If like me, you are a fine cuisine lover, there is a dish that you must definitely try before leaving Japanese soil : this is Japanese beef ! If I mention “Kobe beef” you definitely know that this is the best beef in the world with a taste and a texture exceptional. And they are right …
Setting the scene !
Japan is renowned for raising the best types of beef that are renowned worldwide. They are pure and raised from a long line of cattle in the land of the rising sun.
The word “wagyu” is the literal translation for Japanese beef. When you hear American Wagyu being mentioned, this is explained by the fact that around forty years ago, the USA bought Japanese cattle for importation on American soil to cross with their cattle. Don’t be confused…
There are 4 pures races of wagyu :
– The Japanese Poll
– The Japanese Shorthorn
– The Japanese Black
– The Japanese Brown
The Japanese Black represents around 90% of cattle raised on Japanese territory and there are 17 types according to the various prefectures : Kobe, Miyazaki, ….
Here raising of cattle is an art. This involves treating cattle well which largely results in the exceptional quality of the meat : whether it is the quality of the food given, the comfort, the stress-free life, … in short, everything is optimum. Several myths surrounds the life conditions of these beasts : massages, classical music, … this distinguishes the truth from the lies ! The other part that influences the quality of the meat is the genetic aspect, which is why the purity of the race is essential !
Be warned, though, all these aspects do not guarantee receiving the precious sesame (the official name) ! It is difficult to obtain, only 2/3 beasts obtain it after multiple controls of meat after slaughter.
Characteristics of wagyu
There is no need to taste it to distinguish a difference with our French beef ! It is visible to the naked eye : the meat is very marbled, meaning it is scattered with fatty filaments, which makes it extremely tender and tasty ! There are quite a few different qualities and the most marbled is often the most expensive.
When it comes to price, in France you would pay around 500€ a kg. It is the most expensive meat in the world and it is no surprise that we call it the caviar of meat ! In Japan, obviously you can eat it for a much lower price and this is therefore the ideal opportunity to do so !
In Osaka, I visited the Matsusakagyu Yakiniku restaurant which is famous for its Matsusaka beef. Here you can eat grilled BBQ which for me is the best way for your first time tasting and to discover its taste. Sitting in our private room, we admired the menu : we opted for a menu that enabled us to discover the different qualities of meat.
We were also able to discover beef sushi : a delicacy and there is no other word ! Next a dish arrived with different small pieces that we could even grill on a tray that was on the table ! It was fun and perfect for the first tasting as we could cook the pieces more or less rare and therefore compare our experience.
For tasting, I finished with the most high quality and tasty pieces. For those with the best quality, the taste is very different from French beef : the texture is very tender and the taste is quite specific ! I really liked it but I must admit that I would never have dreamed of eating a 300g steak … small portions like that are so perfect even though the meat is quite fatty !
So you know what you need to do ! Book a ticket for Japan and discover the best meat in the world !
- There are many Matsusakagyu Yakinik restaurants in Osaka. I went to one of these one evening in Dotonbori which is located in a very vibrant area ! The first menus start at 3800 yens per person (around 30€). The one we choose (and which was perfect!) was 5800 yens (around 48€). I’ll let you have a look at their website.
- In this type of restaurant, they prefer quality over quantity but pay attention to the big eaters and don’t be surprised !
- In France, you can can find japanese beef at Maison Lascours and they do home deliveries.
- In Paris, a few restaurants like the Steaking where I actually had the pleasure of dining offer Kobe beef. Read my review here !