If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, you may be shocked to discover that most the wasabi you eat, whether in powdered or paste form, isn’t real. True wasabi is quite costly because the plant is finicky and only grows under extremely specific conditions.
Fake wasabi isn’t necessarily bad, and many find that it is at the very least a passable alternative. You may still have some questions about it, though, such as how fake wasabi is made.
We’ll take a closer look at the condiment in this post.
Quick Answer: How is Fake Wasabi Made?
There are two main types of imitation wasabi: powdered and paste. The way in which either one is made varies.
Fake wasabi powder is usually made from dried horseradish and mustard that is then ground into a powder and mixed with green food coloring. You can use this powder to make a mock wasabi paste by combining it with water.
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What is Real Wasabi Made Out of?
Authentic wasabi paste and powder comes from a plant called wasabi japonica. To be more specific, the rhizome, which is like a root, is where wasabi comes from.
This root is harvested, dried out, and ground up if it is going to be made into a powder. If you’re going to make a paste, you can take the root and grate it.
You can find more information about how to make the paste in our guide to how wasabi paste is made.
Is the Wasabi We Eat Real?
Outside of Japan, most of the wasabi you’ll come across is fake. Remember, wasabi is surprisingly expensive, so you it’s simply not feasible to have it everywhere.
If you’re at the grocery store and you spot some wasabi on the shelves, it’s probably just a mix of horseradish and food coloring. However, you can order authentic wasabi online if you absolutely need to acquire some.
Read Also: What Does Real Wasabi Taste Like?
How Expensive is Real Wasabi?
We’ve mentioned a couple times in this guide that wasabi is expensive. But exactly how expensive is it? It can’t be that bad, right?
Not necessarily. Real wasabi can cost up to $250 per kilo. The reason for the extremely steep cost is that it’s one of the hardest crops to grow on a commercial scale. Precise conditions must be met in order for it to grow at all.
Learn more about wasabi’s growing conditions in our post about why wasabi is so hard to grow.
Are you desperate to try some wasabi? The bad news is that most of the wasabi you’ll find in local stores or restaurants is just a mixture of inexpensive horseradish and green food coloring. When you consider how costly the real deal is, this makes perfect sense.
That being said, real wasabi isn’t totally impossible to find. If it’s a must-have for you, you can order it online.