Kinjirushi Brand Hot & Spicy Grated Wasabi – Tube 1.52oz (43gm)
Name of Product: Wasabi and Horseradish Paste
Information on Package
Horseradish (24%), Humectant:Sorbitol, Sugar, Cornstarch, Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Soy Flour, Water, Wasabi (1.6%), Flavouring, Tumeric, Citric Acid, Sucrose fatty acid esters, Xanthan gum, FD&C (Blue No.1)
Advice: Contains Soy
Manufactured by Kinjirushi Wasabi Co. Ltd.
Product of Japan
Keep refrigerated after opening. Excessive consumption may produce laxative effects. Occasional moisture on the surface is no abnormality in quality.
Note by Reviewer: All the above information is on the cardboard outer and is in 6 European language (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portugese). There is no information in any Asian languages on the box.
Comment by Reviewer
As I sit here about to start on this review, one of the sentences on the package keeps leaping out at me as being abnormal “Excessive consumption may produce laxative effects.” What on earth does this mean?
When you eat wasabi of any type (even the “faux” wasabi), you only eat a small amount at any one time. So does the warning mean that eating two helpings or the whole tube at once is “excessive consumption”?
In the ingredients list there is nothing that screams at you “toilet time”, so is there something else in the mixture that hasn’t been mentioned?
[Reviewers Note: Well I found out what “excessive consumption” means :(. It means approximately a 1/4 inch (6mm) length out of the tube – this is the sort of amount you would have with a single piece of sushi.]
Anyway, lets look at the ingredients – as is normal with these “faux” wasabi pastes the major ingredient is horseradish mixed with sorbitol. This is what gives the paste the sugary texture on the tongue. The third ingredient is sugar and then they add sucrose fatty acid esters as well. Needless to say this paste is very sweet, at least to my tastes. 🙂
The cornstarch is obviously used as a thickener, but the use of Rapeseed Oil appears to be an unusual choice. Rapeseed Oil is very rarely used in human food products due to its high levels of Erucic Acid. However the high levels of Glucosinolates contained in the Rapeseed Oil gives it a very bitter taste which might be used in this mix to counteract the amount of sugar used (or maybe that was why sugar is added – a bit like the chicken and the egg argument).
Soy Flour is another unusual ingredient, I suspect that it is being used as a filler and reduce the production costs. The problem with this is that a known allergen has been added to a product that most people would not think to look for soy in. The warning is not large enough to be easily noticed for those who suffer from this allergy. This, in my view, is a definite health and safety hazard and needs to be dealt with by the appropriate authorities (if they can be bothered).
The amount of wasabi is shown as 1.6% with no indication of what part of the plant is being used. It is most probably the leaf or the hair roots. Neither of these have much taste and are probably only there to make the claim that the product contains wasabi. The fact that there is only 1.6% (0.688gm) per tube indicates that they aren’t really serious about that either. That amount is less than the size of a match head – that will hardly make any difference.
The next item is flavouring – with no indication of what it actually is. Then Turmeric and it looks like that is used instead of the Yellow colouring to give the green colour to the goo when mixed with the Blue No. 1.
Citric Acid is the preservative and then we have “Sucrose fatty acid esters”. This is another first, the Sucrose fatty acid esters are normally used as an emulsifier, in other words it is being used to ensure that the ingredients do not separate out in the tube. From what I can find out there are a number of these used in food production throughout the world.
Finally, Xanthan gum is used to thicken and stabilise the mixture. One of the most remarkable properties of xanthan gum is its ability to produce a large increase in the viscosity of a liquid by adding a very small quantity of gum, on the order of one percent. In most foods, it is used at 0.5%, and can be used in lower concentrations.
The insidious Blue #1 is used to make the whole mess look green and confuse the consumer.
Now we get onto the tasting part of the review.
Initial reaction:- Sickly sweet and smooth on the tongue. Burns the lips, but no taste beyond that. A large amount on the tongue from a spoon gave no flair up the nose.
There was a type of minor chewy texture in the mouth, but you had to go looking for it. Certainly, it had no substance to it at all, it was similar to what is found in other “faux” wasabi that only use sorbitol. I would not call it grated by any stretch of the imagination. Just another marketing ploy to fool the purchaser.
There is very little smell and the smell that is there doesn’t actually remind me of anything. The smell also goes away very quickly.
The colour is a medium pastel green with no discolouration.
Even with a large amount on the tongue the paste has little flavour, no flair up the nose that is expected and a lingering sweet taste that leaves you wondering what is in your mouth.
My recommendation is to leave this alone. It doesn’t even fool you in believing that it is True Wasabi Paste. The closest it gets to that is the name on the tube and the package. Even now, some 6 minutes after initially tasting this the lips still burn slightly, and the tongue feels strange – sweet and tingly.
Overall a rating of Yuk!
Join the Stop Coloured Horseradish being called Wasabi! Campaign to try and get the protection we need from this “faux” wasabi!