SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Unfortunately there’s a lot of horseradish being sold as wasabi these days. Wasabi as you probably know is that pale-green horseradish-like condiment that you get at a sushi bar.

In its proper form, as it would be like in a restaurant, it is just perfection. The fresh root is grated literally for the client before your eyes or on call as it were. It has a pungency, sweetness and spice that are simply incomparable. In fact it’s not related to the horseradish at all.

It actually grows wild up in the mountains of Japan and needs constant water. That’s why the hillside terraces where water slowly runs over them are perfect. I have a friend in Berkeley who grew some for a while in a little tiny pond in his yard that is fed by a little artesian flow.

KCBS’ Narsai David Reports:

Horseradish on the other hand has a very tough, brown skin that must be peeled once you grate it. If you’re going to have some horseradish there’s no reason you can’t have it in your own garden except that it spreads out and takes over everything. You should put it in an isolated area where it will easily grow and grated fresh it tastes better than the powdered stuff you get from a can called wasabi, which it turns out is usually dried horseradish with a little bit of coloring in it.

Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53am, 12:53pm and 4:53pm, and at 2:53am Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)