Foreigners who are into Japanese food but haven’t actually been to Japan may want to check this short video that reveals a shocking secret about imported wasabi. While the clip simply explains why real wasabi is quite rare and difficult to find, it also points out one surprising fact in its title: “The Wasabi You Eat Probably Isn’t Wasabi”
The video, produced by All Nippon Airways in partnership with video network Great Big Story, explores the delicate art of wasabi cultivation, according to RocketNews24.
Filmed in the Hotaka countryside in Nagano Prefecture, the production showed farmers from the Daio Wasabi Farm explaining how to cultivate a plant dubbed as the “hardest to grow”. Its delicate cultivation process makes the plant very expensive and rare to find outside Japan.
Overseas, it is usually substituted with horseradish dyed with green food coloring.
One can always visit Japan and buy the Wasabia Japonica plant. To release its flavor, however, requires grinding the plant on a shark-skin grater. Its complex, sweet flavor combined with its unique spicy twist is not hard to miss.
The plant also requires 13-18 degrees Celsius (55 – 64 degrees Fahrenheit) spring water, a particular amount of shade and sunlight, and a year-and-a-half in the soil to grow perfectly.
This means that unless you are in Japan or are provided with authentic Japanese cuisine, it’s highly unlikely you have eaten actual wasabi at all. Many people have actually missed out on the true flavor of the rare plant and have been eating horseradish all along.