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The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Real wasabi

Most "wasabi" in sushi restaurants is fake. It's a mixture of horseradish, mustard and green dye.

It is damn good, but I was interested in trying the real stuff. The real stuff is is notoriously hard to grow, and it is very hard to find.

I found it. Real wasabi, grown by a biotech pioneer.

I've read about it. About how it tastes so different and so much better....And now I know what they're talking about.

How does it taste?

Well, it tastes about the same the as regular (fake...) wasabi: The same tingle, the same feeling in the sinuses. The only difference I was able to perceive was the tiny fiberous pieces of vegetable matter that crunched on the tooth - like fine pieces of celery - but were flavored with the potent punch of wasabi.

But overall, it was really the same. And its color was duller than the dyed stuff.

So it will be failure in the market?


I must say, had I been given the opportunity to invest in "real wasabi," I might just have thrown in a few hundred bucks.

Why? It tastes the same! Well, I know sushi people. I know people who think they know sushi.

If you tell these these folks that something is "authentic," they will demand it. In this way, they are like wine afficionados: at any party, there is always some jackass swirling wine on his glass, speaking of its bouquet and talking up its floral attributes.

For all he knows, it could be Taylor California Cellers. But he just wants to look classy.

Sushi eaters are the same way, and even the neophytes want to look like they know what they are doing.

Mark my words: in five years, most sushi restaurants in the US will have a "real wasabi" option. It might cost a few bucks more, but people will pay for it.

If for no other reason than they want to be just like the guy swirling his glass of Chateau Luzerne.

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