Sunomono are light, vinegar based salads frequently enjoyed in Japan as side dishes or starters. The recipe I’m sharing today is a choose your own adventure sunomono; you choose the seafood- be it crab, shrimp, octopus, or anchovies, or you could make a vegan sunomono and just prepare the classic Japanese combo of cucumbers and wakame. Sunomono is a perfect warm weather dish, as it is served cold and the vinegar dressing is super refreshing.

sunomono ingredients

Sunomono Dressing

If the phrase “vinegar based dish” gave you pause, don’t worry. Sunomono uses rice vinegar, which is very mild. A little sweet and a little tangy without the harsh bitterness you might associate with vinegar. Whipping up the dressing is so easy-you just stir the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves. That’s it! Making a double batch is a good idea because it’s a great way to add a little oomph to rice.

sunomono dressing

Sunomono Seafood

While the vegan version of this is delicious, I like to add seafood to make this a heartier dish. I’ve included instructions for the four types I use most often so choose your favorite. Or set them all out and let people choose!

The only one that requires cooking is the shrimp. Just bring water to a boil, add the shrimp, turn off the heat and let them sit for 3 minutes.

sunomono shrimp

Then remove them from the heat and drain. Once they are cool enough to handle, slice them in half and keep chilled until ready to serve.

sunomono slice shrimp

octopus sunomono

If you’ve chosen the (imitation) crab legs, just cut them into bite sized chunks.

sunomono crab

Once the seafood is prepped it’s time to get the veggies ready. First I bloom the wakame in water. The seaweed will unfurl in about 10 minutes, and then I drain it.

sunomono wakame

cucumber slice sunomono

salting sunomono

Now that the veggies, seafood, and dressing are all ready, it’s time to combine them and serve! I add the dressing to the wakame and cucumbers first so it can be thoroughly combined, and then gently add the seafood.

sunomono dressing

This salad is so bright and refreshing, (and easy!) I know you’re going to enjoy it too! Please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. And tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen.com, we love to see what you create!

sunomono beauty


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sunomono recipe card


  • Author: Funky Asian Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Cuisine: Japanese


  • 1 european cucumber
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried wakame seaweed
  • 8 pieces imitation crab or shrimp, or 4 ounces of boiled octopus, or 4 tablespoons shirasu (boiled baby anchovies)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds


  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon dashi powder (optional)


Make the dressing:

  1. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and dashi powder if using.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

For the Seafood:

  1. If using the shrimp, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the shrimp. Then stir the shrimp in the pot, turn off the heat, and cover the pot with a lid. Let the shrimp sit for 3 minutes. Drain the shrimp and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice the shrimp in half and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. If using octopus, slice the octopus on an angle in very thin slices. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Unwrap the crab sticks if they are wrapped in plastic and cut into thirds. Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

To Serve:

  1. Put the wakame in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of water to bloom, about 10 minutes. Once the wakame is soft, drain and set aside.
  2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice the cucumber into thin half moon pieces. Put the cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with the salt and mix. Set the colander in a bowl or in the sink and set aside for 10 minutes, mixing once more while it sits.
  3. Squeeze the cucumbers lightly to remove excess water and then place in the bowl with the wakame. Add the dressing and toss lightly to mix. Add whichever seafood you’ve chosen and gently mix to combine.
  4. Split the cucumber salad into 4 serving bowls or one larger bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

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