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Aug 31, 2014 04:58 PM

Wasabi root

Does anyone know where one can purchase real wasabi root (the kind that you grind down on sharkskin)? I would venture this would be a high-end specialty food item or maybe at an Asian grocer?

I'm in the 'burbs, but happy to venture into the city or the Princeton area too if you're familiar.

Thanks much!

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  1. Have you ever gone to Assi Market in Lansdale. Large Asian market should have it.

    Since you are near Yardley/Newtown you might also try HMart in Levittown.

    7 Replies
    1. re: cwdonald

      Great ideas, thanks!! I haven't been to Assi Market, but have to check it out. It's been too long since I've been to HMart, but should've thought of that.

      1. re: dndicicco

        Id be suprised if you found it. I've looked in the big Asian markets on Washington Ave in Philly and have not found it.

        1. re: SP1

          The Washington ave markets are pretty SE Asain focused... assi and hmart carry some broader merchandise.

          1. re: barryg

            You are not going to find retail wasabi root anywhere in Philadelphia. Don't waste your time. Only retail place that sells it within a 150 mile radius is Mitsuwa. Essentially Fort Lee NJ.

            1. re: DaytimeDrinker

              I made a few phone calls and the utter confusion was disheartening.

              1. re: dndicicco

                I was at Mitsuwa the weekend before last and saw fresh wasabi roots in the produce section. It's $7 for a piece that's about 1 1/2 inch long.

    2. On a random note, during my usual grocery shopping at Whole Foods I picked up some frozen real wasabi root. Apparently it is ground down wasabi root then flash frozen a la the salmon and tuna.

      1 Reply
      1. re: dndicicco

        How was the frozen root? Did it compare favorably to fresh?

      2. Good news and bad news.

        Good news: whole foods' sashimi grade tuna is good. The quality is on par with about 90% of what you'll find in America (the other 10% representing that rare Japanese-run restaurant).

        Bad news: the wasabi is ehh. Yes, it's the real stuff, wasabi japonica, but they cut it with horseradish and cornstarch. So basically it's an amalgam. Is it better than those heaping bodies of horseradish that are so ubiquitous? Yes. Is it close to real wasabi root, no.

        1. Get ready to cash in your 401K. Wasabi rhizomes are very expensive

          I wasn't impressed with the ground real wasabi powder years ago. it was fine but not groundbreaking

          Haven't had this prepared product from Oregon in awhile, but always preferred it to the often fake green paste and powders. However I think their operation has changed. I did like their paste - a nice fresh taste.

          search with the word rhizome rather then root.

          Edit: Pacific Farms appears to no longer grow wasabi in Oregon, so unclear as to what their rhizome source is.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bellachefa


            I can empathize a little more with places such as Fuji of Haddonfield not carrying real wasabi root. The price is super high.

            That makes me respect Morimoto a little more that they always have a rhizome on hand to ground down. The flavor is really so much more sophisticated.

            I might try the powder though, as I'm not going to be spending hundreds of dollars on a wasabi fix! I don't mind a little fake in my life; I enjoy Splenda!

            1. re: dndicicco

              OTOH, Jesse said he would welcome a BYOW, l can bring my own sharkskin grater as well.

              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                hahaha. Weird but cool.

                I've had a Morimoto phase the past few days, as Barracuda is in season and they've been searing it up splendid. Fresh wasabi abounds, too. I recommend asking the chef to do a "premium" sashimi platter, the more "Japanese the better" are the key words I use. Finally, they have a albacore liver sauce they've been using which is very nice too.

                1. re: dndicicco

                  At Fuji Sat they served us an excellent monkfish liver and the albacore was perfect as well.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Sounds very good. I thought their akimo was the highlight of my meals there. They had some fatty salmon belly, which while not high on the Japanese list, certainly appealed to my American palette. Anything else you'd recommend requesting next visit?

                    Not to derail this too much, but I saw Sagami is of similar vein. Can I request an omakase at Sagami too or is Sushi A vs. B the standard there.

                    1. re: dndicicco

                      Was at Sagami a few weeks ago and was also very high quality. Bunch of people so did not sit at sushi bar there, and for me that makes a huge difference, not as much interplay with chef.

          2. Fresh and harvested in Japan. Samuels & Son Seafood ( now has it listed on their Daily Specials, under Foraged on Land.

            1 Reply
            1. re: borntolovefood

              Wow, thank you so much! That daily specials menu is a real treasure trove, and aligns very much with what I've been seeing at Morimoto and Fuji these past couple weeks, ha.