What’s ogo?? Ogo is the Japanese word for a grassy seaweed that quite literally grew like weeds in the shallow reefs in Hawaii. The closest approximation I can think of is pickle weed, and it’s really not that close. And it’s definitely not the Astroturf-green seaweed salad in the Asian deli aisle or at Costco.
My Dad made ogo into a sublime side dish. After searching online for a Bay Area source, emailing a few San Francisco-based fish distributors and even calling a couple, I had given up.
Then last week, an ex-pat Hawaii friend, a good ole’ local Kaimuki boy, Facebook'd that there was fresh ogo to be found in the Bay Area! This is a very serious and wholly justified cause for celebration.
I have to admit, I more often go to Marukai, a big Japanese grocery chain store directly across the street. However, Imahara’s is a family-run business that definitely merits regular visits. The place is always really clean, their staff just rocks, and the selection produce is really beautiful and fresh—they bring new stock in every day. This makes it a tad more expensive than Marukai, but definitely less than Whole Foods. And lots of Hawaii food, like frozen lau-lau, Ani’s sweet bread, Zippy’s chili, various flavors of Hawaiian Sun drinks, and fresh San Jose tofu and Japanese food to boot.
Just don’t buy all the ogo on Thursdays. Click here for Dad's recipe.
Eat well. Be well.