November 20, 12 | Takako Chiba
Hokkaido is known for kelp, with many regions producing high quality kelp. Rishiri kelp, Hidaka kelp, and Rausu kelp are all great examples of why kelp could be considered a representative of Hokkaido. There is another less known variety however which we would like to introduce to you and it is called "Gagome Kelp"
Gagome kelp is an extremely rare type of kelp that grows off of the shores of Hakodate. It is characterized by the uneven geometric pattern on its surface, as well as its stickiness.
▲ This is Gagome Kelp. You can clearly see the strong, unique pattern on its surface.
▲ And look at this stickiness!
Gagome kelp has been enjoyed in Matsumae pickles, grated kelp, and many other dishes for years.
"Neba Neba (Sticky Sticky) Main Office" manager Mr. Ishihara told me "In the past few years many beauty and health benefits have been discovered in Gagome kelp by Mr. Hajime Yasui, a teacher at Hokkaido University. Since then the kelp has become extremely popular."
Taking advantage of the unique marine resources in the Hakodate area, a unique industry-government-academia collaboration has pushed to create many new products from the Gagome kelp. From that collaboration the "Hakodate Gagome Union" was formed, bringing companies that shared an interest in branding and selling the unique products together at the "antenna" shop "Neba Neba Main Office."
I was shocked at the products that were available at the "Neba Neba" shop! From just dried kelp there were shredded kelp snacks, kelp chips, a kelp and veggie hodgepodge, ramen, soy sauce, salt, vinegar...and the list goes on. All in all, the amount of products produced numbers around 120.
Mr. Ishihara told me that "There are so many new products that I really want to get the word out to as many people as possible."
Out of all the products, the one that the manager recommends is below. He recommends that you enjoy it as a topping on a bowl of cold rice.
"Gagome kelp isn't just delicious," reminds Mr. Ishihara, "it has many uses including as a beauty product! Please be sure to try it out at least once. You'll be surprised at how well it works!"
I have a strange feeling that I need to get used to this sticky feeling, because I'll probably be using it a lot more in the future.
● ねばねば本舗 (Neba Neba Head Office)
● Gagome Kelp on facebook.
Location : 19-3, Wakamatsu-cho, Hakodate
TEL : 0138-27-4777
FAX : 0138-22-0204
Hours of Operation : 10:00 - 6:00
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
(Photographs provided by 仙北慎次写真事務所プロボ 仙北慎次, and 北海道大学水産学部)