Oh, yes. It’s real. There’s a special type of seaweed out there, and that special type of seaweed tastes like bacon. While the health benefits of eating bacon-y seaweed over regular bacon may not convince the average bacon-consuming individual to switch over, it does have huge implications for those who choose not to eat bacon. Whether you’re vegan, religious, or just anti-grease, dulse may be the answer to all those darker cravings for the delicious taste of sizzling, fat-filled pork. And that answer will be significantly more healthy for you.
What Is It?
This magical seaweed is the palmaria palmate, otherwise known as dulse, dillisk, dilsk, red dulse, sea lettuce flakes, or creathnach. Dulse is red algae that grows naturally on the northern coasts of the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. The oldest known record of someone harvesting dulse is that of Irish monks from 1,400 years ago. In Iceland, it has already been a snack food and a source of dietary fiber for centuries. And how has it come to America? Chefs working with the Food Innovation Center at Oregon State University have been experimenting successfully with dulse and have been recently working to popularize it as a food. You could say that… we’re a little late to the party.
Regardless of our tardiness, the discovery of dulse as a potential bacon substitute is a sweeping triumph for those who have to smack their own hands for reaching for a slice of that popping, tantalizing meat. Researchers claim that, when you fry dulse, the taste is much like that of bacon. It may be hard to imagine a savory-flavored seaweed, but admittedly, stranger things exist. Dulse contains many of the same nutritional goodies that seafood products do, and is high in many B vitamins, protein, calcium, potassium, and more. It has been compared to kale and some researchers even claim that it is better than kale as a dietary source.
Because of Oregon State University’s efforts, dulse has already been introduced to Portland as a tasty restaurant item. In particular, Vitaly Paley’s “Imperial” serves dulse in a variety of different ways, and claims that customers can’t get enough of it. You can also order dulse yourself online and prepare it with your own ingenious techniques. Granted, we can’t promise that it tastes exactly like bacon, or that your bacon-cravings will disappear completely after you’ve consumed your own dulse. However, the fact that a seaweed exists that tastes even remotely like bacon and has more nutritional components than kale is worth being pretty darn excited about. Thanks again, Mother Nature.