culture Food and Drink Japan

Kobe Beef

KOBE BEEF from Steak Land

Last weekend, I went to visit Kobe and had delicious Kobe beef which I had never experienced.  Kobe beef is one of the highest-end brands and I heard foreigners including Hollywood stars come to Japan to have Kobe beef.  So, what’s so special about Kobe beef and why Kobe beef became so famous?

Kobe beef refers to meat from Tajima-Gyu cows almost from Hyogo prefecture which is certified by the Kobe Beef Distribution and Promotion Council.  The Tajima-Gyu as seed-stock cattle has maintained its pure bloodline since the Edo period.  To protect its pure blood line for many years is quite difficult and it means also to protect the delicious taste.  Keeping this quality takes lots of time and cost, so this is why Kobe beef is expensive.

To be certified as Kobe Beef, it needs to pass the strictest criteria in Japan.  To be officially certified as Kobe beef, it needs to be bred and raised by specified farmer and to be processed  in Hyogo Prefecture, in addition to be pure Tajima-Gyu pure lineage.  It also needs to pass strict BMS (Beef Marbling Standard) and weight limitation, so it is said the criteria is the strictest in Japan.

Kobe Beef became famous in 1863, when the Kobe opened a port for trade.  At the time of meat eating culture was not introduced to foreigners, an English man first time had cow which was for farming and he praised the beef.  After that it became to be called “KOBE BEEF”.  In 2012, it was exported to Macao for the first time.  Only about 3000 will be certified as KOBE Beef every year.

As I mentioned the Kobe Beef is expensive, but you have chance to have the beef at cheap price.  In Kobe, at lunch time, some restaurants provide Kobe beef for only about 3000 yen with rice, miso soup, salad and coffee. I recommend Steak Land in Kobe.  You may see a long line in front of the restaurant, but I could go into about 40 minutes.  Chefs will cook your beef on the iron plate in front of you.  Kobe beef with garlic chips were really delicious so I would like you to experience it.  I’m sure you can spend precious time there.