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A product made from certain species of Japanese seaweed (especially the Gelidium variety) and used as a vegetarian substitute for gelatine. It"s also needed for a few items which contain an enzyme that prevents gelatine working - such as kiwi fruit and pineapple. It comes in sticks or bars, the former resembling uneven clear noodles, and these need "melting" in cold water in the same manner as ordinary gelatine.
It is used in manufactured food as a stabilising agent (E406), especially in ice cream.
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