Genuine Japanese Wagyu seems to be getting everywhere these days! Here we answer some FAQs-
- What's the difference between Australian and Japanese Wagyu (type and price)
- What's the best way to eat it
- The various kinds of cuts to enjoy (with maximum value for money!)
The difference between Australian and Japanese Wagyu (type and price)
A lot of times we get asked why Japanese Wagyu is so expensive. There are a couple of reasons! By the way. Wagyu literally means Japanese (Wa) Beef (Gyu). Have you seen a dish called Gyudon in a japanese restaurant before? That means beef with rice!
1. LESS SUPPLY IN JAPAN.
First off, the geographical area of Japan is much smaller than Australia. Their Wagyu is raised in really small farms! As you may know, the Japanese are very particular and artisanal in the way they make any food product such as miso, soba noodles, rice... so Wagyu is produced in an equally or even more particular way!
2. JAPANESE WAGYU IS 99% FULLY GRAIN-FED.
Aside from some milk and grass feeding 1-2 months after birth, Japanese Wagyu cattle are fed on grain. Depending on the producer they would consume various combinations of barley, corn and sometimes even pineapple and sugarcane!
3. IT'S A 360-DEGREE THING.
Just as you cannot simply state that wine, olive oil or cheese is better in one country than another, one cannot say that Wagyu from Japan is better than Australian, and vice versa! There are so many factors that have to do with bringing up with quality beef- the terrain, animal husbandry, type and way of feeding, the weather and even the water they have to drink.
This my favorite marbling chart. It shows you US vs. Australian and Japanese Marbling Grade systems.
As you can see above, the Australian marbling grade system (center) is until 9 whilst the Japanese is categorized into 5 main grades of A1 to A5 which span sub-grades of 1-12. Therefore it's impossible to have an Australian Wagyu steak that's higher than a marbling of 9 as it does not exist. A5 is the export grade of Japan, hence most beef from Japan you see in the UAE is that grade. However you should ask what marbling grade it is (8-12) to get an idea of how fine the marbling is. At La Carne we usually offer MB10-11 A5 Japanese Wagyu from Hokkaido.
THE 4 Ss TO ENJOY JAPANESE WAGYU
- Small portions (think slices and cubes)
- Short cooking time
- Slow fire
- Selection of flavors
SMALL PORTIONS ARE KEY
Due to the high quality grain that japanese wagyu are fed, the fat in Japanese Wagyu is extremely high in monounsaturated fatty acids including oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in avocados and olives. Therefore eating a 400g japanese wagyu ribeye steak is like drinking a whole cup of olive oil. That's heavy!
We recommend eating Japanese Wagyu in small slices or cutting a large steak into bite sized pieces to maximize enjoyment. Many restaurants serve them as cubes or thinly sliced onto sushi.
WHY SHORT COOKING TIME
When you cook a steak and lift it off a hot pan, it continues to cook while resting. Especially if your Japanese Wagyu steak is thin, a quick sear on both sides of 10 sec might even be enough. No need to oil the pan as the fat will quickly melt. Promise.
WHY A SLOW FIRE?
Japanese Wagyu has a lot of unsaturated fatty acids, making its melting point lower than other beef at 26 to 30 degrees Celsius. Try it- hold a piece of Japanese Wagyu on the palm of your (warm) hand and it will slide off in a matter of seconds. Therefore, it is recommended to sear japanese wagyu on a medium high heat.
A SELECTION OF FLAVORS TO ENJOY IT WITH
Try the Japanese Wagyu first without anything, then with sea salt. Then try dipping in soy sauce. You can also try brushing with miso paste and perhaps sprinkle some fried garlic!
WHICH CUTS SHOULD YOU ORDER TO ENJOY JAPANESE WAGYU THE MOST?
For Japanese Wagyu, since the beef in general is so fine, one does not have to eat only primary cuts to have the best experience!
The best value for money comes from choosing secondary cuts of Japanese Wagyu sliced in bite-sized morsels like mini yakiniku steaks or shabu shabu. This means not shying away from high-yield cuts like knuckle, rump and chuck for amazing Japanese Wagyu dining experiences!
HOW TO GET JAPANESE WAGYU TODAY
At La Carne, our butchers are trained by Master Wagyu Butcher Ryuji Higashiyama. Order online, by whatsapp or phone and we can get it delivered to you, the way you want it prepared!
Hope you enjoyed this post and let us know if you have any questions below!
Culinary Business Manager