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Seaweed Paper: Dried Seaweed Sheets in Korean Food (Gim)

by Emily
A photo of dried seaweed sheets in a bowl on a table, The bowl sits on a cream table cloth.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for details at the bottom of this page. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases on this dried seaweed sheets post. We hope you enjoy learning about seaweed paper (known as ‘gim’ or ‘kim’) in Korean cuisine!

Published 11/16/2021 Updated 03/21/2024

Throughout East Asia, people use edible dried seaweed sheets in much of their cooking. Most famously, people in Japan use this ingredient in sushi, while people in South Korea use it to make kimbap! 

In the United States, we often use the Japanese term ‘nori’ to refer to these dried seaweed sheets. That being said, if you are learning to cook Korean food, you will often see the seaweed referred to as ‘gim’ or ‘kim’ (김) in Korean recipes.

Here, we will continue our discussion of Korean ingredients by introducing different uses of dried seaweed sheets in Korean cooking! Before we do, let’s learn about this ingredient. 

What Is Dried Seaweed (Gim)?

As I stated above, ‘gim’ or ‘kim’ (김) is a Korean term for edible, dried seaweed used as an ingredient when cooking. This generic term refers to various species of seaweed in the Pyropia and Porphyria genera (genus). 

Seaweed is produced and cultivated during the winter months. Usually, cultivation begins in September or October and continues until the weather begins to warm again the next year. Algae grow well in extremely cold seawater when temperatures are between 5-8°C (41-46°F). 

Note: Besides ‘gim,’ people in South Korea use other varieties of seaweed when cooking. Further varieties include ‘miyeok’ (also known as wakame) and ‘dasima’ (saccharina japonica). 

Dried Seaweed Sheets in Korean Cooking:

Dried seaweed has been used in Korean cuisine for generations. Known mentions of this ingredient date back in Korean records to the Goryeo era (the 1200s). Since then, it has become an integral part of Korean cooking culture! 

Below, I list a few ways people use this ingredient when cooking in South Korea! Honestly, ‘gim’ (or ‘kim’)  is used so often that it is impossible to list them all. 

Examples of Korean Foods That Use Seaweed Paper:


  • Kimbap (김밥): Also known as ‘gimbap,’ this Korean dish is made using rice, different fresh and cooked filling ingredients, and dried seaweed. To make kimbap, you roll the rice and fillings into the dried seaweed. Then, you cut the roll into bite-size pieces. Often, people compare kimbap to sushi. While they two look similar, they are culturally very different. If you want to learn about the difference, you can read my article ‘kimbap vs. sushi: what is the difference?’ Finally, you can try my tuna kimbap or kimchi fried rice and mozzarella cheese kimbap recipes from the blog!
  • Triangle Kimbap (삼각김밥): Samgak kimbap is a variation of Korean kimbap developed to be shaped similarly to Japanese onigiri. Instead of rolling the rice and fillings in dried seaweed, the seaweed is folded around the ingredients in a triangular shape. You can buy these at all convenience stores for a quick bite! You can try my triangle kimbap recipe on the blog

Other Uses:

  • Kim Bugak (김부각): Bugak refers to a type of vegetarian deep-fried dish. To make bugak, you start by coating different vegetables with ‘chapssal-pul’ (찹쌀풀), a paste made from glutinous rice flour. Then, you deep fry these vegetables. The outer chapssal-pul layer puffs up making crispy chips. To make the seaweed version, you coat dried seaweed strips in the thick rice paste before frying. You can try my kim bugak recipe on the blog. You can also try making my quick kim bugak hack version that uses rice paper instead of the glutinous rice flour paste. 
  • Jumeokbap (주먹밥): Otherwise known as a rice ball or fist rice, restaurants often serve jumeokbap in a big bowl with plastic gloves. In the bowl, you have rice and other ingredients such as finely chopped spam, green onions, dried seaweed, and more. As you eat, you make rice balls with your hands using plastic gloves. People often eat this with spicy food! You can find my recipe for jumeokbap on the blog

The list of Korean food using dried seaweed strips can go on, and on, and on. Some of my favorite recipes use it as a topping or garnish! 

Dried seaweed sheets (gim) in a light pink bowl. The blowl sits on a table with a cream tablecloth.

Dried Seaweed Sheets (Gim) Frequently Asked Questions:

Below, I list some questions you may have about dried seaweed. If I do not answer your question below, feel free to leave a comment or email me at [email protected]!

Where Can I Buy Dried Seaweed Sheets? 

You can buy dried seaweed sheets in almost every well-stocked grocery store chain in the United States. To find this ingredient, shop in the International aisle of your grocery store. Just note, grocery stores also label this ingredient as ‘nori’. Nori is the Japanese term for these dried seaweed sheets. 

You can also buy this ingredient in any Asian grocery store or online!

How Should I Store Dried Seaweed Sheets (Gim)?

To store dried seaweed, I recommend placing it in an airtight container such as a Ziploc bag. Then, store it in a dark place such as your pantry. 

You can keep dried seaweed fresh for up to 6 months if you store it properly!

I Hope You Enjoyed Learning About Dried Seaweed Sheets (Gim)!

In the end, I hope you enjoyed learning about the uses of dried seaweed sheets in Korean cuisine. If so, let me know in the comment section! 

If you would like to read more about cooking, you can find recipes as well as further Korean ingredient articles on my blog. I listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey recipes below! For reference, many recipes are influenced by my family’s blended Korean and Southern heritage.

Korean Ingredient Articles: 

Further Carving A Journey Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email me at [email protected], finally, I would love to hear from you through our social media as well! You can follow me at @carvingajourney on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also started a vlog YouTube channel with my husband! Or, if you would like more articles like these, you can subscribe to the blog by joining the mailing list. Let me know if you try using dried seaweed sheets (gim or kim) while cooking! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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