Appears in
Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

konbu (often given as kombu), the Japanese name for many of a large and important group of brown seaweeds, mostly in the genus Laminaria. In terms of annual production this is the second largest group in Japan, outranked only by wakame. Among the most prominent species of konbu are:

  • karafuto konbu, L. saccharina, sweeter than the others because of the presence of mannitol;

  • ma-konbu, L. japonica;

  • mitsuishi-konbu, L. angustata, also called dashi-konbu since used for making the soup stock called dashi;

  • naga-konbu, L. longissima;

  • rishiri-konbu (after the island Rishiri), L. ochotensis, preferred for making soup stock because of its refined flavour.