Written by: Alison Au
The use of salt has evolved through the years with more and more studies showing the benefits of using different types of salt to not only season our food with, but also as facial and body scrub! There are actually many benefits to using salt despite what some research has suggested. It honestly comes down to the type of salt you select (we really don’t suggest using regular white table salt though.)
So how do we know which type of salt to use and when? Don’t worry!
We’ve compiled a list of the more common alternative salts and their uses and benefits for you.
1. Himalayan Pink Salt
Probably one of the most common alternatives to table salt, the Himalayan pink salt is infamous for its rose pink colour. As its name suggests, this type of salt is typically found in regions near the Himalayas in Pakistan. It is perfectly paired with many meat dishes, especially steak! Pink salt is also often sold in block form, which can be directly used as baking stones when grilling meats over a barbeque. Studies have shown that using Himalayan salt can help the body detoxify by balancing its pH levels, improve the mineral status in the body, support hormone balance, and also improve energy.
Aside from cooking, this salt is also commonly used for therapeutic purposes in the form of a “salt lamp”. Advocates of salt lamps claim that they can purify the air in your home, soothe allergies, boost your mood and even improve your sleep. There are just so many useful applications to pink salt - the possibilities are endless.
2. Alpine Salt
Found in the Alps in Austria, Alpine salt is known for its potent flavour and its reddish brown colour. When compared with other salts, the sodium chloride content is lower yet ,still rich in minerals vital for your body. Austrian rock salt is actually best paired with dark meat because of the strong flavour it adds to your dishes. It is also widely used as a facial scrub or bath salt as it is shown to effectively remove dead cells, leaving your skin feeling clean, refreshed, and radiant!
3. Rose Salt
Rose salt is also known as the Andes Mountain Salt. This salt is found in Bolivia in its purest form and contains minerals such as iron, which contributes to its rose-orange colour. It has very similar properties to Himalayan pink salt and thus, the health benefits are very much aligned. Rose salt has a lower sodium content than other salts and so it is definitely milder in flavour, making it perfect to marinade fish, whiter meats, and vegetables.
4. Halite Salt
This is a rock salt found in Pakistan with the highest sodium chloride content (99%) compared to other salts! Due to its high sodium content, the salt has a very distinct white crystal colour and the flavour is quite strong. It can still be used to flavour your dishes but be careful not to add too much! Halite has shown to improve iodine absorption and thyroid health. Other forms of this salt can also be found in salt lamps as it is said that halite salt effectively absorbs negative energies and can transform them into positive ones.
5. Kala Namak Salt
Kala Namak Salt is also known as black salt and is often confused as real rocks because of its dark brown colour and rough surface. What makes this salt special is its unique aroma. Many people describe this salt as having a very pungent flavour . This condiment is quite a popular choice amongst vegans as adding this to your dishes brings upon a scent and a slight taste of eggs. So if you want a cruelty-free dish that tastes like eggs, add a bit of this salt to some scrambled tofu and you got yourself some delicious vegan breakfast!
Other than its special aroma, the Kala namak salt is believed to have different health benefits. According to a research by Aggarwal and Kotwal (2017), using this salt can be useful when your stomach or digestive system feels unwell. Some also say that it might be a good option for treating anaemia, eyesight problems, heartburn, and a people who requires a low-sodium diet.
6. Ishigaki Sea Salt (Ishigaki-no-Shio)
Ishigaki sea salt is made from the clear, coral rich waters off the coast of Ishigaki Island in Okinawa. It is known for its high calcium content and made by evaporating the sea water collected. The natural environment in Ishigaki Island is very well protected and so when the salt is mined, it truly is in its purest form. Different from the yuki-shio (snow salt), which is produced in the Miyakojima Island, the Ishigaki sea salt is richer in flavour. Heat will help to bring out the sweetness of this salt. Ishigaki sea salt is super versatile and how it is made will determine which dish it is best paired with.
- Plain Ishigaki Sea Salt: Vegetable dishes, soups, and misos
- Sun Dried Ishigaki Sea Salt: Meat dishes
- Roasted Ishigaki Sea Salt: Steamed vegetables and vegetable tempuras
Here in Foodcraft, we have a variety of salts available. Want to try a bit of each type but don’t want to buy too much of one? Well, Rivsalt - Taste Jr has all the 5 flavours (Kala Namak, Halite, Rose, Alpine, and Himalayan) in one convenient pack for you to try.
You can make your own choice by grinding the salts to the amount you want for whatever dishes you are making that night. Making Japanese food? We have Ishigaki Sea Salt available too.
This is a great chance for you to taste the Okinawan flavour here in Hong Kong. We also have a brand new Japanese items page where you can shop all things Japanese-y. Click here to see our full product range!
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