2.19.2009

Yonezawa Beef Steak!

What is Yonezawa Beef ? It’s beef that was introduced to Japan over a hundred years ago by a portly Englishman named Charles Henry Dallas....hahaha....Actually, Mr. Dallas didn’t introduce high quality beef to Japan, he was an English teacher after all, he introduced cow breeding techniques from Europe to the Japanese living in Yonezawa. After the Yamagatans perfected their own style of breeding, which enabled them to create their own brand of beef, they put their own label on it, thus “Yonezawa Beef". It was the female(heifer) virgin cow that eventually became the cow of choice instead of the male cow(steer) for reasons I won't list up right here, maybe another time. Not all beef from Yonezawa city is considered "Yonezawa beef," but rather wagyu or Japanese beef from black male and deflowered female cows raised and bred in Yonezawa. Only 18 month old female virgin cows raised and bred in Yonezawa city is considered true authentic Yonezawa beef! Never let anybody tell you differently. Trust me. There are four major breeds of Japanese cow(wagyu): Japanese black , Japanese brown, Japanese polled, and Japanese shorthorn, all of which are grown in various parts of Japan, including Yamagata. In Yonezawa, you have the option of eating either wagyu black cow, or Yonezawa beef. They are not the same! Even the pricing is different. After the Yamagatans finished refining their own method of breeding cows, Yonezawa began to evolve into a prosperous city. Mr. Dallas even donated a Yonezawa cow to the foreign residence of Yokohama who were astounded by the taste of this high quality, melt in your mouth, kind of beef. Eventually, Mr. Dallas took one Yonezawa cow back to his native country England where the English/Europeans were blown away at the quality and flavor of fatty marbled Japanese beef. As a result, Mr. Dallas is credited for introducing Yonezawa beef to the world and putting Yonezawa on the map after he returned to England, not Yokohama. N.B. fatty marbled beef has a much longer history in Japan, even before Mr. Dallas arrived. For centuries the people of Shikoku have been raising and breeding wagyu that produce delicious fatty beef. Kobe beef has its origins from here. So can Yonezawa beef be classified as a foreign food? Maybe. Depends on how you choose to interpret it. I think Japanese beef is Japanese beef. I think Japan is home to many authentic and delicious victuals. I have eaten this beef many different ways: sashimi, obento#1 obento#2 obento#3 obento #4 obento#5 and finally #6. I have eaten it as a shabu shabu and even as a steak or even yakiniku. Can you enjoy eating beef with a nice nihonshu? Well, most gourmet philistines would suggest that a nice red or an ale would be more suitable for a steak. I agree. But, depending on how the beef steak is prepared I would even go as far as to suggest a nice nihonshu. In Tochigi I enjoyed a nice beef steak with nihonshu. As long as the steak is medium rare with little to no seasoning a nice sake will pair well with it, oh, and a large bowl of hot plain white rice would work best for Yonezawa steak. I recommend the Milky Queen! If this rice is too expensive then I recommend a Sasanishiki or even this recommendation on Sasanishiki

One more favorite rice.

So, why do I need to eat fatty marbled beef, anyway? Isn't it unhealthy? Why should I even try it? Beef is beef , right? Good question. Maybe what you should ask yourself is "why did I fly all the way over here to Japan just to eat 100 yen spicy chicken chili cheeseburgers at McD's with Neil Duckett?" I can eat subpar beef anywhere, no ? I don't need to fly thousands of miles across oceans just to eat American brand fast food cause' I miss the good 'Ole taste of home, do I? Of course health is always a concern too. Well, not really. Honestly, 50% of being healthy has a lot to do with your attitude. The other 50% is just taking care of your body...i.e. onsen, onsen,eat, eat, beer curls, sleep. Do it all again for breakfast. Are we overdoing it a bit? Honestly, though, the really nice thing about all this premium fatty beef is the omega fatty acid levels. There're high. This is good.

Steak should be lightly seared then eaten as quickly as possible while it's still hot with hot white rice! What else can or should I eat with this steak? Nothing. It's that simple.

End of discussion

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