Seaweed (lato) salad


In September last year, I posted an entry about a grapelike seaweed commonly harvested in Philippine waters. It is eaten fresh and a popular accompaniment to fried or grilled seafood in coastal areas. That entry was among those that were lost when my database went berserk in December. However, I still have the original photo. I also distinctly remember that readers said the seaweed was called lato or ar-arusip. Below is the photo in the lost lato entry. I just added chopped onions and tomatoes and served it with crispy fried hito (catfish).

casaveneracion.com lato, a grapelike seaweed eaten fresh

Yesterday, I was in the wet market and decided to buy lato again. We were having fried hito for lunch and lato is just so wonderful with fried fish. This time, I decided to try another variety of lato–the ones with larger grapelike structures.

If the hues appear different, the earlier photo was taken at night, without flash. The photo below was taken at lunchtime, also without flash. The difference that natural light can make, huh?

casaveneracion.com lato, a grapelike seaweed eaten fresh

One of the comments in the lost lato entry was about adding kalamansi to the lato. Dean Alfar, on the other hand, has memories of his parents dipping lato in a mixture of crushed garlic and spicy vinegar. Apparently, adding something sour to the lato was something traditional–I wanted to try it. Since I am not a vinegar person, I decided to go with kalamansi. I’ll tell you what my mistake was–you might want not to repeat it.

Make the dipping sauce (dressing) separately and DO NOT pour it over the lato. The fragile thing gets dehydrated so fast on contact with something sour. Shucks, within one minute, my lato almost disappeared into the onions and tomatoes. They looked more like wilted leaves than small grapes. I had to mix a fresh batch with onions and tomatoes to take the photo above. And to eat, too, because the lato in the earlier batch was almost invisible. So, it’s best to serve the dressing or dipping sauce on the side. Dip a bunch of lato into it or add a teaspoonful or so in the portion that you are about to put it your mouth. Keep the kalamansi or vinegar away from the lato until then.

The dressing I used yesterday was a mixture of light soy sauce, kalamansi juice and a little sugar. They blended wonderfully with the seaweed.


Comments

  1. says

    I enjoy sprinkling a bit of anchovy sauce (bagoong balayan, tama ba?) and calamansi on the lato, then eating it right away. Oh wow, that is sooooo good!

  2. says

    I like lato, specially with “kilawin na isda”. I hope you post about making a special “kilawin na isda”. Thanks in advance.

  3. Laurel LT says

    Hi.

    Lato salad goes well with lechon and so does guso, the other type of seaweed. I don’t know what’s it called in Tagalog though.

    Anyway, I’ve always loved seafood since I was a kid and this is one of them. We used to eat them on Sundays when we have lechon or grilled pork or even fried or grilled fish. That combination is just priceless. Hmmmm, it makes my mouth watery :)

    I’ll put it on my list as one of the foods that I’m gonna eat when we visit my folks next month. Can hardly wait!

    Thanks.

  4. Dot says

    Oh wow! My Lola used to eat that all the time. I have never tried it. I was just a kid when we lived in Manila but living in Japan for a few years thought me how to eat and try all different kinds of stuff. Course now, I cannot find that around here to try. Thanks for the memories, though. :)

  5. tara says

    lato is also best eaten with shredded green mangoes. too bad, ur allergic to bagoong, sarap pa naman ito with lato! :) yum!

  6. says

    I only get to eat lato when hubby & I go to his hometown, fresh na fresh. Between the two of us we can finish a SUPER BIG bowl of lato salad. hehe

  7. says

    I manage to get some lato from Dampa sa Libis – it’s not the same as the kind I used to eat in Palawan. And you’re right about the dehydration – I dip it quickly then plop it into my mouth :) That and grilled fish…mmmm…

  8. farrah says

    lato is how they call it in the visayas, like my waray father does (and some mindanao parts, i think) my ilocano mom calls it ar-arosep and quickly mixes it with chopped tomatoes. hubby likes to pour a bit of soy sauce in it. saraaap!

  9. shae says

    It’s so mouth watering! I tried looking for this at Asian stores here but they don’t seem to sell this yummy seaweed. Thanks for posting!

  10. says

    You are welcome, Dot. Cooking can be so nostalgic. :)

    Tara, my allergy is so bad I learned to cook pinakbet without bagoong. LOL

    Dean, at the Antipolo public market, they have at least 3 varieties of lato everyday. :)

    farrah, yep, soy sauce is great with lato! :grin:

    You’re welcome, shae. :)

  11. alyssa says

    lato is good when you dip it with kalamansi juice before eating it…don’t combine it with the lato…kalamansi juice is a dipping sauce for it…;p yumyum

  12. Jean says

    hello again Miss Sassy! Just want to know how to prepare the lato? I really want to try eating this, I always see this at the public market and so tempted to buy some but don’t know how to prepare it. From the market, do you just rince it with water then add tomatoes and onion? do I need to put salt & pepper? Does it serve chill or just like that? thanks in advance!!! really LOVE this site so much!!! my computer always hangs because I opened so many tabs of your recipes!! LOL!! thanks for sharing.. really really appreciate!!

    • says

      Yep, just rinse. No need to add salt because it’s naturally salty already. No need to chill. Lato always seems to be cool. :)

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