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Lunch-making parents in Japan have long been infusing their midday meals with fun characters designed to please the eye along with the taste buds. A common ingredient used for detail and decoration is the humble dried seaweed sheet called nori. The dark color makes it perfect for creating lines and patterns, and since it comes in a flat sheet you can cut out some fairly detailed shapes with a knife. If you quickly browse through some amazing character bento we’ve shared with you before, you’ll see the important role that seaweed plays in their design.

However, it’s not only good in a supporting role; world-renowned seaweed shop Kozen wants to elevate it to a star in the art world! Forget all the other ingredients you might find in a bento, “Nori Art” is all you need to turn your next meal into an unforgettable feast.

It’s so easy to cut a simple design out of a sheet of seaweed and then slap it on to some rice since the dark colored nori contrasts perfectly with Japan’s staple food.

If you want something a little more exciting than basic shapes, you’d normally need a very sharp knife and a steady hand, but over at the Kozen store, they have a high-tech laser cutter that can cut out some very intricate patterns on a sheet of seaweed, resulting in nori ‘prints’ that look just gorgeous. Check out some of their amazing designs below.

▼ Some Mt. Fuji for your food?

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▼ Halloween-themed nori looks spooky and exciting

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▼ Some seaweed designs to celebrate the New Year

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▼ Easter is apparently a popular theme as well

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▼ Something to spice up your Tanabata Festival party

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▼ When art combines so well with food, you wonder, is it really OK to eat this?

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The best part of this shop is that you can come up with your own designs to create your own original nori, which means you can make your party extra special with these one of a kind nori sheets. It takes 10-14 days to complete an order and they get much busier around holidays, so make sure you order well in advance of your event from their site.

▼ Or look for pre-packaged versions online at Amazon!

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Not everyone is going to be using seaweed at their dinner parties, but imagine the look on your friends’ faces if you used this beautiful seaweed at your next sushi making party. No matter what level of a cook you are, when you make food that looks this good, it’s bound to taste even better!

Source: Japaaan Magazine
Images: Nori Art