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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm sure more than a few folks here have had the chance to enjoy real wasabi, but for those who haven't I just want to say its something you need to try. I've never had the chance to travel to Japan, but I've eaten at my fair share of US sushi bars. By and large all serve the ubiquitous green paste we all know and love. A select few offer real/fresh wasabi for sale. I've had the real stuff 5 times in my life, and another 3 where I paid for it and got what I believe was spicier green paste. Tonight I had the fortune of enjoying the real thing grated right in front of me. Tonight's experience confirmed that I've only had the real thing 5 times. Got ripped the other the other 3. The difference is like Pappy Van Winkle vs Jim Beam. Tonight's experience was a gift from my regular sushi chef because he happened to get a hold of some. If you get the chance I have to stress take it!
 

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. Tonight I had the fortune of enjoying the real thing grated right in front of me.
That is actually one of the key points,
it was freshly grated for you.
The taste and pungency declines considerably after 10-15 minutes.
Real grated wasabi is available in tubes and small packets,
tastes better than the usual wasabi, but not as good as fresh grated.

You can tell the difference by the FIBERS in the wasabi.
If you see small bits of string like fiber, its real wasabi.
If not, then it is made from wasabi powder,
which is ground mustard, horseradish and green food coloring.
Even in Japan, the powdered stuff is pretty standard for average
priced places. Mid range and higher will either serve it or offer
as an upcharge.

If you have a large JAPANESE or KOREAN market in your area,
they will probably have it for sale, usually around $100-120 pound.
Small piece, which is plenty, is around $10.

Don't forget the quality soy sauce, makes the most difference.

PS. did they use a metal grater, or was it wood with a grey pad on it.
If the wood, that is dried shark skin being used as the grating surface.
Tin Beverage can Aluminum can Tin can Beer
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It was a wood handle with a pad on it. I had no idea that was shark skin. Having it grated right there was a major difference maker. Like I said, I know I had it 5 times before but this is the first time it was grated fresh. It was such an amazing taste. I want to have this every time I have sushi. I also can't describe my horror when my wife put her portion into her soy sauce. That's a story for another time!
 

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It was a wood handle with a pad on it. I had no idea that was shark skin. . It was such an amazing taste.
Learn something new every day :)
Real wasabi has a sweet taste initially, then followed by a little punch.
You want to try fresh YUZU lemon mixed with soy, which is called ponzu.
Also, shiso leaf (perilla) that is wrapped with certain fish.


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I also can't describe my horror when my wife put her portion into her soy sauce. That's a story for another time!
Mixing the wasabi into the soy is the second worst,
first is putting the ginger on top of the fish and eating together :)
Wasabi served as a side, is really for use with Sashimi.


 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Semipro, the place is Sushi Lover in Plano. It's right at Ohio and 121 in the shops in front of Home Depot. I can't guarantee fresh wasabi will be on hand. This was the first time Frankie ever had it but he sent Vivian out with the root and the grater to share it with the folks who were there at that time. I can guarantee that if you sit down at the bar and introduce yourself to Frankie you will have a good time.

HJ, if I had a way to get fresh yuzu lemon I would sure as heck give it a go. The suburbs in the Dallas area don't have the bounty of special ingredients that one can find back in NYC.
 

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HJ, if I had a way to get fresh yuzu lemon I would sure as heck give it a go. The suburbs in the Dallas area don't have the bounty of special ingredients that one can find back in NYC.
Let Captain HJ put you on the meat,
in your own back yard. :)

You will probably find fresh wasabi root and Yuzu lemon
at this JAPANESE market.
Mitsuwa - PLANO
100 S Legacy Dr,
Plano, TX 75023

For KOREAN ingredients your best choice would be
HMART 2625 Old Denton Rd. #200, Carrollton, TX

For CHINESE ingredients your best choice would be
99 Ranch 2532 Old Denton Rd, Carrollton TX

While you will find many of the same/similar ingredients in all these stores,
specialty items like fresh wasabi or Yuzu, you want to shop at that cultures main store.

I use these same exact chain stores in NY for my supplies.
Have fun shopping.
Check out the beer, potato chips and candy/chocolate at Mitsuwa.
Bring extra money, you will end up buying way more than you anticipate.
Their food courts usually have interesting selections to choose from,
good place for lunch.

PS> the sushi restaurant in Plano you ate at,
probably purchased their wasabi at Mitsuwa.

PPS> meat and fish selection at Mitsuwa will probably
have very nice products to choose from.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
HJ, I've never tried Mitsuwa, heck I didn't even know about them. I'm a regular "round eye" at our 99 Ranch down the street here in Frisco. Thanks for opening my eyes to a new place. 99 Ranch is where I went to look for Yuzu lemons. Back when I worked at my office I had all of Richardson's Asian markets to explore. For the last year... well you get it.

Thanks again for the suggestion. I will be paying Mitsuwa a visit soon. My wife is just now into my Chinese cooking so I think I have some leeway. I married a girl from Arkansas so I constantly struggle with food that she is willing to try. My 5 year old daughter does not have my wife's reservations so I think I'm winning the war.
 

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I will be in Korea for a couple more months until I go to my next duty station. If I can help any of you guys in any way please let me know!
 

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Wasabi grows in water what i know
HJ ,I am sure you study that you grow wasabi and make money 💰 ?
Wasabi requires a specific range of environmental conditions to grow.
Cool, but not freezing cold weather and lots of cool water at a certain PH range.
Not available in my area, and too expensive to replicate indoors/greenhouse to be
commercially viable.

The right area is Pacific Northwest, Washington state and Oregon.
There are 10 or so wasabi farms in that area, mostly small scale ones.
Also a couple in British Columbia in coastal areas.

Real problem today, is LABOR.
Can't get younger people to do farm labor.
If the planting/harvest is not mechanized,
very difficult to earn a profit in most situations.

Real money in farming in many areas,
is to change the zoning on a farm,
to housing, retail, or warehousing,
and arrange/finance the engineering and permitting process
to get the zoning and permits to do so.
Generally a 20x to 100x increase in value, when completed.


 
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That is the area that I moved from, (423/Eldorado). I never went there. but I've been gone a few years already.
I do miss the endless dining choices that DFW offers.
I have however, been to Hmart a number of times and its a cool place.
Only place I've ever seen live hybrid stripers for sale in tanks.
cool thread!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I haven't tried buying one of the hybrids yet but I'm interested in finding out if the farmed fish taste anything like the lake caught ones.

There is a place down in Richardson called Good Fortune Market which has even more interesting stuff than H-Mart and 99 Ranch. They have troughs of live eels, bins of live frogs, and an assortment of live fish. The smell of the place hits you when you first walk in but once you start exploring you kind of forget about it.
 

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When in Hmart,
the must try for round eyes is.

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I haven't tried buying one of the hybrids yet but I'm interested in finding out if the farmed fish taste anything like the lake caught ones.
They are fairly common in my area as well, even with availability of ocean caught stripers.
Main reason is size. Culturally, asians like a whole fish, in most areas for commercial
striped bass min size is 28" or more, a 10 pound fish, too big.
Farm raised, 2-3 pounds, perfect size.

They are cross between white bass (fw) and striped bass (sw).
I've eaten a few times, they are ok in taste, sometimes a little muddy tasting.
A lot has to do with the water quality of the farm they were raised on.

While I enjoy sw striped bass cooked,
I think they taste better as sashimi or used to make ceviche.

Bluefish, when small, 1-2 pounds, if bleed after capture,
and then iced, is very good raw, try it once,
and you will start to target some small blues for sashimi :)
 

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Fried Chicken.
Final Korean based suggestion,
before we move on to the Japanese stuff at Mitsuwa to consider.

Check the website www.bonchon.com
to see if there is a location by you.
I recommend the SOY GARLIC fried chicken for your first experience.

This place can be addictive, you've been warned. :)

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Very interesting,thank you
While I was unable to do anything with wasabi,
there is another Asian oriented item,
that environmental conditions are excellent for in my area.
GINSENG

While ginseng is cultivated commercially like many other vegetables are,
in that way, it becomes a labor intensive crop requiring constant care and maintanence.
This ginseng is not as valuable as wild harvested ginseng, which is worth 20x or more.

Since the availability of wild ginseng is declining in this country and others,
another practice was started called "Wild Assist Ginseng"
That is where you plant ginseng seeds in natural wooded areas,
and let mother nature due the work.
This way, the ginseng is basically wild harvest, and commands similar prices.

Ginseng does best around Oak and Poplar trees,
and I have many of those on some tracts of land I have.
One problem, is deer love ginseng, and we have lots of deer in this area.

I have a couple of wooded areas on farms that are fenced in and protected
from deer, about 20 and 40 acres of woods. Five years ago, started having the crew
clear out and prep areas to plant in the woods, and we planted 100,000 seeds
the first year. Been planting 30-40,000 seeds a year since in unprotected wooded
areas I own, and letting nature play out.

Wasabi takes 12, 18 or 24 months for harvest,
and is worth about $60-70 lb wholesale.
Ginseng takes 4-5 years to reach small sellable size,
need about 80-100 roots to make a pound.
(This is how most cultivated ginger is harvested.)

By year 8, 40 roots make a pound.
By year 12, about 10-12 make a pound.
Let them go 15-20 years and 3-4 make a pound.
They live 30-40 years easily and continue to grow in size.
100 count wild (dried) wholesale is worth about $150-200 lb
40 count is about $350-400
10-12 count is $600-700
3-4 count is $1500-1800 lb

The Asian market pays up for age on ginseng,
you can count growth rings on the exterior of it, like trees on inside.
Longer you let it grow/mature, more its worth per pound.
Also, shape plays a big role in value,
most valuable shape is if it looks like a human,
that becomes ultra premium pricing.
Ginseng wild or wild assisted with human shape sell for big money
because they are status symbols, good luck charms and viewed as investments by some.
Depending on weight, human shaped sell for $10,000 on the low side,
with many in the $20-50,000 range, and top specimens selling for over $100,000
Prices are only increasing as, these would be plants that are 20-30+ years old,
which are very very rare in the wild today, and with the current rate of harvest,
there probably won't be many more to be found, as most are not given the chance to survive for so long.
Been repeated in many other natural resources of value that could be found in the forests of the world.

Since this was year 5 for my first plantings, we dug some roots to
view the progress, have some tissue analysis done to see if they are lacking
and minerals or nutrients, and I brought the rest as a gift to a herbal merchant/pharmacy in Chinatown
in NYC that are well known for their quality ginseng.
Wanted an expert opinion on how the roots were so far, and any issues they might see.
Other than my mediocre drying skills, the proper drying of ginseng is an art,
and that has a major effect on value, they agreed to try.
I went back a few weeks later, and they liked the roots, said it had strong chi/energy,
and made some suggestions on soil amendments and techniques to make them better.

I'm going for the longer haul on this crop,
and will harvest the first time at 10 years only to thin out the plants
where they are growing too closely. The start self seeding at age 5.
Then, I won't harvest against until 15 or 16, and then maybe take
about 10% a year. Want to see some reach 20-25 years.
Hoping to give birth to some underground ginseng men,
prices should be truly insane for them by then.

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HJ, I've never tried Mitsuwa, heck I didn't even know about them. I'm a regular "round eye" at our 99 Ranch down the street here in Frisco. Thanks for opening my eyes to a new place. 99 Ranch is where I went to look for Yuzu lemons. Back when I worked at my office I had all of Richardson's Asian markets to explore. For the last year... well you get it.

Thanks again for the suggestion. I will be paying Mitsuwa a visit soon. My wife is just now into my Chinese cooking so I think I have some leeway. I married a girl from Arkansas so I constantly struggle with food that she is willing to try. My 5 year old daughter does not have my wife's reservations so I think I'm winning the war.
If you got her eating sushi, that is good progress for a picky eater.

Mitsuwa will be a slightly more upscale version of HMart,
but with mainly Japanese oriented products.
They usually have beautiful cuts of meat,
and the fish department will have fish cut into block/cho form
for sashimi/sushi prepared at home.

Couple of suggestions.
They will have a bakery in the store,
get a loaf of Milk Bread or Milk Pan, thick sliced.
This will probably be the best tasting "white bread" you have had.
Makes great toast for breakfast, thick cut not for sandwiches.
Make some Cantonese Scrambled Eggs to go with it. :)
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Kewpie Mayonaise
The mayo used in sushi rolls,
has superior taste in sandwiches compared to domestic brands.

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S&B Curry
If you like curry, these are pretty good.
Japanese style curry, which is thicker and creamier than Indian curry.
Japanese are huge into curry, tons of restaurants that serve it exclusively.
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Beverages
Pocari Sweat
Kirin Afternoon Milk Tea

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If they can sell alcohol in the store,
look for NIGORI Sake, this is unfiltered sake,
will be white in color. Find in refrigerated section for alcohol.
Serve cold, smooth, silky and sweeter sake.
Sake that is served warm, is generally the lowest/cheapest sake.
Good stuff is served chilled. For regular sake look for a bottle with Daiginjo on it,
which is the class level of the sake. Usually in the $30-100 range for bottle.

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Upgrade you soy sauce at Mitsuwa,
1 liter bottle of something good by Kikoman (japan made) or another brand
is $12-15 for liter, best money spent to improve taste of your cooking.

KitKat
Check for the unusual flavors available not found in the US.
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Have fun shopping, bring extra cash,
most expensive of the 3 stores I mentioned.
Also the highest quality products will be found here.
 
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