Welcome ladies and gentleman to the main event of the week! In the category of Culinary Boxing here at Chef’s Mandala, we have weighing in at 2 lbs from southern Japan, please welcome Kobe Beef! His opponent, weighing in at 1 lb from all of Japan, please welcome Wagyu Beef!
LET’S GET READY TO RRRRR…….HAVE A SPIRITED DEBATE ON FOOD!!!
In the Red Corner – KOBE BEEF
This protein is generated by the slaughtering of a specific breed of Japanese black cows. Officially the most famous are from Japan’s Hyogo prefecture (Kobe is its’ capital). But our champion is known to have a LOT of bastards running around named Hangyu (half breeds). Just one shot of the champ’s semen can sell for $50,000 (not even a fertilized egg, just give this bull some privacy and racy magazines and voila, your mortgage just got paid). Kobe beef has a unique training method. He drinks a lot of beer while getting a full body massage from nearby humans. This prevents the fat from clumping up, and instead distributes it more evenly throughout the muscle tissue. That is why this beef is so soft and delicious!
In the Blue Corner – WAGYU BEEF
While all Kobe beef is considered to be a type of Wagyu, the reverse is not always true! Yep, there’s some bad family blood between our reigning champ and up and coming challenger. Wa is the Chinese pronunciation for the Japanese character for “Japanese.” Gyu means cow, making wagyu a generic description. It covers not only the specific breed of Kobe beef, but also all cattle in Japan. In the 1800’s European cattle were crossbred with indigenous stock, creating the 4 breeds that make up wagyu today (Black, Brown, Shorthorn and Polled). The black strains still make up a majority of wagyu beef, giving it a level of marbling that is world-renowned at a slightly cheaper price (then Kobe). Wagyu is not a pure-breed like the current champ, but as mutts go he’s still a great deal!
- The Play-By-Play
And Kobe beef comes out of his corner with a noble saunter, while Wagyu favors more of an Ali shuffle. Wait, both fighters are now being mobbed by men in blue jackets. It looks like law enforcement officials from Immigration are arresting both fighters in the middle of the match!
AND THE WINNER IS….
No one, both fighters are disqualified for mis-representing themselves on their citizenship declarations. It turns out that a LOT of the supposed wagyu and kobe beef served in America, Europe, Australia and other countries is not actually imported from Japan. The breeds of cows that make up wagyu and kobe beef are also raised in these countries. But just not to the same exacting standards as the Japanese require by law. Japan only exports enough Kobe beef to feed 77 Americans each year for example.