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September 11th, 2009

When is wasabi not wasabi?

Random food fun fact of the day: most wasabi actually isn’t. It’s really just horseradish with mustard and coloring:

When dining and served wasabi with your sushi, the wasabi you are served is not always what it seems. Due to a high demand and limited supply, what is often served with your sushi is a mix of American horseradish, mustard and coloring, which the Japanese call seiyô no wasabi (“western wasabi”). This is because real wasabi can be hard to find or very expensive outside Japan (up to $100/lb). If you would like to be sure what you have, you can ask your wait staff if what you are served is ‘real wasabi’ and if not, if it is available. If you are served putty, more than likely it is not real. Real wasabi is grated (traditionally on a sharkskin grater called an oroshi) and looks as such. Fake wasabi is not and does not. Just ask your wait staff for ‘fresh wasabi’ and if they have the real thing, they will usually return with a dish with a grated pile of the real thing, which is a very different experience from fake wasabi.

Yet another way we, as consumers, are screwed by cheap imitations!

Posted in Food and Beverage

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