Wagyu is the combination of two Japanese words. Wa (pronounced “wah”) is the Japanese word for peace and harmony. It is also the word that the Japanese use to identify their country, Japan. “Wa” is commonly used as a prefix to distinguish something like “from Japan” or “from Japan”. The term “wa” is used in many ways: washoku (Japanese food), wagaku (Japanese music), wasei (made in Japan), and so on. Gyu (pronounced “gyew”) is the Japanese word for beef. Put wa and gyu together, wagyu, and you have the word for Japanese meat.
Wagyu is not necessarily Kobe beef, but it can be. Kobe beef is a particular type of wagyu (Japanese beef) that is incredibly marbled and incredibly expensive. Kobe beef refers to black Tajima beef cuts that are raised according to a very strict tradition. However, virtually all wagyu, whether Kobe beef or not, are a connoisseur’s delight. You don’t really have to be a connoisseur to love the taste of beef and, as I recall, the taste of Prime American beef before the health Nazis took over the food industry. (Contrary to the propaganda that has been thrown down the throats of Americans for the past thirty years, fat is not bad and fat is not fattening, excess calories do, but that’s another article I’ll entertain you with. later).
Sadly, the health Nazis have wickedly forced the beef industry to raise lower-fat cattle, thus eliminating the main source of flavor and satisfaction from eating beef. Fat is absolutely essential for good taste and satisfaction in everything we eat, especially meat. I can remember a time when American beef was the best in the world and when the USDA Prime label really meant excellent! That was at least thirty years ago. Now the Prime label is essentially equivalent to Choice or USDA Select from years gone by, but I digress.
Virtually all wagyu (Japanese beef) have a marble score higher than USDA Prime. You may not have known that beef is graded by its “marble score.” The marble score is the rating of the amount of marbling (or fat) contained in a particular cut of meat. The higher the score, the more marbling, the fatter, the more flavorful, the more tender and the more satisfying. USDA Prime has a marble score of 3. Depending on the cut, wagyu has a marble score of 7 or higher. Kobe beef has a marble score of 12.
One of the best things about eating wagyu is that you don’t have to eat a pound or more to feel full. Wagyu is so wonderfully rich and deliciously tasty that a relatively small amount will leave you completely satisfied. I realized this immediately when I was eating wagyu in restaurants in Japan. Wagyu is so satisfying that you feel completely satisfied after a meal. On the other hand, I would have to eat a huge steak in the States to get enough, and I would still leave feeling full and disappointed.
Wagyu is simply the best meat you can buy and luckily there are still a few places you can buy wagyu online that the health Nazis haven’t shut down yet.