Wagyu beef has steadily become more prominent in western culture over the last few years. A form of wagyu has even appeared in fast food menus. But really, this fine beef is a connoisseur cuisine. The fast food version is just cashing in on the name.
Wagyu beef originally came from Japan. The name means Japanese cow. But the meat was special because of the specific breed and how the cow was raised. The grain fed animal had to be a certain pureblood pedigree to qualify as wagyu beef; some places provided pedigree papers for individual animals.
The true wagyu beef was known for being very tender and finely marbled with fat. This was its selling point. But it came at a fairly hefty cost.
Unfortunately the ‘wagyu’ label has grown blurred. Not all Japanese beef is truly Wagyu. And many similar meats from other parts of the world are being sold as ‘wagyu’, even though they are often (not always) from mixed breed cattle. Some foreign wagyu appears to be the genuine article.
The issue is further complicated by the high end ‘Kobe’ beef. This was originally one of the highest end wagyu meats, and it technically still is. But other meat is labelled ‘Kobe’ because of a superficial resemblance to the real product. These other meats might be fairly good, but they are not the genuine Kobe wagyu beef.
Enjoy a variety of meats prepared in a variety of Korean marinades, cooked at your table and eaten hot off the grill.