August is peak summer season in Japan. We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...
No. It is not my first time eating this coveted beef, but it's been awhile and it was good being back in Sannomiya in Kobe, Japan. If ever down this way you'll be pleasantly confused at how many restaurants offer this beef, and where to eat it. I have always had my favorites, and one such place is Kobe Plaisir the top favorite.
To be classified as true Kobe beef, the Tajima-gyu cow:
Must be pure bred of Tajima-gyu lineage.
Must have been born and raised in Hyōgo Prefecture.
It must be a steer (castrated bull) or virgin cow.
It must have only been fed grains and grasses from within the Prefecture.
It must have been processed in approved slaughterhouses within the Prefecture.
It must have a fat marbling ratio (called BMS) of level 6 or above.
It must have a Meat Quality Score of A-4 or A-5 (the top grades).
The animal’s gross carcass weight must be 470kg or less.
Must be assigned a 10-digit ID number so that its authenticity can be traced back to the individual cow it came from.
I have had and tried various styles of beef throughout Japan, here, here, here, and a few others among the big three called the "Sandai Wagyu." I have also eaten Hide Beef, which is not mentioned among the top three, which in my humble opinion is sublime.
Wine and steak have always been the perfect marriage in the culinary world, and I agree, however, Japanese sake also compliments premium grade A4 and A5 beef! In the photo you can see from Hyogo called Sennen Ju brewed by Hakushika! And just like true Kobe beef is raised and fed in Hyogo, so is the sake. The acids and bouquets in the sake clean the palate and refreshes you for the next bite. I ate it slowly.
The matron for the evening did the steak proper, medium rare and she cut it perfectly and slowly and served it up with veggies on a nice white clean plate.
The condiments on the right are all miso based. Left is a radish, middle spicy mis, and third is salt and pepper. Two different soy sauce dipping sauces. All complimented the steak very well. Meat was so tender I could cut through it with a plastic knife.
Notice the marbling?
Japanese cows get the least exercise since most often they spent time in confined spaces like barns. It snows six months out of the year in some places in Japan. Hyogo does get snowfall. Cows here are often fed beer and are given massages. Beer is used to stimulate appetite and massages are used to relieve stress from being in tight spaces. Japanese sake is used to wash Kobe cows so that their coats are shiny like a sheen to make them more appealing to beef distributors.
As a finisher to the meal, I had fried rice infused kobe beef! Amazing. The finest fried rice I ever had, and I saw it cooked right before my eyes. If splurging on a meal like this makes you uncomfortable, remember, it may be your last meal, so enjoy it. It was well worth the price. There was a lot I left out, but you get the point. Enjoy.