Grated wasabi on plate.

Odds Are, Your Wasabi Is Another Ingredient In Disguise

The flavor of wasabi might not be as distinctive as you would expect. The wasabi you receive at restaurants may not even be the real thing, as it could just be dyed horseradish.

True wasabi, known as hon-wasabi in Japanese, actually comes from a root vegetable in the same family as European horseradish, known as seiyo-wasabi.

To cut costs, horseradish is often dyed green and packaged with a very small amount of authentic wasabi mixed in, then sold as the real thing.

If your wasabi is in packet form or a chunky little pile on the side of a plastic sushi container, it's probably the fake horseradish-based seiyo-wasabi.

Real wasabi loses its flavor quickly after being grated, so restaurants that serve real wasabi will often serve it fresh by grating it from the whole root.

To get your hands on the real stuff, try searching Asian grocery stores or gourmet online retailers, and look for the plant's botanical name, Wasabia japonica, on the label.