ASMR enthusiasts are fans of its popping sound, and we must admit, it is strangely mesmerising to watch. So what are these small green popping beads that look like fake decorating plants?
Sea grapes, or caulerpa lentillifera, are often referred to as green caviar for their appearance like fish roe, but are actually a seaweed - a green algae from the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific. Sea grapes are found in the cuisines of Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, and Japan, where they are eaten raw, in soups, on rice and in salads.
In particular, in Okinawa, Japan, green caviar is a well known regional specialty and can be found on everything from sushi to ice cream!
What does green caviar taste like?
Sea grapes taste fresh like the ocean with a soft texture that pops with a loud popping sound in the mouth. It is eaten raw, and any cooking with high heat can destroy the famous texture.
To eat fresh sea grapes, make sure to rinse them in clean, cool water a couple of times. This removes the slight fishy smell present in the seaweed. Try it with a dipping sauce of soy and vinegar or miso, like they do in Okinawa for a healthy side or snack.
Sea grapes are usually sold fresh, but it is also possible to find them online, dehydrated. A quick soak returns the green caviar to their full popping glory.
How to use green caviar
Here are some ideas on how to use these fun little beads.
Spotted in Tokyo, Japan
Spotted in Okinawa, Japan, in a fresh seafood salad
Green caviar with octopus
Green caviar in salad with rice
Green caviar on sushi