Food - Drink
The Sustainable Caviar Alternative That Happens To Be Vegan
What is Umi-Budō?
For a vegan caviar alternative, look no further than umi-budō. Also known as “sea grapes” and “green caviar,” umi-budō is a seaweed with tiny, green bubbles that grow along its stems in clusters. When you bite into these bubbles, they burst with a fresh, briny ocean flavor for a taste and texture that rivals even the best caviar.
Umi-budō is also known as “longevity seaweed” because of its high levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, in Okinawa, Japan, where the seaweed is eaten regularly, people live longer, healthier lives than almost anywhere else. Plus, the plant's hyaluronic acid content has been linked to skin health.
Where it Grows
Most umi-budō is harvested in Okinawa, Japan where the ocean hovers around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Even as harvesters have transitioned to greenhouse farming to harvest the seaweed year-round, fresh umi-budō is still largely limited to Okinawa because it’s hard to transport and quickly goes bad in the wrong conditions
How to Find it
The best umi-budō is found in Okinawa, where it is served fresh with a side of soy sauce or vinegar; you can also find fresh umi-budō on mainland Japan. If a trip to Japan isn’t in your future you can find the seaweed at online retailers; however, these versions will come dried and packaged in a salty seawater brine.