Kombu (こんぶ, 昆布), or dashi kombu (だし こんぶ, 出し昆布) is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine, used commonly for making dashi, the basic Japanese stock. The kombu used for dashi is tougher, but contains much more umami, or savory taste, which is perfect for a really great stock! When handling kombu, you may notice little white flakes on it: don’t wipe it off, they are called “mannitto” or “umami seibun”, and occur naturally as part of the drying process. They are basically salt deposits, so it helps contribute to the flavor!
There is no good substitution for the flavor, but if you are using it for a stock, you can use any other seaweed for a similar “sea” taste. Since it’s a dried good, it keeps for a long time, so its a good thing to buy in bulk!Buy on Amazon