Seaweed Salad at the Koreana Restaurant in Ottawa
I have previously mentioned the Koreana Restaurant in Ottawas’s Chinatown. It is an excellent restaurant, and probably my second favorite after the much smaller Ali Rang Restaurant near Byward Market. Some of their food is truly excellent (most notably the Koreana Seafood Pajeon , which was even better than Ali Rang’s), and the Seaweed Salad appetizer you see above was of the nicer ones I have tasted.
I remember a few decades back when you would be hard-pressed to find a seaweed salad in North America, even in a Japanese restaurant. Indeed, most people back then would only encounter seaweed when it was formed into the crisp, Nori wrapper in rolled Sushi. Nowadays, of course, it has become widely available, with most mainstream supermarkets carrying little plastic tubs of it in the deli section.
The Seaweed Salad at Koreana was listed on the Japanese section of their menu, and was prepared with two types of Seaweed and some strips of Agar (seen as the translucent strips interspersed with the green in the above picture). In fact, since Agar is prepared from a Red Algae from the sea, the Salad was actually composed of three types of seaweed rather than two.
The first Seaweed type used was Kelp, or Kombu, as it is known in Japanese. This was sliced very thinly and was less abundant than the second variety which, I am fairly sure, was Wakame. I did ask my server is this was the case, but she was unsure and didn’t learn anymore by asking in the kitchen (which rather made me think that the salad may have been purchased ready-made from an outside distributor. Wakame is commonly used in this type of salad however, and it certainly seemed familiar.
The dressing here seemed to be a sweetened Sesame Oil. No Vinegar taste was apparent, which was a bit surprising as even a mall amount of Rice Vinegar is common, and the nutty taste against the faint marine tang of the Kelp was very nice.
The only odd aspect to this affair was that, despite the Lemon slices placed on top, there was no hint of Lemon in the Salad itself until I squeezed some of the juice onto it. This was probably unneeded, as the Salad was nice enough by itself, but I liked the addition and, overall, I thought the Seaweed Salad at Koreana to be wroth a Rating of 5 out of 5.