Why is Wasabi Paste Green?

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Why is Wasabi Paste Green?

Have you ever gone to a sushi restaurant? You’ve likely seen that small dollop of wasabi paste that gets served alongside sushi, then.

It has a visually pleasing look that contrasts nicely with the food around it. You can’t tell at a glance, though, why wasabi paste is green, and that’s what we’re going to answer today.

In this post, we’ll talk about the color of wasabi paste and where it comes from.

Quick Answer: Why is Wasabi Paste Green?

The wasabi paste you get in a restaurant or at the store most likely isn’t real wasabi. True wasabi is pretty rare outside of Japan.

One of the main ingredients in the wasabi paste you’ll find most often is green food dye. The vivid green color, as you might imagine, comes from that food coloring.

In real wasabi, the green hue comes from chlorophyll, just like in other plants.

Read Also: Why are Wasabi and Ginger Served with Sushi?

What’s in the Wasabi Paste You Get at Restaurants?

As we mentioned previously, authentic wasabi is extremely rare in the United States. The reason why it’s so rare is because wasabi plants are very hard to grow.

Some Japanese mountainsides have the perfect growing conditions for this pungent plant. Because of this, Japanese farmers have been cultivating it for generations upon generations.

The wasabi you’ll find in restaurants and stores is a substitute. It’s commonly made from things like horseradish, mustard, spinach powder, and green food coloring.


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You might be wondering where you can find real wasabi paste to try for yourself. Unfortunately, finding it in the United States won’t be easy.

There’s a possibility you’ll be able to find it in upscale Japanese restaurants. Another alternative is to try looking at specialty grocery stores, especially those kinds that specialize in various types of Asian cuisine.

But if all else fails, you can try looking for wasabi online. There’s a brand called Shizuoka that sells Wasabi [amazon fields=”B008D3079K” value=”link” title=”online here.”] Sadly, we can’t read the ingredients because the package is in Japanese.

The product description claims there is real Japanese wasabi in it, though, and it is supposedly imported from Japan.

Wrap Up

The wasabi paste you’ll find most often in the United States is likely green from food coloring. Real wasabi, on the other hand, gets its bold coloration from chlorophyll.

The bad news is, you’re in for a struggle if you’re looking for legitimate wasabi in the United States. Because of its complex growing conditions, wasabi isn’t often found outside of Japan.

Want to know what real wasabi tastes like? We’ve written about it in more detail here.