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Wasabi!

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  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, a new study suggests that wasabi may actually clog sinuses rather than clear them because it increases blood flow (and thus swelling) to the area.
  • The Hungarian name for wasabi is zoldtorma, which translates as "green horseradish."
  • Wasabi is not an actual horseradish, but is an evergreen member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It grows naturally in wet, cool, mountain river valleys along stream beds and on river sand bars in Japan.
  • Most of the wasabi you get in restaurants and grocery stores is a mix of horseradish, corn starch and (sometimes very little)wasabi.
  • Oregon is one of the world's leading producers of wasabi.
  • Some traditionalist sushi chefs will only use a sharkskin grater for wasabi.
  • In Japanese, wasabi can be written with two Kanji ideographs: yama (mountain) and aoi (hollyhock).
  • Mustard's heat is derived from its oils, which contain chemicals and enzymes that, when combined with water, react to liberate isothiocyanates.
  • A subtitle of the the French/Japanese action/ comedy Wasabi is The Japanese Dip that Kicks Like a Mule.
  • Officials from Ogawa & Company in Japan say recent tests show that the isothiocyanates in wasabi inhibit the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that causes dental caries.

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