I would never imagine that the floating bits of green in the deeper ocean could one day end up in a plate costing enough to inflict a wee bit of pain. At about S$7 per 100g, it won’t burn a hole in your pocket but it is something that would make you think first before buying. Like most delicacies.
This mass of green is known as umi-budo in Okinawa or seagrapes, and the consumption of which has long been attributed to the reason for longevity around here. You can pair it with almost anything in the Okinawan Cuisine and they pop in your mouth when bitten on. It can be had on its own too but dipped in vinegar. The delightful popping sensation is intensified along with an interesting mix of salty and sour. There is also umi-budo ice cream – it is like eating Dippin Dots, but in smaller spheres.
We visited Uminchi Farm where seagrapes are cultivated. The small farm is located near the coast so seawater is pumped inwards to the tanks where the seagrapes grow. It takes about a month for them to grow from barren stem to full frond, after which they will be hand-harvested for sale. A quality yield is only 50% of what they grow so that explains the price. The owner and staff are friendly and gave us a complimentary bowl of the green caviar when we pigged out on the ice cream. Oishi!!
Rich in vitamins A and C, coupled with its reputation for contributing to longevity, the seagrapes certainly fall in the category of healthy.