1. Kaipen

This popular, addictive and ubiquitous Lao snack is made from kai, a neon green algae found in the Mekong’s northern tributaries.

Prised from its rocky perches, the algae is rinsed clean, tenderised with a mallet and spread out to dry. The algae sheets are then seasoned with vinegar, crushed garlic, tomato slices and white sesame seeds.

This crispy treat is typically enjoyed with sticky rice and jaew bong – a sweet, spicy water buffalo skin relish – and a frosty bottle of Beer Lao.

2. Ensaladang lato

Ensaladang lato is a simple, refreshing and nutritious salad enjoyed in the Philippines. While it features salad staples like tomatoes, onions, and sometimes salted eggs, the star of this dish is undoubtedly the lato.

A type of green algae, lato is found in coastal areas of Asia Pacific, and is harvested in stems that are tightly packed with green, caviar-like orbs that pop with a salty burst.

It is also popular in Japan, where the little jewels, known as umibudo (sea grapes), are dipped in ponzu sauce or served alongside sashimi. They also embellish Okinawa’s famous umibudo don, a sumptuous rice bowl topped with sea urchin and salmon roe.

3. Agar jelly

Agar jelly is a treat adored by Malaysians, Singaporeans and Filipinos. You’ll typically find these delights coloured and flavoured with the extract of flowers like butterfly pea and rose, fruit juices and even Milo.

A key ingredient for this jelly is agar, a substance extracted from red algae that’s dissolved in boiling water to make this treat.

A vegetarian alternative to gelatin, agar is favoured for its semi-translucent nature and neutral taste, which makes it the perfect canvas for desserts. It is also used as a thickening agent to set mousses and puddings.

According to airasia.com