Source for Fresh Wasabi root (GTA)?
Has any chowhound ever tracked down a source for real wasabi in the GTA? We had sushi at Blue Ribbon in NYC last week, where they grated fresh wasabi at the sushi bar to serve alongside some very yummy maki and nigiri. Much more mild and interesting than the faux-wasabi paste that one usually gets.
Pacific Coast Wasabi in BC sells fresh sawa (semi-aquatic) wasabi for $220/kilo + shipping - more expensive if you order less.
They also have field-grown (oka) wasabi, for $160/kilo fresh or $110-$130/100 g. freeze-dried, which "lasts forever in the freezer and delivers much of the fresh wasabi flavour with less hassle" [according to an article in "The Art of Eating", April, 2007).
604 351 0969 or wasabia.ca
Try Taro's Fish in J-Town. I saw hon-wasabi once or twice (mind you, the price is outrageous). You'd also need a special grater made with shark skin, which is another expensive item.
Personally I think tube wasabi is just fine, for the quality of the fish we get in Toronto. If you were in the Tsukiji fish market, or if you are rich enough to have the fish flown to you the same day, sure, hon-wasabi would be a must, but hey...
Agree with lilith. Taro's Fish has had fresh wasabi a lot of the times I've been there.
You don't need the shark skin grater though, one of these will do just fine, quite a few places in Tokyo give these to you at the table to grate your own little chunk of wasabi:
Wasabi grated with 'just any' grater vs. shark skin grater makes a total difference!
If you are spending $$$ for hon-wasabi, DON'T spoil it! please, please, please, use the shark skin and be gentle, grate slowly in a circular motion. This makes the wasabi creamy and fragrant.
I found a good read in English FYI