If you like to eat meat, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Kobe beef. Plenty of establishments claim to offer this delicacy but, due to its cost and rarity, Kobe beef isn’t something you’ll find in your average steakhouse or Japanese restaurant. Kobe describes beef that is regarded, by many, to be the epitome of quality and flavor—but what makes Kobe beef so special?
Kobe, the capital of Hyōgo Prefecture in Japan, is the birthplace of the breed of cattle called Tajima. In the 2 nd century, farmers began to use cattle to pull plows through the rice paddies. The cattle isolated in the mountainous Hyōgo Prefecture developed, over time, into the particular breed now called Tajima. The fat in genuine Kobe beef has a lower melting point than that of other varieties. Because of this, it is recommended that the meat not be overcooked more than medium-rare in order to retain the most flavor.
Kobe Beef in Japan
Labeling beef as Kobe in Japan requires meeting a strict set of standards. The meat must come from purebred Tajima cattle, with an assigned ID number to trace its lineage, and its fat marbling ratio must be of level six or higher. Also, the cattle must have been both born and raised in Hyōgo Prefecture, and fed only local grasses and grains. Additionally, to be classified as Kobe, the Meat Quality Score must be A-4 or A-5.
In the United States, it’s not uncommon to see Kobe or Wagyu beef advertised in high-end restaurants. Unfortunately, calling it Kobe doesn’t make it so, as most trademarks and standards that define this grade of meat aren’t recognized here. Wagyu is often used interchangeably with Kobe. Wagyu simply means that the meat is from some breed of Japanese cattle, not necessarily Tajima.
The House of Genji Japanese restaurant offers delicious teppanyaki, sushi, and traditional Japanese food in San Jose. Our chefs bring the act to you, preparing your meal right at your table. For a fun and tasty Japanese dining experience, call (408) 453-8120 to make a reservation today.
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