Origin of the Name “Agar-Agar”

The accidental discovery of Agar took place in Japan during the mid-17th century. In a subsequent post, we will delve into the captivating legend surrounding its chance finding, for now, we will focus on the intriguing origin of its name.

In Japanese, this substance is known as ‘kanten,’ which translates to ‘cold sky,’ alluding to the artisanal production method involving natural freezing and defrosting. However, the term ‘agar’ or ‘agar-agar,’ commonly used today, has its roots in the Malay language.

During the 19th century, Chinese migrants introduced the Japanese product to Malaysia and adopted the local name ‘agar,’ which means ‘jelly’ or ‘gelatin.’ In Malaysia, it is customary to repeat the word twice for added emphasis, resulting in the literal translation ‘gelatin-gelatin.’ As ‘kanten’ from Japan made its way to Europe, it did so under the Malay name of ‘agar.’

Global stands out among the few companies worldwide that adhere to the traditional freeze-thaw manufacturing method, while also incorporating the latest techniques to offer the most comprehensive range of products available.