7 Ekim 2012 Pazar

Japan's Wagyu: Where the World's Best Beef comes from

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In Japan, one will find the world's most delicious and expensive cow meat. Known as Kobe beef, it comes from an indigenous breed of cattle, which is called Wagyu. When translated, Wagyu means Japanese cow. The animal is split into four main breeds, which are called the Japanese Shorthorn, the Japanese Polled, the Japanese brown and the Japanese Black. We get Kobe steak from the Japanese black breed, within which the black Tajima-ushi cattle variety belongs.

To be more specific, Japanese farmers raise the black Tajima-ushi variety of Wagyu in the Hyogo Prefecture. It is known for its marble textured meat. The meat is the reason for its high market value, juiciness, tenderness and unique flavor. Genetically speaking, Wagyus are more capable of producing meat that is high in oleaginous unsaturated fat with a high value of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Wagyu meat is a delicacy in Japan, where if not served raw in the form of sushi, it is served as teppanyaki, sashimi, shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Outside Japan, people prefer to eat it as a steak, and Kobe beef is even more expensive than in Japan.

Wagyu, though found in the land of the rising sun, is not exclusive to Japan. Wagyus are also bred in farms in the United States and Australia. In the U.S., you will find pure Wagyu cattle as well as half-breeds. American farmers sometimes mix the Wagyu breed with the more common Angus cattle, in the belief that the crossbreeding will help the cows better survive in the American climate.

U.S. cattle farmers have tried to copy Japan's way of raising and feeding their Wagyus, but so far they have failed. This has resulted in Wagyu meat, produced in the U.S., being called Kobe-style beef. Compared to Japan's elite Kobe beef, the American Kobe-style beef is sold at a much more affordable price of about $50 per pound.

Outside ogfJapan, the largest exporter of Wagyu beef in the world is Australia. Cattle farming in Australia accounts for about 40 percent of the country's total land mass.

When you purchase steaks online, please take note of the main choices available. Kobe beef from Japan's Wagyu is very expensive, but is arguably the tastiest beef, so it is much sought after. People who have tasted it describe the flavor as heavenly and wonderful. But, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, American Kobe-style beef, though an imitation, is still a tasty and more affordable option to consider.

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