Shocking as it may sound, it could be that your favorite restaurant is tricking you into thinking that you’re eating a dish of a finer quality than you actually are. Food fraud is a $50 billion global industry, and you could be buying into the scam without even realizing it. Here are the dishes that you should be wary of when ordering at a restaurant:
1. Kobe Beef
Although Kobe beef has become revered around the world for being probably the finest-quality beef money can buy, the truth is that the supply of it is so small that 99% of what’s purported to be Kobe beef in fact isn’t. The only way to tell if you’re eating real Kobe beef is if you’ve paid top dollar for it. Genuine Kobe beef costs something in the region of $150 per pound…
These things are so rare and expensive that you’re almost certain to encounter fake truffle mushrooms and truffle oils at restaurants. Just like Kobe beef, this is because there’s a highly limited supply. Unless you’ve seen a truffle actually being shaved in front of you, you’re almost guaranteed to be served something else.
If you happen to be a sushi lover that loves to slather wasabi all over the place, then you’re in for some bad news. At a lot of restaurants, the stuff that’s supposed to be wasabi is usually a combination of horseradish, mustard and food coloring. You might get a tiny little bit of real wasabi mixed in there if you’re lucky. Real wasabi is distinguishable by its taste – it should taste “herbal”, be hot but without a burning aftertaste, and taste smooth.
4. Red Snapper
An extensive test was conducted on the supply of red snapper in restaurants around the world, and it found that some 94% of all fish purported to be red snapper was actually something else entirely. As a rule of thumb, you should always see the fish you’re about to eat displayed to you whole before you order. Even then, you’re still running the risk of it being a different breed of fish, but it’s entirely up to you if you take the chance.
As shocking as it may seem to think that you’re being served fake lobster, it’s far from being unheard of. If you’re eating at a chain restaurant, you’re likely to be eating langostino, which is a mix of crab and shellfish. The only way to ensure that you’re eating real lobster is to head to a family-owned restaurant by the sea in a port town.
Real grouper is absolutely delicious, but it’s often the case that you’ll find restaurants trying to pass off cheaper fish, such as Asian catfish, tilapia and hake, as grouper. As with the red snapper mentioned above, always make sure that you’re shown a whole fish before ordering.