Sea grapes – the next ‘foodie’ thing?

2015-04-07T12:00:00Z

Sea grapes could be the next food big food ‘thing’, to tempt the Kiwi palate. They’re a relatively new product to the New Zealand market, an edible seaweed common in Fiji and eaten as part of the Fijian diet. <!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_7247" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/rsz_sea_grapes_-_pacific_seaweeds_limited.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-7247" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/rsz_sea_grapes_-_pacific_seaweeds_limited.jpg" alt="A seafood dish with delicious sea grapes added as garnish." width="138" height="104" /></a> A seafood dish with delicious sea grapes added as garnish.[/caption]

Last month, sea grapes were added to a gourmet dinner menu created at a well-known fine dining restaurant in Auckland as part of the Pacific Island Trade Mission to highlight Pacific islands food products.

Pacific Seaweeds Managing Director Shamron Pickering who was not on mission but visited the Sally Ann Hughes, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Export Marketing Officer and  gave a few jars of sea grapes to promote during the trip.

In an email Mrs Pickering said, “Janine Blackmore [her importer] took a jar or two to the kitchen,” and some ended up on the menu. The delicacy was served as a delicious plate of Ora King Salmon Sashimi with lime, coconut milk, chilli garnished with sea grapes. The dish was a “hit” with the diners.

The sea grapes described on the Pacific Seaweeds website as looking like “…a string of luscious green pearls and taste a bit like the ocean with a hint of pepper. They are rich in sodium, iodine, iron and magnesium and low in calories.”

Award winning cookbook writer and chef Robert Oliver introduced sea grapes for a menu in Hollywood last year and posted up a photo on his Facebook page.

Pacific Seaweeds is a family owned company established in 2010 by Shamron and Donald Pickering. The pair were inspired to start the business after a quiet afternoon walk along the beach noticing all the seaweed. They started up their business that later resulted in exports to China.

The sea grapes are locally known in Fiji as Nama, but other Pacific island names for the seaweed, in Samoa inlcudes, Limu Fuafua, Tonga – Limu Fuafoa, Hawaii, Ararucip, Cook Islands – Remu Kai, Japan – Umibudo and in the Phillipines Lato.

As part of the Fiji diet the sea grapes are eaten fresh from the market.  Washed, drained and mixed with fermented or fresh coconut milk, with canned tuna and finely chopped onion and a little chilli and lemon to taste.

With increasing attention on the benefits of food harvested from the sea this product could become more popular.

For more information please contact:

Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao on <a href="mailto:joe.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz">joe.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz</a>