Maybe one of the biggest tricks of the culinary world comes from a condiment, and it’s exceedingly hard to get. Of course, we’re talking about wasabi, the classic pairing for sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes. But all wasabi is not what it seems. In fact, chances are high you’ve never even tasted it! Lucky for us, North America’s only commercial wasabi farm is right here in Vancouver.

As a little reminder- the vast majority of wasabi you’ll get from your local sushi joint is actually horseradish dyed green. While this usually does the trick (and is a heckuva lot cheaper to make), the flavour is only a shadow of the real thing.

Which is why we were surprised to find out that Pacific Coast Wasabi has managed to cultivate the authentic Japanese wasabi plant using time-honoured traditions and state-of-the-art technology.

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Authentic wasabi

Rather than find nearby mountain streams to grow the plants, Pacific Coast recreates the conditions in a greenhouse setting. The good news? They’re claiming the exact same quality as Japanese ‘sawa’ wasabi, which grows in semi-aquatic conditions.

Wasabi for purchase

As mentioned above, this devotion comes at a pretty penny. Pacific Coast Wasabi sells fresh wasabi online by weight, starting at 250 grams. For that amount, you’re looking at $100 CAD, which is probably more than you’d spend on all the other ingredients for your at-home sushi night combined. Well, unless you’re flying in half a tuna from Japan.

Although – having authentic, locally-grown wasabi at your next dinner party would certainly win you some major host points.

Medicinal use

Pacific Coast Wasabi also offers wasabi capsules ($40) and wasabi powder ($130) on its online store, which is used more for medicinal purposes than cuisine. In fact, the company has obtained its first round of experimental results looking into the benefits of wasabi capsules in treating certain cancers.

“We are getting great results with our dietary supplements made using 100% freezer-dried wasabi rhizomes,” the company tells Curiocity. You can learn more about wasabi’s biomedical info here.

And that’s all we’ve got for now, folks. Whether you’re an avid wasabi lover or just a lover of unique Vancouver businesses – we hope you enjoyed the brief wasabi deep dive.