Is Wasabi a Root?

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Is Wasabi a Root

There are many exotic foods that we don’t get to experience or learn about in the regular course of our lives. Wasabi is one of them, as most people only ever run into it in a sushi restaurant.

But there’s a lot to explore when it comes to wasabi. One question some people have is, is wasabi a root?

We’ll dive into that question here, as well as some other basic questions about the spicy condiment. Read on, and you may discover something you never knew about wasabi.

Quick Summary: Is Wasabi a Root?

Let’s start by asking the question at the root of this post: is wasabi a root? The answer is simply “sort of.”

Wasabi comes from a plant called Wasabia Japonica, which is originally from the mountainous regions of Japan. The green paste you likely think of when you imagine wasabi comes from the rhizome of that plant.

A rhizome is a lot like a root. It’s underground like a root, but the difference is that rhizomes are more akin to stems than roots are. 

You May Also Like: Is Wasabi a Plant?

Is Wasabi Root a Vegetable?

Now you know wasabi is made from the rhizomes of a plant. This doesn’t answer all questions about the plant’s core identity, though, such as whether it’s a fruit or a vegetable.

We’ve discussed what type of plant wasabi is previously, but we’ll cover it again quickly here. Wasabi root is classified as a vegetable and is interestingly also related to cabbage and horseradish.

Want to learn more about the difference between horseradish and wasabi? You can read our post about if wasabi is different from horseradish.

Why is Wasabi Root So Expensive?

Here’s something that might shock you: real wasabi is exceedingly rare and costly, so most restaurants and stores around the world use a fake wasabi. It would simply be too expensive to provide authentic wasabi everywhere.

So, why exactly is true wasabi so costly? In short, it comes down to how finicky the plant is. Wasabi needs extremely precise conditions to grow in, making it almost impossible to produce on a commercial scale.

Read Also: How is Fake Wasabi Made?

Wrap Up

Wasabi might just be one of the most interesting plants out there. Rare and expensive things always carry a kind of mystique, and this zesty green condiment is no exception to that rule.

There’s a lot to learn about real wasabi, but discussing its flavor is a great starting point. Here is our guide to what real wasabi tastes like if you’d like more information.

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