As much as I love Japanese food, I’m not really a fan of wasabi. It’s a dangerous condiment. If you take a bit too much it will blow your head off. Trust me, that’s happened to me on many occasions. Almost all wasabi that we get in supermarkets or restaurants isn’t actually wasabi at all, but rather a dyed horseradish paste. Real wasabi comes from the root of the wasabi plant and is extremely sensitive to the climate which makes it difficult to grow and transport.
I was excited to find some wasabi root in an import supermarket in Shanghai as I had never tried it before. When using fresh wasabi, you usually grate it on a fine grater which creates a kind of pulp. Some chefs in Japan use shark skin as a grater. Unfortunately I was fresh out of shark, so I used a normal grater instead.
Trying some of the fibers with great caution I found that it had all the flavour of wasabi, but it didn’t exactly slap you in the face. It had a kick, yes, but not one so strong that it leaves you in tears. I later grated some over some sushi and that was quite tasty. I only wonder if maybe the wasabi had lost some of its power and taste over the long journey from Japan to my stomach.
Fear Factor – 6 / Taste Test – 8