Kobe beef is amazing. If you've never heard of Kobe beef, I know what you're thinking: Kobe beef comes from Kobe Bryant. Understandable. But, no. It does not. Or, you might be thinking: Kobe Bryant is so good that they must have named a beef after him. Interesting conjecture. But, no again. FUN FACT: Kobe Bryant was named after this famous Japanese beef when his father saw it on a restaurant menu. Regardless of Mr. Bryant, Kobe beef is very famous outside of Japan. It comes from the meat of the black Tajima cattle in the Hyogo prefecture (similar to Matsusaka beef). Kobe beef is a registered trademark of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association and must follow a series of characteristics. The animal must be either a bullock (the steer type, not the Sandra Bullock type) or a castrated bull for purification purposes. To be considered legit Japanese Kobe beef, it must have a marbling ratio of at least 6 and a meat quality score of 4 or 5 (B or A). The gross weight of beef from one bullock should be less than 470 kilograms and must be processed at a designated slaughterhouse in Hyogo.
|Kobe-style Beef. Source: VancityAllie.com|
Demand for Kobe beef can be attributed to the fact that the Japanese advertise and market it as a high-end delicacy like caviar or truffles. With a limited supply of about 3,000 cows a year, Kobe beef has the right to dictate high prices at the market. Some department stores in Japan sell Kobe beef for about $170/pound. Or if you're lucky, you can get a top quality Kobe beef for $320/pound. Sounds like a lot to pay for a chunk of meat but it's worth it. This is the first step to world peace. One small bite could restore your faith in humanity.
|Kobe Teppanyaki. Source: Richard Lee|
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