Several establishments throw the word Wagyu around to increase sales without considering the implications of their actions toward the public’s perception of the prestigious beef. In recent years, terms such as American Wagyu and British Wagyu have emerged, which confused people about what Wagyu beef truly is. Given the challenge to appreciate and understand one of Japan’s most prized meat, Kai Wagyu entered the American business scene to introduce authentic Wagyu and educate others about its true nature and significance.
What is Wagyu?
To establish what Wagyu is, it is essential to examine its etiology. Wagyu is Japanese and directly translates to “Japanese cow,” which generally refers to specific breeds of Japanese cows, namely Black, Brown, Poll, and Shorthorn. The production of Wagyu is treated on highly regulated international standards to protect the value of the meat, having cows bred with intention and raised with care. With that, Wagyu develops a high level of fat content, which is known as marbling.
The Japan Meat Grading Association spearheads the quality assessment of Wagyu beef. They rely on the Japanese grading system that presents yield grades from classes A to C, wherein A is the highest, and meat quality grades from 1 to 5, wherein 5 is the highest. Combining these two indicators identifies the actual grade of the beef. To elaborate, yield grade refers to the amount of meat taken from the carcass of the cattle, and meat quality grade refers to the firmness of the meat. When Wagyu is graded A5, it is considered the best.
Juxtaposing authentic Wagyu to American Wagyu, the former is nurtured mainly in Japan under the tender care of Japanese farmers and the supervision of the Japanese government. In contrast, the latter is produced as a hybrid of a Japanese cow and regular Angus cattle.
Is Wagyu bad for my health?
While Wagyu contains a higher fat content than other beef, it is healthier for you! This claim is supported by a study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health in 2016. The intense white marbling present in A5 Wagyu beef is primarily monounsaturated fat, which is considered ‘healthy fat’ and has been proven to lower LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol. This, in turn, can help maintain a low level of LDL, reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke. Wagyu has up to 300% more monounsaturated fat than regular beef and is also high in Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Isn’t Japanese wagyu banned from the US?
Because of a foot-and-mouth disease that broke out in Japan, Wagyu was banned from being exported to America for roughly three years between 2009 and 2012. However, the ban was lifted in 2012 when the epidemic was resolved. Although Wagyu is not entirely banned, there are strict regulations imposed by the Japanese government that limit the importation of the product into America due to the highly coveted and limited amount of supply of Wagyu.
Where can I get Wagyu?
Taking into consideration the prestige of Wagyu, Kai Wagyu has partnered with farms across Japan in the Hokkaido and Kagoshima prefecture to source only the best Wagyu cuts. Their beef is non-GMO, nonantibiotics or added hormones, and certified humane. For every piece of meat sold, they also provide a certificate of authenticity enclosed within the package, which includes a tracking number that can be monitored on the official Japanese government website.
All the meat sourced by Kai Wagyu from Japan are stored and processed in its USDA-approved processing facility in Los Angeles. This allows them to import and process the meat sourced from Japan, consequently, giving them the ability to offer wholesale options to supply hotels, restaurants, butcher shops, grocery stores, and the like, along with retail options to customers.
At Kai Wagyu, it only takes one bite to feel the respect for the cattle, to taste the intimacy of the moment, to understand the spirit of Japanese heritage. They seek to create exclusive, one-of-a-kind dining experiences by bringing the culinary tradition of Japanese Wagyu beef from cattle farms onto your plate. If you want to know more about Kai Wagyu, you can visit their website or Instagram page.