There is an item in the menu of a local fine restaurant, an interlude of soft and saline portions in an evening of choice cuts, called Chlorophyll. The confection, a blend of soybean paste, Japanese kelp and roasted buckwheat, is garnished by spinach leaves and what appear to be clusters of miniature grapes. The latter, reminiscent of plump, green peppercorns, would be familiar, though, to those who frequent domestic flats, who would have seen blooms of composite fronds draped over outcrops of rubble. But few, if any, go as far as to sample the alga, whose stolons creep over sand and stone, sending out minute filaments that anchor the multi-nucleate cell to its shallow refuge.
At least two species of Caulerpa show up on tables in the far east, particularly in the Philippines and Vietnam, where lentillifera is cultivated for animal feed and salty salads. Racemosa is somewhat less favoured, though this variable seaweed, with fronds that terminate in stalked spheres, flared discs, bells, cones or clubs, still has a significant fanbase in the region. Sea grapes, sensu stricto, produce densely packed bunches of globose branchlets, which veer little from the phenotypic norm and offer handy portions that fit into most mouths and slide down the gullet with slippery ease. Each bite of this berry, every nibble between fleshy lips, releases a drop of flavour that is nothing less than a burst of light and little more than a drop of the ocean in a ray of cytoplasm, the sliver of a cell with few nods to sophistication and sporadic accounting for taste.