One of the top trends in food tastes over the last two years was the use of wasabi. Previously associated with sushi it suddenly started to pop up as paste, powder, on burgers, even as toothpaste! The strange thing is that real wasabi is quite difficult to grow. It needs constant running water and the temperature should not be too hot or too cold. Even if you were to go into a restaurant and order it by it’s proper name “Eutrema japonicum” you probably would not be lucky enough to be served real Wasabi. In Japan it is to be found in top restaurant and is extremely expensive. The reason for this is that the wasabi plant only retains it’s sharpness and distinct sinus clearing attributes for about a half hour. It must be grated freshly to order Of course the aforementioned difficulties with the growing procedure also contribute to the high price tag..
The Japanese talk about Hon Wasabi (real wasabi) , this is the fresh plant grated to order. Seiyo Wasabi, a type of fabricated wasabiis generally made using freeze dried powder from the wasabi plant, additives to increase the shelf life, turmeric, mustard seeds, and of course Horseradish.
Recently following a court case in Europe where the German Consumer Srandards organisation accused the company Kattus of misleading people by selling a product called wasabi peas which actually contained no trace of real wasabi the court decided in favour of the company. The court said because real wasabi wasn’t available for a comparison people could not really be mislead. In some european countries the plant is referred to as water horseradish. A good idea when buying is to check the list of ingredients to check exactly how much real wasabi powder has been used. Because of it’s distinctive taste and hotness factor it is a great taste to experiment with and If you have the opportunity to try real grated fresh wasabi, don’t hesitate. You can’t beat the real thing.