[Metroactive Dining]

[ Dining Index | Silicon Valley | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

[whitespace] Whassup, Wasabi?

By Traci Vogel

BUSTER POINDEXTER may very well have been chomping on wasabi when he sang his cheesy 1987 hit, "Hot, Hot, Hot." Sometimes known as Asian horseradish, wasabi is actually a semiaquatic member of the cabbage family. Its tuberlike stem is ground into the pale green paste traditionally served as a topping on Japanese-style tofu and noodles. Although sushi etiquette formally discourages mixing wasabi and soy sauce, most Western diners first encounter the spicy green stuff as a sushi condiment, along with pickled ginger, instituting many an endurance contest between hotheads.

Wasabi is believed to act as an antidote to food poisoning, which is a useful property when served with raw fish. Research in Japan suggests that wasabi may also have anti-carcinogenic properties. Make sure, however, that the wasabi you want is the wasabi you get. Because real wasabi is harder to come by, imitation wasabi, made up of a little horseradish and food coloring, is all too common. These wasabi wannabes aren't nearly as sweet as real wasabi, which combines heat and sugar to complement the flavors of sushi.

Send a letter to the editor about this story .

[ Silicon Valley | Metroactive Home | Archives ]

From the May 2-8, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate