Fried Seaweed Chips
The market for seaweed as a human food originated in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, etc.) and probably did for functional reasons. There are high population levels in Southeast Asia, and ocean fishing is a necessary contributory food source. If one casts or drags a net near the coast, one tends to get seaweed as well as fish. Ocean Marine life hides among kelp and other aquatic plants (algae is another term for aquatic plants), predatory fish hunt prey fish there, and many fish and mammals of the sea eat it. Seaweed is the most-often term used for ocean aquatic plants that are harvested intentionally, accidentally, or when they wash up on shore.
Seaweed should be harvested and prepared fresh in order to be fit for human consumption. Some description and guarantee that the harvest was conducted in non-polluted water should be offered to or sought by the consumer. If you are not a relatively poor resident of over-populated Southeast Asia, why would you eat seaweed? Because you can. British Chefs have been particularly called out for having advanced the use of seaweed in upscale cooking. “Crispy Duck and Seaweed,” is one such dish.
What about the nutritional value of seaweed: You can web search that. Be skeptical when the web site is framed with advertisements for seaweed products. Expect to see attributes like high fiber, various vitamins & minerals that provide a small percentage of daily human requirements in a single serving, antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, low calories, and qualities to help you manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and to lower cholesterol. The news is not all good: seaweed can be high in iodine, and it may have absorbed heavy metals (cadmium, mercury, lead, aluminum).
How does seaweed smell? I saved the best for last. It smells fine if it is prepared and consumed quickly after it has been harvested fresh from clean ocean water. As it decays, seaweed smells like rotten eggs. This is why you won’t find unprocessed seaweed in a grocery aisle lodged next to the cabbages and lettuce. It is also why I titled this article as “Fried Seaweed Chips.” People from Western Civilization, as a group, tend to shy away from food that is unfamiliar, dark in appearance, somewhat slimy, and if the smell triggers the gag reflex. But, if one offers that same food fried, over-salted, and in the form of a potato chip – well pass the bag! If you like the chips, perhaps you might find a local restaurant that serves seaweed fresh. “Oh, and can I get ‘Crispy Duck’ with that?”
Jesus ate fish, but the Christian Bible does not mention any seaweed consumption. Having been born into the Jewish Community, likely, he followed ancient Hebrew dietary guidance, which forbade eating shellfish, pork, or any animal that ate dead things. While Jesus walked the Earth as a human, his travel was within the confines of Judea and Galilee. His ministry only lasted about three years, and mostly, he taught his chosen disciples about God and what God wants humans to do. Powerfully, Jesus demonstrated to them that he was the Son of God. Through the surviving disciples, Christian ministry developed, and yes, today you will find Christians in Southeast Asia who pray to Father God before they enjoy a meal of freshly harvested seaweed with fish.