What does Seaweed Salad Taste like?

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Ever wonder what a seaweed salad tastes like? If you’re not too familiar with Japanese cuisine, chances are, you may not know about it at all!

As odd as it sounds, seaweed salad is a scrumptious, healthy, and fresh-tasting starter and side dish. Most restaurants serve it alongside sushi or soup. The sweet yet tangy salad gives a burst of Asian flavor to anything you try it with!

If you’re looking to expand your palate with an exotic Asian side dish, you’ll certainly love a good, hearty bowl of this salad! Today’s article will cover everything you need to know, from its taste to its ingredients; read on!

What is seaweed salad?

Seaweed salad, also known as Goma Wakame in Japanese, is made with strands of spring-green strands of seaweed. These are tossed with various condiments that give it a kick of a slightly tangy-sweet flavor. In order to understand its taste, you need to know where its flavors come from!


Here’s what a bowl of seaweed salad may include:

  • Undaria pinnatifida (edible seaweed)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Mirin
  • Thinly sliced baby cucumber
  • Grated ginger
  • Grated garlic
  • Toasted white and black sesame seeds (optional)
  • Chili flakes
  • Sugar

What does seaweed salad taste like?

Seaweed salad taste may vary, depending on the type of seaweed used. While some have a stronger sea flavor, others have a mild salty taste. But, the overall taste comes from its mix of marinade ingredients that give a burst of exotic flavors.

As seaweed is the primary ingredient in this salad, you can expect a mild, salty ocean flavor. But, since this dish has a wide range of ingredients, you get a balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy, along with hints of a roasted flavor that comes with the sesame seeds.

The rice vinegar and soy sauce add a dash of tanginess to the salad, while the sugar balances out the flavor by adding an overall sweet undertone. On the other hand, the grated ginger and garlic, along with the chili flakes, add a warm and spicy kick to it.

In Japan, some people also add yuzu juice to their seaweed salad, which gives it a citrus kick and a light and refreshing taste.

An authentic Japanese seaweed salad typically has a chewy texture, while the toasted sesame adds a slight crunch and nutty flavor to the overall dish. Depending on the dressing, some salads are soupy, whereas others are on the drier side.

Does seaweed salad taste fishy?

Seaweed salads don’t have an off-putting fishy taste; however, you may expect a salty sea flavor. Some vegan ingredients use dried seaweed powder as a flavor enhancer to imitate a fishy flavor.

However, in an authentic Japanese Goma Wakame, all you get is a salty, ocean-like flavor.

Moreover, properly harvested and dried seaweed does not have even the slightest fishy taste. So, if you’re scared that a seaweed salad may have a fishy taste, you have nothing to worry about. If you find the sea flavor too strong for your liking, you can douse the seaweed strands in plenty of sesame oil to cut down on the salty taste.

Why does seaweed salad taste sweet?

The sweet notes in a seaweed salad usually come from the dressing, which includes either sugar or honey. Moreover, the toasted sesame seeds add a sweet and nutty taste to the otherwise tangy mixture. It also helps cut down on the salty ocean flavor and the spice that ginger and chili flakes add.

The trademark of any Asian dish is its sweet and sour flavor. The umami and briny notes, when matched with the sweetness of sugar, give this dish a perfect balance of flavor.

Other versions of the same salad include a sweet chili sauce that gives you the best of both sweet and spicy flavors!


Seaweed salad is the perfect substitute for sushi rolls and rice bowls if you’re looking for a healthy yet flavorsome alternative. The briny, tangy, and sweet flavors come together in this beautiful green bowl to go with any type of dinner menu.

Its chewy and crunchy texture comes from a mix of a lot of ingredients that balance out the sea flavor.

Our favorite version is one that includes grated ginger and garlic, along with a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili flakes, to add a warm spicy kick to it. You can also add in yuzu juice, mixed with soy sauce and sugar for a fresh taste.

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