Konjac or konnyaku is a low-calorie fiber health food that you may find in the traditional Japanese stew or hotpot called oden, which is a very strong flavorful soup with boiled egg, a variety of fish cake, tofu, and konjac. It is gelatinous, non-flavorful fiber that adds texture to the stew. You can find this in markets with prepackaged oden ingredients. Other than oden, konjac is also found in sukiyaki, shabu shabu or nabe, eaten as a delicacy in Chinese and Japanese food, substitute for noodles such as ramen and spaghetti, and even used in drinks and desserts and in snacks such as jelly.
Konjac is native to Yunnan, China but is common to Japanese cuisines as a dietary healthy snack, substitute, or add-on to their cuisine.
The konjac noodles or shirataki as they call it comes in three types: white or brown and tofu shirataki. They are naturally translucent, are low in calories, and is neutral tasting. In sukiyaki or oden where the soup itself is very strong and flavorful, the konnyaku noodles or chunk adds texture and dimension to the soup as a healthy low-calorie additive. Although gelatinous, konjac is still eaten like regular noodles similar to glass noodles of the Chinese.
Shirataki “noodles” also come in different forms such as round used in oden, sukiyaki, or nabe or flat noodles used in cuisines such as spaghetti. In the Japanese Italian restaurant, Pronto, some spaghetti noodle dishes are served using the konjac or shirataki noodles as a substitute. It is just as delicious and less caloric but the difference is that it is more gelatinous or chewy like.
I had learned more about konjac in a Chinese dessert store called Bin Bin Konjac in Arcadia, California. Another store was in Walnut, California. My favorite drink at this store is a milk green tea and also a pearl barley tea with konjac bits. This dessert store introduced konjac as a gelatinous non-calorie dietary fiber, that can be served as almost a jelly addition to drinks and desserts. This store made konjac the main ingredient of the desserts to introduce healthy style dessert and drinks. Konjac in a dessert or drink adds low calorie substance and makes for a refreshing healthy drink.
Konjac is termed as a health fiber yam that has no calories and can help burn fat by making you feel full. The texture is firmer than jello and adds fiber to your palate. There is also no taste unless you eat konjac in a fruit form such as these konjac jelly snacks made in Japan. Generally, though, konjac in its pure form is low in flavor and salt and is boasted to help you feel full because it’s fiber fulfilling.
Konjac in jelly snacks come in flavors such as kiwi, apple, lemon, mango, peach, litchi, etc. These packaged konjac really can curb your appetite and is delicious as well and can easily be found in Japanese stores such as Don Quijote or even those local convenient stores that can be found everywhere in Japan that sells hair products, pharmaceuticals, and makeup as well as snacks. Just like getting jelly snacks in a cup form, konjac jelly snacks are more healthful and just as delicious with less sugar and sweetness.
I have finally learned what the konjac is in the traditional Japanese oden stew, nabe or shabu shabu, and sukiyaki. Konjac can be bought in a block or even in noodle format. Konjac bought in a thick chunk can be cut into pieces or however you like.
As well as finding konjac in Japanese Italian restaurants, stews, and as jelly snacks, you can find it sold in markets such as Lawson 100-yen convenient store or combini as substitutes for ramen and pasta. This is inexpensive and healthy.
From fine Japanese cuisine to nabe, oden, sukiyaki, and even pasta and ramen dishes, konjac is served as a healthful addition to Japanese variety and palate. You can find it in Asian markets typically near the tofu section or in snack sections as well.
Konyaku is a healthful “yam” fiber that is low to no-calorie addition that can be used in drinks, desserts, soups, and as noodles pasta. Konjac is used in noodles, stews, salads, and drinks and desserts as well in Chinese cuisines.