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How to Differentiate Bad and Good Nori for Your Sushi

If you want to prepare your own sushi, it is important to know how to tell the difference between bad and good nori, as not all seaweeds are created equal.

Those who are new to the sushi bandwagon may think that the most important elements of the sushi are the fillings. Even long-time sushi lovers sometimes think this way. However, for some variants of sushi, the nori or the seaweed wrap is the first one to come in contact with the tongue. This means that bad and good nori really make a difference.

Similar to rice, nori is one of the most important ingredients of some sushi. For some recipes, it can elevate a common sushi dish to a superior one.

Many countries produce nori, but it is believed that you can get the best one at Kyushu island in South Japan. Harvested from the Ariake Bay, the Ariake nori undergoes meticulous drying process that rivals that of tea leaves. It usually comes in rectangle or square sheets. Other factors, such as time of harvest, mineral content, water temperature, location, and currents, all contribute to how the nori tastes.

If you are buying your own nori, here are some things that can help you find the perfect one for your temaki sushi:

1. Inspect the physical appearance of the nori.

Nori is of good quality if its color is jet black. Stay away from green or brownish nori as these are usual markers of poor quality. Uneven thickness is another indication that it is of poor quality.

Also be on the lookout for irregularities like holes on the nori sheets, because good nori should not have these. Generally, good nori is smooth, while lower grade nori is wrinkled.

2. Do a taste test on your nori.

Premium nori is naturally sweet, although the flavor is subtle. If it just came out of the bag, the nori should just melt in your mouth yet still be crisp. If you fold premium nori, the crunch is usually audible. Some people describe premium nori flavors as ocean-life, earthy, and full of umami. If nori is tasteless, dry and tougher, then it is of lower quality.

With a delicate dish like sushi, the little things matter. From the quality of the nori to the kind of rice and the freshness of the fillings, these parts contribute to your delectable sushi experience. While it is seen as a negligible component, the quality of your nori can actually affect the balance of flavors you get from the sushi.

Luckily, you do not need to worry too much about your nori if you order from quality sushi bars and restaurants. Visit Sushi.com now to get access to a list of restaurants near you!