Wasabi: you know it well, or so you think. Chances are, however, you've never actually eaten real wasabi, or at least not very often. This is because most of the wasabi served outside of Japan is a mixture of horseradish, mustard and food coloring. Even in Japan, the demand for real wasabi is so high that you'll often find the horseradish mixture instead, with little, if any, real wasabi mixed in.
Real wasabi tastes more herbal than the horseradish stuff. It's hot but doesn't have a lingering, burning aftertaste. It's supposed to taste smoother, cleaner and more "plant-like" than its commonly used substitute. The horseradish paste served in restaurants is harsher and not as fresh-tasting.
So now that you know you're probably eating fake wasabi, what does real wasabi look like and where does it come from?
Have you ever tasted real wasabi? Do you think you could tell the difference?
See here for a video from a wasabi farm in Oregon: