山葵 (Wasabia japonica)

My wife had to attend to urgent family matters and went home for a few weeks. When she asked me if there's anything I'd like her to bring back, well, of course: Wasabi! Now, most of you will have been already in Sushi shops or Japanese restaurants, and you thus may believe that you know what I'm talking about. You don't.

Personally, I've been served genuine wasabi only in two places in Japan, one in Osaka, one in Tokyo, both places I normally wouldn't even dream to visit since I don't want to spent my monthly income in one evening. But that's where I've learned what wasabi actually is – not the colored horse radish one gets almost everywhere, even in Japan (and certainly in Berlin), but one of the most delicious and stimulating spices and condiments I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

My wife bought a small little root as well as a おろし金 (shark-shin oroshigane), since wasabi is enjoyable only when being very finely grated. But when arriving at the airport, she was held back by authorities, since one cannot possibly bring the national treasures of Japan abroad without registering. 😱

Well, after filling out a phytosanitary certificate and getting it officially stamped, she was allowed to enter the plane to Helsinki. 😌

We are now having dinner and are enjoying the fresh wasabi together with good bread, butter, and smoked salmon (and beer). 😋 美味しい (Oishii)! 乾杯 (Kampai)!

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