Japan’s Kobe Beef: Is It Too Expensive To Eat?
Wagyu is the name given to Japanese cattle that are known to produce the best beef in the world, which is known as Kobe beef. The word derivation is simple; wa means Japan and gyu means cow.
This simplicity comes with a price tag that might have even made even JP Morgan take a second look, namely, about $500 per steak in some of Tokyo’s finer dining establishments (and that’s without an appetizer, drink or even piano bar).
Kobe beef has become a household name around the world. Why it is so good, well known and expensive are questions many may ask. Outside of Japan’s borders, Kobe beef is the best known type of wagyu, but there are many different kinds of high quality Japanese beef such as Matsuzaka, Mishima and Omi among others, that are presenting some stiff competition.
What is the beef exactly when it comes to Kobe, you might ask? The answer is simple. The marbled fat content is what determines the grade of the meat and with Japanese beef that concerns the white parts of fat that are known as sashi.
Sashi is usually interspersed between layers of red meat and gives the beef a marbled look. Intense patterns are deliberately created and intended to make the meat literally ”melt in the mouth.” This feature is by far the most prized aspect of Japanese beef.
The fat content in Japanese beef is primarily mono-unsaturated, which translates into beef that is actually known to lower bad cholesterol!
The marbling is the result of much time and effort, and cows in Japan, despite the fact that they are ultimately sacrificed, live lives fit for emperors (albeit doomed royalty). Much care goes into their feeding, which usually entails high quality grains.
Each farmer has his own mystical blend of feed. While some ingredients are as heavily guarded as family heirlooms, some diets are known to include soybeans and okara, which is a byproduct of tofu. Water is also important and local mineral varieties are often part of a good cattle diet, which ensures the best quality meat.
Believe it or not, many farmers give their cows beer and saki to keep their appetites healthy during the warmer months of the year. Some farmers spit sake onto their cows and rub it in with a brush, which they claim helps to balance the distribution of marble content and keeps the lice and ticks at bay.
Cows raised in stalls tend to develop fatty marbling and for this reason, are taken outside to frolic and play in the fresh air and sunshine. Some breeders even go so far as to play soothing music for their cows to keep them relaxed. (It is not known whether they prefer classical or popular varieties.)
Japanese beef is a delicacy by any standard but expect to pay through nose and every other body part for any meat from these pampered cows!
What do YOU think about this?