For the past few months I've been noticing kelp noodles being sold at our local health food stores. I've desperately wanted to try them, but the high price tag ($5-$7/bag) has prevented me from doing so.
Then I spied them at my local Korean grocer for $2.50 and I jumped at the opportunity.
I am so glad I did, these are fantastic!
Like shiritake noodles, they do not need to be cooked, they are vegan, extremely low in carbohydrates and calories and gluten/wheat free, making them perfect for diabetics, celiacs or anyone trying to stick to a restricted diet. A lot of raw foodies like them as a replacement for regular noodles too.
But they do not have the funny smell that shiritake noodles have when you open the bag (it does go away immediately after you rinse them though!), and they do absorb liquid, so they are less tricky to use. The shiritake noodles have to be treated carefully - if you don't drain/dry them well and start with a very thick sauce, your dish can end up extremely watery. The kelp noodles started out crunchy, and can be kept fairly crunchy for raw salads, but when I stir fried them with a miso ginger sauce and some chopped cabbage and scallions to serve with my miso glazed salmon last night, they softened up and, to me, took on the flavours of the sauce and tasted exactly like glass noodles. I would stick to using them with Asian-style dishes though, as I don't think they would work as a replacement for pasta in Italian dishes.
If you find them, I highly recommend you try them!! I'm not telling you where I found them cheap because I want to go back and buy all the rest that they have in stock...and then some!