Kombu is an edible kelp, or sea weed, that is widely eaten in East Asia. It is used extensively in Japanese cuisine as one of the main ingredients of soup stock. It is sold dried (dashi kombu) or pickled in vinegar (su kombu) or as a dried shred (boro kombu or shiraga kombu). It may also be eaten fresh in sashimi.
It is an excellent source of glutamic acid, the amino acid responsible for umami, the Japanese word used for one of the five basic tastes in addition to salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. Kombu is a rich source of iodine and is also a source of dietary fiber.