There is nothing like fresh wasabi and there is no plant to compare. Here the grating of wasabi is done on a traditional tool named oroshi gane. In contrast to European graters, traditional Japanese graters are not perforated. So the likes of garlic, ginger and many other roots and vegetables can be turned into a very fine paste. But be careful because those little teeth will cut you as they are razor-sharp.
Growing wasabi happens in several different types of wasabi fields and some I’ve visited. A number of factors affect the flavor of wasabi, including fresh spring water, temperature, stones and the presence of organic matter.
The key to good wasabi is controlling the flow of water. Sufficient volume of water must flow evenly, and in places where there is not enough water the roots do not grow large and the harvest volume goes down. Also, wasabi does not grow well in places where the water splashes so it’s a little tricky unless you are a pro.
In the coming years, wasabi farms in Shizuoka Prefecture and in western Japan will be hard put to find ways to cope with global warming.