The worldwide recognized top quality beef is something that you shouldn’t miss when you come in Japan! In fact, even if in June 2014 the Japanese government has allowed to export this beef, it is still very difficult to find and it could be extremely expensive in your own country!
The beef of Kobe belongs to the Wagyu cattle. These beefs kept their genetic lines because of the geography of Japan; it was impossible for them to move away and to get mixed with other cattle therefore they are unique. There are three main breeds which are the Japanese Black, the Japanese Brown or red, and the Japanese Shorthorn. However the actual beef of Kobe belongs to the Japanese Black category.
The Japanese Black gathers the best beefs with the Tajima beef from the Hyogo prefecture (actual Kobe beef), and also beef from Okayama prefecture and Tottori prefecture.
As said above, these beefs have kept their genetic lines making them very unique but the quality of the meat is characterised by its delicateness and renowned by its flavour, tenderness and fatty texture.
Moreover, these Tajima breeds are raised according to a specific tradition. Indeed, the feeding techniques are quite original as the farmer adds beer or sake to the breed’s regiment! Also the farmers massage the beef with sake and relax them by displaying classical music!
Actually, massaging helps the animal to reduce muscle cramps and the special regiment helps to have a fat inside the meat and not only around it. The fat is crucial as the taste depends on it and also it gives a special texture; if you eat the Kobe’s beef, the meat will melt in your mouse like butter!
If you cannot go to Japan and you find a restaurant that offers a Kobe’s beef menu you should be careful because there are a lot of mislabelling outside Japan! Also outside Japan, there are ‘Kobe-like beef’ because of the mix of Wagyu cattle with Angus cattle but it is actually a very different meat.