What’s the most tender steak you have ever had? Odds are, it will never be as tender as real Kobe beef. I say real Kobe beef because you can only get the real stuff in Japan. The stuff outside Japan is Kobe “Style” beef.
Kobe beef is a delicacy renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. The marbling makes USDA Prime beef look super lean. Kobe beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, and teppanyaki.
Part of the reason Kobe beef is so expensive is because only about 3,000 head of cattle may qualify as Kobe. In Japan, all cattle, not just those that end up as Kobe beef, can be tracked via a 10-digit number through every step of its entire lifecycle. The limited supply of cows is also the reason Kobe beef is not exported outside of Japan.
What a $140 Kobe Steak looks Like
To sample my first real Kobe steak, we went to Ginza Rangetsu. The restaurant came highly recommended, and it’s just a short walk from our hotel. As an added bonus, it’s right next door to Japan’s flagship Apple store.
Since steak is my thing, I ordered a Kobe sirloin. The server brought it out for me to inspect before cooking it. I must admit. I have never seen so much fat on a steak in my life. Talk about well-marbled!
Here’s the steak all grilled to perfection. Yes, it really does taste as good as it looks!
I also tried some traditional Kobe beef used for shabu shabu. The beef is cut thin so it cooks once you dunk it into the hot soup.
Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my first Kobe beef experience, and I highly recommend you try it if you’re ever in Japan. However, I wouldn’t eat this everyday. I doubt that much fat is good for you. As a once in while thing, it’s pretty awesome.