to blow your mind!
A couple weeks ago, we asked readers for suggestions, and Annie from the Sunday Hiker –  http://sundayhiker.blogspot.com – told us about Kim, Korean grilled and salted seaweed. Well, that sounded good! Trouble was, we had to go to New York to find some.
What we found was Tao Kae Noi, crispy seaweed with wasabi flavour from Thailand. As it turns out the odd little Chinese man on the package (complete with slant eyes and traditional dress suit) is the mascot of the Tao Kae Noi Company. Like usual, the company has a nutty cartoon character-laden website that announces “Welcome to TAOKAENOI World!” Take a look at the fun here: www.taokaenoi.co.th

Based out of Nonthaburi, Thailand, the company is relatively new, only having formed in 2004. We were most intrigued by the company’s CEO, however. While most old Asian company’s are usually run by, how to put this nicely, well-heeled older men, Tao Kae Noi is pretty hip! In fact, Mr. Aithipat Kulapongvanich is downright dreamy. He could be the lead singer in a Thai boy band.

As he says in his website statement: “We are the most welcome to meet you as our loyalty customers through the newly company website.” But really, he could say anything. Just look at how adorable he is!

Anyway, here’s the deal. As many of you know who have been following this column, Meenakshi is not a fan of things that come out of the sea. That puts a crimp in pretty much half the world’s food, so Dan had to fly solo on this one. Which was fine, ’cause dang this stuff is good!
First, the seaweed comes in a resealable package, and our one and a half once bag had about 25 strips in it. The strips themselves were each about the size of a strip of bacon and had about the same texture, perhaps a little thinner.
Though low in calories and with no sugar, these babies are loaded with sodium, about 250mg per package. Not much higher than a package of beef jerky though, and salt is crucial on a long hike.
The taste was sublime! The wasabi and grilled salt nicely dampened any of the kind of sushi seaweed taste you might think of. Even better, the wasabi did not overwelm the taste. It was just enough to give it a little kick. The texture was fine, not to crunchy, but not wet cardboard either. The grilling helped keep its shape and there was no crumbling, which will make for easy packaging on the trail.
This snack is a real winner, and even if the thought of eating seaweed is hard to stomach, Tao Kae Noi is worth tracking it down.

It’s “Delicious with good nutrients from the sea” says the package!

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4 Responses to Bizarre Snacks: Beyond the seaweed, my wasabi is waiting for me

  1. Peter says:

    Seaweed done well is really quite tasty. Otherwise, it's just, well …. you know. Fishy. 🙂

  2. Yeah weird though. I mean isn't fishy food supposed to be fishy tasting? We don;'t say things like, “You know that chicken tastes too chickeny.”

  3. Hiya, I was always led to believe that seaweed is actually cabbage. I'm still not sure, although I would feel pretty stupid if it's not. Sounds like someone's had me for a real kipper! Tastes good though

  4. Hi Dude, nope seaweed is seaweed and cabbage is cabbage. However, you may have been taken for a kipper as I poked around a little bit to discover that some not so on the up and up Asian restaurants use cabbage instead as it's cheaper!

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