If you’ve devoured a couple hundred spicy tuna rolls in your day, we have bad news: that green dollop you’ve come to know as wasabi is actually an imposter. “The truth is, you’ve probably never eaten real wasabi,” Chemical & Engineering Newssenior editor Sarah Everts says in a recent video from the American Chemical Society.
Um… then WTF are we eating Sarah?!
According to her, that green paste we’ve used to spice things up and clear out our sinuses is actually a mixture of European horseradish, hot mustard, and green dye. Real wasabi is so hard to cultivate, that it’s even a rare sight in Japan. So obviously they wouldn’t want to waste the good stuff on your California roll.
According to BBC, only 5% of the fake wasabi we eat actually comes from wasabi root. But those with a more sophisticated palate can easily identify real wasabi when they see it; bona fide wasabi comes freshly grated. Only after it’s shaved does the condiment release the enzymes that provide its signature taste.
Sadly the real thing is pretty pricy, running about $160 per kilogram, and the taste only lasts for about 15 minutes. So be happy with that fake paste, would ya?