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Tweet of the Week #86: Wasabi Farmers Cringe At The Thought of Wasabi-Free Sushi

To wasabi or not to wasabi, that is the question.

By 2 min read

Ah, wasabi. The polarizing Japanese horseradish traditionally found in sushi has a pungent taste that triggers a burning sensation in your nose. A plentiful swipe of this delicious green paste will generously clear your sinuses and make your eyes water.

Served grated or as a ready-made paste, wasabi is usually served with sushi because of its sterilizing effect on the raw fish. Sushi chefs will typically add a thin layer of wasabi between the rice and the slice of fish.

Sushi with wasabi or without wasabi?

Wasabi is a key ingredient in Japanese cuisine but its strong flavor is not to everyone’s liking, in particular children. One bite too many and we’d probably ask for help too.

Sushi chefs themselves aren’t always lovin’ it for they feel wasabi actually ruins the flavor of sushi’s raw ingredients.

In recent years, sabinuki (without wasabi) seals have popped up in supermarkets and bento shops. Sushi restaurants started offering both sabinuki and sabiari (with wasabi) options—the color of the plate letting you know which one is which. Some conveyor belt sushi restaurants went as far as no longer serving sushi with wasabi. Like ketchup at a fast-food restaurant, diners can help themselves freely to wasabi packets to add some spicy green to their meal.

While our sinuses highly approve the sabinuki option, wasabi farmers see things differently and aren’t thrilled by the idea of a wasabi-free world.



“What wasabi farmers think of wasabi free seals.”

The illustration lists the most frequent わさび and わさび seals you can find in Japan. Next to each one of them is a strong-minded reaction to the words and logos, showing disapproval of no wasabi and approval for the options with wasabi.

くな = Don’t take it out!

ありがとう!= Thank you!

べつにすんな!= Don’t separate them!

わらうな = Don’t laugh!

ピースすんな!= Don’t do the peace sign!

ウインクすんな! = Don’t wink!

笑え = Laugh

Expressing “without” in Japanese

抜き, which can be written with or without its kanji, is an adverb and suffix attached to a noun that expresses something is not included or has been left out. It can be used in various sentence constructions.

わさび抜きの寿司すし = sushi without wasabi

寿司はわさび抜きで、おねがいします= please give me sushi without wasabi

冗談じょうだんは抜きにして、そろそろ本題ほんだいはいりましょう = Joke aside, let’s get down to business

Are you a wasabi lover or would you rather spare your nose and eat your sushi without this pungent green paste?


Japanese Romaji English
さびぬき(わさびき)シール wasabi nuki shiiru Wasabi free seal
たいして ni taishite against, regarding
農家のうか nouka farmer
おも omou think
わさびはい wasabi hairi with wasabi
べつ betsu ni separate
ピース piisu peace (sign)
ウインク uinku wink
わら warau laugh
寿司すし sushi sushi
ねがいします onegaishimasu please (polite)
冗談じょうだん jyoudan joke
そろそろ sorosoro soon
本題ほんだい hondai main subject
はい ni hairu go into

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