This page may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my link. This post is about Wasabi, one of the foods in my 1,000 Foods to Eat Project!
We recently returned from a ONCE IN A LIFETIME TRIP TO JAPAN! The word "incredible" doesn't even begin to describe it.
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
I used this as an opportunity to try to knock off as many of the Japanese foods as I could that are listed in the book 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton.
Basically I am trying my best to work my way through this book, and what better way to enjoy the Japanese foods than in Japan!
I learned Japan is COMPLETELY FOOD OBSESSED! I was in my element and had the time of my life trying some of the Japanese foods in the book.
Food #33 in My 1,000 Foods To Eat Project
Wasabi is food #32 on my list. Wasabi is also known as Japanese horseradish. It is a member of the family Brassicaceae, and grows naturally along the banks of stream beds in Japan. It is the root that is used to make what we know of as wasabi.
We found the root in both the grocery store and the markets when we visited Japan. The picture at the beginning of the post shows the wasabi root being sold in the market in pans of water. The picture below shows it being sold packaged in a grocery store.
It's quite expensive. 980 yen is around $9-$10 US dollars!
True Genuine Wasabi
It turns out that we may not have actually eaten true genuine wasabi while we were in Japan. We may have, but I'm not entirely sure.
Most of us are familiar with the paste that is sold in a tube as pictured above. I LOVE the stuff! It's pretty head clearing but I love it! My experience with the paste sold in the tube is to serve it with sushi and also as a condiment to accompany Cold Soba Noodles.
My understanding is that generally the paste is usually a combination of mustard, horseradish, and food coloring.
True Japanese horseradish can be had by consuming the fresh root! Cooks and chefs use wasabi graters, as pictured below, to grate the root. Guess what? The grater is made of sharkskin! Grating the root produces the paste. It's my understanding that once grated, you want to consume it ASAP...as the longer you leave it the less heat there will be.
The only place we may have had the genuine wasabi in Japan was at a restaurant called Yakiniku A5 Toku in Osaka. We were served a platter that included some as seen below. They didn't grate the fresh root at our table but served it this way. So MAYBE it's the real deal? I'm not sure but it was delicious whatever!
There is a great article called "What is Wasabi?" from Taste of Home that provides wonderful information on this amazing food. Please have a look if you have a chance!
True genuine Japanese horseradish can also be dried into a powder. You simply take the powder and mix it with water to make your paste! I have never tried the powder. However, the next time I buy wasabi I'll be trying this DualSpices Japanese Wasabi Powder. 🙂 There is one ingredient: 100% Pure Wasabia Japonica!
How Does Wasabi Taste?
My experience with wasabi (the paste anyway) is that it can blow your head off if you eat too much of it at one time! I'm used to the heat going up my nose and sometimes I think I'm going to die. 🙂 Seriously, I have had some of these moments. LOL
I read that the real deal is strong and vibrant, but the heat quickly fades so it's quite a clean heat versus the heat that you experience from chili peppers.
Fun Flavored Foods!
There is a plethora of wasabi flavored foods to be tried! Here are a couple that we got from Japan: Wasabi flavored KitKat and Wasabi pistachios. Both are yummy! I included links here if you'd like to check them out. 🙂
Where Can I Buy The Genuine Root?
This amazing plant is difficult to grow and requires very special growing conditions. Believe it or not, there are companies here in the US that grow wasabi. One of them, Real Wasabi is based in the Carolinas. They have a farm located in North Carolina where they grow much of their fresh wasabi.
I can't wait to explore the Real Wasabi site further! In addition to the plants and rhizomes that they sell, they also have recipes and offer some beautiful gifts. Definitely check it out!
Enjoy This Incredible Japanese Horseradish!
Whether it comes prepared in the tube, or if you are a purist and only 100% pure genuine Japanese horseradish will do, I hope you will enjoy some of this amazing food soon! It's such a unique taste and complements so many foods so well. It's also super fun to try the wasabi flavored foods!
Some Other Foods You May Enjoy!
1,000 Foods To Eat Project
Please follow along with me on this quest to try the 1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die, from the book by Mimi Sheraton! Join me in this journey and discover new foods, experiences, and cuisines which I hope will add inspiration, fun, and joy to your life! Visit the 1,000 Foods to Eat Project page to view a list of the foods tried so far.
If you'd like to follow along and be a part of the 1,000 Foods Project, please sign up to get the latest recipes and inspiration for you to expand your food comfort zone! It's an incredible journey, please join me by signing up here. 🙂