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Do you like wasabi? If so, we’ve got some potentially bad news for you: many people have never or rarely had actual pure wasabi. Often, the wasabi served at the average sushi place is just horseradish sauce and food coloring. If you’ve had pure wasabi, you likely had to pay a premium.

Growing wasabi is actually very difficult. This makes genuine wasabi rather rare and expensive.


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Wasabi doesn’t like being grown in clusters and diseases can quickly spread. As such, wasabi needs a lot of space and can be difficult to care for.

In many cases, restaurants will add a bit of real wasabi to horseradish sauce to make it more genuine. However, this wasabi is still not real wasabi, or at least not pure wasabi. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to enjoy fake wasabi. It can still improve your food, and it can also save you quite a bit of money.

How can you tell the difference between real wasabi vs fake? Real wasabi isn’t spicy and has a delicate flavor. This makes it less likely to interfere with the taste of the sushi. Horseradish sauce, on the other hand, has a strong taste, and one that many people like. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy that taste, and you might find yourself asking for straight horseradish sauce. You might also use horseradish sauce at home.

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