Seaweed Salad with Garlic at the Harmony Restaurant in Ottawa
Seaweed Salads are quite common in Japanese restaurants, but they do occasionally appear on Chinese restaurant menus as well. What made the version at the Harmony Restaurant in Ottawa stand out was the use of Kelp, rather than one of the more commonly used varieties like Wakame, or Arame. A variety of Kelp, known as ‘Kombu’ is widely used in Japanese cuisine to make the ubiquitous ‘Dashi’, but it doesn’t appear often otherwise. As such, I was very interested to try this particular appetizer.
In this dish, the kelp was finely shredded and served in a thin dressing along with finely sliced scallion, cucumber, and a very liberal amount of coarsely chopped raw garlic. The presentation was quite nice, even though the Kelp was a bit unattractively dark, and the combination of textures was well conceived.
The dressing was basically a lightly-sweetened Soy Sauce with just a dash of Chinese Black Vinegar. The latter was used in just the right amount so that it offset the sugar, leaving a pleasant tangy note but with out being overpowering. My only issue with the dressing overall was that it included some chopped Cilantro, which I don’t care for very much. Luckily, its presence wasn’t so strong that it really affected my enjoyment overall.
The Kelp had a nice texture, but, all in all, it was rather bland and really could have been almost anything. This was a bit disappointing as I would have liked to see how the usual flavors of this seaweed worked with this particular dish, but the liberal use of raw garlic really gave this dish a lovely punch and the combination of this with the freshness of the Cucumber and Scallion in a tangy dressing made this Seaweed Salad with Garlic very enjoyable.