Top 10 Best Packs of Wasabi to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!

If you’re a big sushi or soba eater, you know that some foods just don’t taste right without good wasabi. (Unless you dislike wasabi, in which case, we hope this article will brainwash you into liking it.) But wasabi done badly can be biting, astringent, and downright horrifying, so it makes sense you’d want to do your research before waltzing into a Japanese supermarket and buying a pack.

To save you the pain of having your nose burned off, we ordered the 10 most popular packs of wasabi found in Japanese supermarkets and on Japan’s e-commerce sites (such as Amazon, Rakuten and Yahoo Shopping) and tested them all.

We also invited three certified seasoning sommeliers and asked them to taste each product. (For those that are unfamiliar with seasoning sommeliers, they are professionals that have passed an exam proctored by the Japan Seasoning Meisters Association.) The three experts then compared the following:

1. Spice
2. Fragrance
3. Flavor
4. Compatibility with Other Foods
5. Aftertaste

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional wasabi.

This article's specialists

Megumi Yoshida
Etsuko Makino
Takayo Ishikawa
  • Last updated: 10-24-2019
  • 307 views
Table of Contents

Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge

We invited three specialists, each known for her expertise in seasonings, to help us try out all the wasabi.
Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge
{Left: Etsuko Makino}
She uses her knowledge as a vegetable sommelier pro and seasoning sommelier to develop new recipes and products, introducing the charm and flavor of fruits and vegetables to all generations. She's very active, making appearances on on NHK Radio's "Saitamazu" and Television Saitama's "Machikomi."

{Middle: Takayo Ishikawa}
She's a food expert that's a certified vegetable sommelier and seasoning sommelier pro. You may see her at workshops or nutrition lectures, elucidating the relationship between housewives and seasonings. She's also well-versed in kitchen appliances and oversees the development of various condiment-related items. And to top off her wide-ranging lists of accomplishments, she also helps craft recipes for condiment brands and pens food columns.

{Right: Megumi Yoshida}
She's a food expert that's a certified vegetable sommelier pro and seasoning sommelier. She wears many hats, crafting and publishing family-oriented recipes, writing columns, teaching at a cultural center, running the Aomori Vegetable Marché, and making radio appearances.

How to Choose Wasabi – Buying Guide

Wasabi’s more than “that stuff that shoots up your nose.” Depending on what kind of wasabi you choose, you can get a completely different level of spice and flavor.

Know What Goes into Your Wasabi and How Spicy It is

Surprise, surprise. Not all wasabi is actually wasabi. There’s two types, “real” wasabi※1, which is actually made from wasabia japonica (yes, that’s the root’s name), and “Western” wasabi※2, which is just grated horseradish. They taste differently and burn in completely different ways.
※1 本わさび: real wasabi (hon-wasabi)
※2 西洋わさび: Western wasabi (seiyou-wasabi)

“Real” Wasabi from Japan Has a Light, Refreshing Bite

“Real” Wasabi from Japan Has a Light, Refreshing Bite
Depending on how it was cultivated, Japanese wasabi can either be classified as “water wasabi“※3 or “field wasabi.”※4
Water wasabi’s like fireflies; it can only thrive in the presence of clear water, such as near a running stream or in a valley. Land for its cultivation, even in Japan, is extremely limited. Field wasabi, too, has its own conditions; it can only be grown where the air is humid and the temperature cool. Therefore, you could say that real wasabi is a semi-rare and precious food.
When you grate wasabia japonica, it comes out to a pale yellow-green; when you taste it, the spice is elegant, with a clear, refreshing note winding through it. Real wasabi will never overpower a food, but rather enhance its flavors. Therefore, products made from wasabia japonica are in high demand, which has driven prices up.
Wasabi janonica is also cultivated in China; however, if you mean to be picky about flavor, try to stick to Japanese-grown wasabi.
If you do manage to get your hands on real wasabi, make sure of the following as well. For fish such as sashimi or sushi, use wasabi that’s finely grated; for meats, use wasabi that’s more roughly grated.
※3 水わさび: water wasabi (mizu-wasabi)
※4 畑わさび: field wasabi (hatake-wasabi)

Western Wasabi Can Be Used Not Only as a Condiment, but for Cooking as Well

Western Wasabi Can Be Used Not Only as a Condiment, but for Cooking as Well
Western wasabi’s made of horseradish, largely grown in the States or Europe. And as you may know, horseradish is a popular spice to be had along with roast beef.
In order to meet growing demand for wasabi, most of the condiments you see in the supermarket have horseradish in them, even in Japan. Horseradish is about 1.5 times as spicy as real wasabi, and it’s what gives your nose that burning sensation.
Because it’s so strong, if we had a choice, we’d pair it only with meats–that is, foods that are bolder in flavor.

② Consider Other Flavor Profiles as Well

② Consider Other Flavor Profiles as Well
Like we said, wasabi isn’t all spice. It’s got its own flavor and aftertaste, both of which you should pay close attention to.
If you can, taste the wasabi (if not, read reviews) to make sure that you enjoy every bit of the eating experience.

③ Think about What Form the Wasabi’s in

The first thing that comes to mind when you hear “wasabi” is likely that wet green paste (that can unfortunately be mistaken for matcha ice cream), but wasabi can also come as a powder.
Think about how you mean to store and use the wasabi when deciding between the two forms.

Paste that Comes in a Tube or a Jar Makes Enjoying the Umami of Wasabi a Simple Task

Paste that Comes in a Tube or a Jar Makes Enjoying the Umami of Wasabi a Simple Task
If you have wasabi at home, it’s probably in a tube. Tubes are convenient because you can squeeze out as much product as you’d like. You can also find a great variety of tubed wasabi; for example, there’s the grated kind※5, made by grating the wasabi root, and the kneaded kind※6, in which wasabi powder is mixed with water and kneaded into a kind of dough.
You can also get authentic stuff made from real wasabi or products that have had their flavor deepened with the addition of soup stock. Tube wasabi varies greatly in both taste and texture, so you should be able to find something you like. If you like a crisp crunch to your wasabi–something you can chew on–you can also find roughly chopped wasabi in a jar.
Wasabi that’s been made into a paste has a relatively short shelf life. To enhance umami, brands also tend to add in salt and other flavorings, so if you’re looking for clean wasabi, make sure you read the ingredients list.
※5 おろしわさび: grated wasabi (oroshi-wasabi)
※6 練りわさび: kneaded wasabi (neri-wasabi)

Powdered Wasabi Has Fewer Additives and a Longer Shelf Life

Powdered Wasabi Has Fewer Additives and a Longer Shelf Life
All you’ve got to do is mix some powder and water together, and you’ve got yourself kneaded wasabi. By adjusting how much water you put in, you can also make the paste thicker or thinner. Powdered wasabi gives you more freedom to play around and change its make-up to match the dish you’re making.
Powdered wasabi’s pretty much guaranteed to be made from horseradish, so it’s going to be spicy. It won’t ever be able to measure up to the full and mellow spice of real wasabi.
However, it contains less extra flavors and keeps for longer. Try getting powdered wasabi if you’re worried about preservatives or you can never seem to finish tubed wasabi before the expiration date. It’s also a great gift to bring or send back to the States for friends and family.

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them
Now to introduce the 10 most popular packs of wasabi that we ordered and the process by which we tested them.
{The Products We Tested}
1. S&B Oroshi Nama-Wasabi (S&B おろし生わさび)
2. S&B Taberu Wasabi (S&B 食べるわさび)
3. S&B Meisho Japanese Hon-Wasabi (S&B 名匠 にっぽんの本わさび)
4. House Foods Ryoutei Nama-Wasabi (ハウス食品 料亭 生わさび)
5. House Foods Wasabi Powder (ハウス食品 特製粉わさび)
6. House Foods Tokusen Hon Kaori Nama-Wasabi (ハウス食品 特選本香り 生わさび)
7. House Foods Hon Kizami Aragiri ~Rough Cut~ Wasabi (ハウス食品 本きざみ粗切りわさび)
8. MUSO Umami Honrai Nama-Wasabi Tube (ムソー 旨味本来・生わさびチューブ)
9. Kameya Oroshi Hon-Wasabi (カメヤ おろし本わさび)
10. Kameya Wasabi Araoroshi (カメヤ わさび粗おろし)
We then tested each for the following things:
Test ①: Spice
Test ②: Fragrance
Test ③: Flavor
Test ④: Compatibility with Other Foods
Test ⑤: Aftertaste
Finally, we looked at how all the elements worked together and gave each wasabi an overall score.

Test ①: How Strong the Spice was

Test ①: How Strong the Spice was
We had our three seasoning sommeliers taste all the wasabi. They then shared their impressions on wasabi’s defining characteristic: spice.
We then graded each product on a five step scale from D to A+. An A+ score simply means the wasabi was extremely spicy, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

The Big Takeaway: The Spiciest Wasabi by Far was MUSO’s Umami Honrai Nama-Wasabi Tube

The Big Takeaway: The Spiciest Wasabi by Far was MUSO’s Umami Honrai Nama-Wasabi Tube
All three of our experts gave this wasabi an A+ for spice. It was made up largely of horseradish, with some Japanese-grown real wasabi mixed in.
It was not only hot but also extremely fragrant, so it may overpower some foods–the natural spice of horseradish came out full force. Get it if you’re specifically looking to crank up the heat, but unless you’re a spice-addict or looking to prank your friends, MUSO’s wasabi may be a bit too much to handle.
Megumi Yoshida
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Megumi Yoshida
The more you eat, the more the heat intensifies. It also has a sourness to it that reminds me of Western mustard, so it might be lacking a bit in authenticity.

Test ②: How It Smelled

Test ②: How It Smelled
Most people only think about heat when shopping for wasabi, but fragrance is just as important. Before you even put anything to your lips, smell shapes your expectations of the food and how you’ll perceive its taste.
We had the three sommeliers do a smell and taste test. They judged how well-balanced the smells were and then graded each product on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: House Foods’ Tokusen Hon Kaori Nama-Wasabi Best Exemplified the Sharp Fragrance We Associate with Wasabi

The Big Takeaway: House Foods’ Tokusen Hon Kaori Nama-Wasabi Best Exemplified the Sharp Fragrance We Associate with Wasabi
This was real wasabi, pure and aunthetic. It had that crisp scent characteristic of wasabi, which we found invigorating.
It smelled neither too strong nor too weak but was in that sweet spot that whets that appetite and makes eating all the more pleasurable.
Etsuko Makino
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Etsuko Makino
House Foods' Tokusen Honkou Nama-Wasabi smells as real wasabi should smell—light and clean and not overwhelming.

Test ③: How Rich the Flavor was

Test ③: How Rich the Flavor was
When wasabi has well-balanced flavors, it helps other foods express themselves in deeper and richer ways–that is, it makes everything more delicious.
Our experts tried the wasabi and weighed all the flavors, then graded each product on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: S&B’s Meisho Japanese Hon-Wasabi Tasted the Richest

The Big Takeaway: S&B’s Meisho Japanese Hon-Wasabi Tasted the Richest
We agreed that S&B’s hon-wasabi balanced flavors very well.
Generally speaking, products that were all or mostly real wasabi were rated highly, as their flavors weren’t as overpowering as those of horseradish. We thought it appealed to Japanese sensibilities. Real wasabi has a brilliant scent that makes itself apparent in every bite, as well as a chilling taste that clears the sinuses.
Megumi Yoshida
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Megumi Yoshida
It's a bit spicy but has a good balance of fragrance and flavors. It just feels very pure.

Test ④: How Compatible with Food It was

Test ④: How Compatible with Food It was
If Japanese food were a movie, wasabi would win best supporting actor. After all, no one eats wasabi alone–its charm lies in how it complements other ingredients. Should the taste of wasabi grow either too strong or wane too weak, the balance of your entire dish will be thrown off.
We served wasabi with kamaboko (processed fish paste) to our experts and had them judge how well the flavors worked together. They then graded each wasabi on a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: Kameya’s Oroshi Hon-Wasabi Complemented Most Anything

The Big Takeaway: Kameya’s Oroshi Hon-Wasabi Complemented Most Anything
This tubed wasabi had a sharp spiciness to it and a refreshing aftertaste. The rich flavor of real wasabi brought out the umami of the entire dish.
It had quite a bold flavor, so it never paled in comparison to other ingredients.
Takayo Ishikawa
Vegetable Sommelier, Seasoning Sommelier Pro
Takayo Ishikawa
Kameya's Oroshi Hon-Wasabi strikes a good balance between its scent and flavors and light aftertaste. You'll get a lot of use out of it, as it tastes good with pretty much anything.

Test ⑤: How Refreshing the Aftertaste was

Test ⑤: How Refreshing the Aftertaste was
Your eating experience doesn’t end once you’ve swallowed; it’s important you find a wasabi with a clean, refreshing aftertaste. You could say that searching for wasabi that is subdued and refined even as it lingers, in its own way, represents the Japanese sensibility of wabi-sabi.
We had our experts grade the aftertaste each wasabi left behind when eaten with other foods, using a five-step scale from D to A+.

The Big Takeaway: The Most Refreshing Aftertaste of Them All was Left Behind by Kameya’s Wasabi Araoroshi, Which Used Only Real Wasabi

The Big Takeaway: The Most Refreshing Aftertaste of Them All was Left Behind by Kameya’s Wasabi Araoroshi, Which Used Only Real Wasabi
This tubed wasabi was all real. It was roughly grated, so there was also some bite to it. The more we chewed on it, the more we could taste the root’s delicate sweetness.
This was true of most products made of real wasabi, but there was a sweetness and clear aftertaste that lingered even after we finished eating. It was an dining experience we found ourselves craving more of.
Etsuko Makino
Seasoning Sommelier, Vegetable Sommelier Pro
Etsuko Makino
The harder you chew, the more this wasabi will heat up. However, afterwards, you're just left with a light sweetness, so it pairs well with other foods.

The Final Verdict: Top 10 Best Wasabi to Buy Online 2019

Now to introduce the 10 best packs of wasabi available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.
10. MUSO Umami Honrai Nama-Wasabi Tube 1

10. MUSO Umami Honrai Nama-Wasabi Tube

$3.19

TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedWestern, Real
SpiceA+ (1st)
FragranceC (9th)
FlavorD (10th)
Compatibility with FoodD (10th)
AftertasteD (10th)
Overall ScoreD (10th)
TypePowder
Wasabi UsedWestern
SpiceB (2nd)
FragranceB (2nd)
FlavorC (5th)
Compatibility with FoodD (9th)
AftertasteD (9th)
Overall ScoreD (9th)
8. House Foods Hon Kizami Aragiri ~Rough Cut~ Wasabi 1

8. House Foods Hon Kizami Aragiri ~Rough Cut~ Wasabi

$2.99

TypePaste (Jar)
Wasabi UsedReal, Western
SpiceD (10th)
FragranceB (5th)
FlavorC (7th)
Compatibility with FoodC (7th)
AftertasteC (7th)
Overall ScoreC (8th)
7. S&B Taberu Wasabi 1

7. S&B Taberu Wasabi

$6.45

TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedWestern
SpiceC (9th)
FragranceB (3rd)
FlavorC (7th)
Compatibility with FoodC (6th)
AftertasteC (6th)
Overall ScoreC (7th)
TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedWestern, Real
SpiceC (7th)
FragranceD (10th)
FlavorC (8th)
Compatibility with FoodC (8th)
AftertasteC (8th)
Overall ScoreC (6th)
TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedReal
SpiceB (4th)
FragranceA+ (1st)
FlavorC (8th)
Compatibility with FoodB (3rd)
AftertasteC (5th)
Overall ScoreB (5th)
TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedReal
SpiceC (8th)
FragranceB (4th)
FlavorA (2nd)
Compatibility with FoodB (5th)
AftertasteB (4th)
Overall ScoreB (4th)
3. S&B Meisho Japanese Hon-Wasabi 1

3. S&B Meisho Japanese Hon-Wasabi

$2.20

TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedReal
SpiceB (5th)
FragranceC (7th)
FlavorA (3rd)
Compatibility with FoodA (2nd)
AftertasteA (2nd)
Overall ScoreA (3rd)
2. House Foods Ryoutei Nama-Wasabi 1

2. House Foods Ryoutei Nama-Wasabi

$1.81

TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedReal
SpiceA (3rd)
FragranceB (6th)
FlavorB (6th)
Compatibility with FoodB (4th)
AftertasteA (3rd)
Overall ScoreA (2nd)
1. Kameya Wasabi Araoroshi 1

1. Kameya Wasabi Araoroshi

$2.36

TypePaste (Tube)
Wasabi UsedReal
SpiceB (6th)
FragranceC (8th)
FlavorA+ (1st)
Compatibility with FoodA+ (1st)
AftertasteA+ (1st)
Overall ScoreA+ (1st)

Does Wasabi Really Provide Health Benefits?

Does Wasabi Really Provide Health Benefits?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: wasabi provides a healthy dose of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and iron. Of course, you can only eat so much wasabi in a single sitting, so we wouldn’t say it’s a food that provides a whole lot of nutritional value.
When you grate wasabi, you break its cell walls and catalyze the release of an enzyme called myrosinase. This then mixes with the wasabi and produces an organic compound known as allyl isothiocynate (AITC), which is what makes wasabi spicy. AITC also has strong antimicrobial properties and is even said to fight bacteria that causes food poisoning.
Wasabi is also known to increase appetite, improve blood circulation, and detox, so see if you can give it a bigger place in your diet.

Summary

We invited three experts, purchased the 10 top selling packs of wasabi, and tested them all.
You don’t need to buy a new recipe book to spice up your life. Just by switching out one condiment for another, you can breathe new life into your kitchen and your family dinners. Hopefully, we’ve gotten you all excited about your next trip to the supermarket (or Amazon shopping spree).
Original by Yoshiko Ito; Translation by Jasmine Li

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  • Top 9 Best Japanese Soy Sauces to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    Top 9 Best Japanese Soy Sauces to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    Soy sauce※1 is the driving force behind flavor in a number of famous Asian dishes, be it stirfry, soup, or cold seaweed salad. That’s why there’s so many different kinds–each with a different color, depth, and flavor profile, some best when heated in a pan, some best when poured straight into a little sauce dish. Depending on the kind of soy sauce you use, you could completely rework a flavor.And whether it’s because you love Japanese cuisine and want to be as authentic as possible or you live in Japan and need help navigating the supermarket, you’re interested in finding the ultimate Japanese soy sauce. Well, this time around, we ordered the 9 most popular bottles of soy sauce available in Japanese supermarkets and on e-commerce sites and tested them all.We also invited three certified seasoning sommeliers and asked them to taste each product. (For those that are unfamiliar with seasoning sommeliers, they are professionals that have passed an exam proctored by the Japan Seasoning Meisters Association.) The three experts then compared the following:1. Savoriness※22. Sweetness3. Fragrance4. Umami (or Fullness of Flavor)※35. Utility and Compatible FoodsThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese soy sauces.※1 醤油: soy sauce※2 塩味: savoriness (here, used to indicate saltiness and flavors opposed to sweetness)※3 旨味: umami (while often translated as savoriness, here we use it to mean a lush layering of flavors, like what you would find in a full-bodied wine)
    Food and drinks
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  • Top 10 Best Salts to Buy Online 2019
    Top 10 Best Salts to Buy Online 2019
    No spice rack is complete without salt. But there are so many kinds: processed salt, sea salt, table salt, himalayan salt, and so on. How are you supposed to figure which’ll suit your palate?Well, it’s important to know what features to consider when purchasing salt. Find out where it’s from, how it tastes, what it costs, what’s inside, and what people have said about it. Then flip through your recipe book, and figure out just how you use salt.
    Food and drinks
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  • Top 10 Best Edible Insects to Buy Online 2019
    Top 10 Best Edible Insects to Buy Online 2019
    It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, to conceive of how quickly food, water, and other ambrosia necessary to life is drying up–and how, all the while, the modest ant is gorging himself on our rubbish and making a general nuisance of himself.Solution: why not make a snack out of him? While Dr. Swift’s case for cannibalism was ironic, entomophagy (eating insects) is being touted as a serious solution to ecological and nutritional problems. And now you’ve jumped on the bandwagon. But, of course, you wonder–what bugs can I even eat, and are they available in powders, with no hairy legs? Let’s talk.
    Food and drinks
    84 views
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