A must try Japanese gourmet will never disappoint you
By Derrick on 19 Mar 2018
I am sure when I mentioned about Japanese must-try gourmet, 1 of them from the list from a majority will be Wagyu, Japanese premium beef.
Wagyu beef is surely among the first-rate delicacies every gourmand would like to try. There’s no question that if you’re looking for the most authentic wagyu beef, you have to go to Japan. I’m sure you’re already imagining scenes of beef that looks just like snowflakes; the Japanese use the word “shimofuri” (frosted) to describe the mesh of delicate fat between the red chunks of meat. After trying this high-grade food, everybody would probably say it melts in the mouth. That’s because all this fat spread throughout the meat makes it unusually soft, and the relatively lower melting point of the fat means that the moment the slightly cooked wagyu beef is put in the mouth, it melts and releases the irresistible fragrance of the oil. It’s because of this unique texture of wagyu beef that its price is shockingly high, even in Japan where it’s produced. But no matter what, if you’ve come to Japan, you’ve got to reward yourself with this first-rate beef.
Why is the taste of Japanese wagyu beef so delicious and unforgettable? You might not believe it, but special attention is paid to the environment in which these wagyu cows grow up. Every cow sleeps well, eats well, and breathes good air every day, and also gets special benefits like drinking beer and receiving messages from their keepers. Only if the cow is kept in a good mood will it produce the enviable “snowflakes”. The three most famous brands of wagyu are Kobe beef, Matsusaka beef, and Omi beef. Kobe beef is made from wagyu cows which drink (?). As a result, it is produced in very small quantities, and the Japanese government bans it from being exported overseas. Matsusaka beef is the nobility of wagyu; its quality is among the highest among wagyu beef, and its price is also the highest. Omi beef is differentiated from the other two types by its lower amounts of fat. It has a sweet, mild taste, and has many fans in Japan.
There is actually history behind Japan’s wagyu beef that most people don’t know about. In ancient times, the Japanese Emperor once issued a decree banning commoners from eating meat. At that time, Japanese households mostly ate fish as their staple food. However, (?) many foreigners had the habit of eating beef; when they tried Kobe and Matsusaka beef, which came from the Kansai area, they couldn’t help but praise it as the most delicious beef in the world. After the Meiji Restoration, the ban was gradually abolished. When the Japanese heard the foreigners’ reviews, they started eating Japanese wagyu beef too; as a result, more and more people fell in love with wagyu beef, and the supply started falling short of the demand. Driven by profit, many businessmen came from abroad with local breeds, which they bred with wagyu cows; however, the beef from these interbred wagyu cows was obviously of inferior texture, and no longer had “snowflakes” as beautiful as before. As a result, the Japanese government set up an agency to classify wagyu beef, based on yield grade (A, B, C) and quality grade (5, 4, 3, 2, 1). That’s why we hear today that the highest-grade wagyu beef is A5.
In Japan, we can usually see the Japanese eating wagyu beef prepared by sukiyaki or roasting. Sukiyaki is a very common style during the Japanese winter; it’s called “Sukiyaki” in Kansai, but “gyu-nabe” in Kanto. People believe that eating sukiyaki can quickly warm up the body, as well as strengthen it. The sukiyaki pot is filled with ingredients such as wagyu beef, tofu, mushrooms, chrysanthemum greens, and vermicelli. Next, to the pot, you’ll also see a small plate filled with raw egg; after the ingredients have been cooked, you can pick the meat up, dip it in the raw egg and eat it. Another way to eat wagyu beef is by roasting it; all you need to do is gently put the wagyu beef on the pan for a very short time and pick it up when both sides have been slightly roasted. The most recommended method is to add no condiments but a little salt or lemon juice; that lets you taste the original, pure taste of the wagyu beef. Combined with the fat in the wagyu beef, it’ll definitely have you calling out with satisfaction.
If you’re in Japan or coming soon to Japan, pick any wagyu beef restaurant, and the meal will definitely be worth it. In fact, from then on you might start to feel that other meat is tasteless in comparison, as your taste buds become pickier and pickier. I do not want to admit I am one of them though. lol...
Derrick has live in Japan for nearly five years. He is an ideal person to ask where to eat and where to visit in Japan based on his experience. He always likes to go to some places where not many people will go, because he believes that only the place he can find and understand the essence of Japan culture. He is also obsessed with looking for amazing food in all over Japan, and definitely, he can get you the best food experience by following his lead.