🍖 Kobe Travel / Kobe Beef 🍖
Where to Eat Kobe Beef in Japan:
TOP Kobe Beef Restaurant in Kobe
What's the one thing most people want to try when they come to Japan?
- that marbling though....
Recently we saw on TV a countdown of the most foreign tourists' most popular things to eat in Japan. Ramen taking the gold for being number one (no surprise), and of course, sushi and tonkatsu being in the top 10. Something we didn't expect to be so high up there was Kobe beef! Kobe beef is of course delicious, but it was interesting to hear how so many foreign tourists eat it when there are so many Japanese people that never have.
So since we found out how desirable Kobe beef is, we decided to stop by one of Kobe's most popular Kobe beef specialty restaurants to see HOW good Kobe beef really is.
"Welcome to the World of Kobe Beef"
Back in 1868 Kobe beef became a part of international trade, and from there it was viewed as traditional Japanese food despite Japanese people not being accustomed to eating red meat. As a non-Japanese, we don't know what it means to be Kobe beef. What qualifies beef as Kobe beef, and what makes it so special?!? So while eating some yummy teppanyaki Kobe beef we asked about the story behind it all.
Kobe Beef Teppanyaki Restaurant
- Around Sannomiya Station is known as the shopping district of the Kobe area, so you're sure to see lots of stores and restaurants lined up.
- The restaurant we decided to go to was Bifteck Kawamura, which is about a 2 minute walk from the North Exit of Sannomiya Station.
Sannomiya Flagship Restaurant
🏢4-5-13 Kano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
⏰11:30 to 15:00 / 17:00 to 22:30 (Last order 21:30)
Closed: occasional Mondays
💳Cards accepted: VISA, JCB, AMEX, Diners
Official website (ENG)
Different from the Teppanyaki You See at Home
Teppanyaki Kobe Beef
Teppanyaki restaurants are all over the world, but their main popularity besides the delicious food is the exciting show that is put on in front of you.
- The same idea applies here, however it is seen less as a show and more as an art.
- Everything is so high class and beautifully set up that you almost get the feeling instantly that the chefs here take Kobe beef and cooking it seriously.
Known for Using the Highest Grade of Kobe Beef
- The qualifications of being Kobe beef is surprisingly high. It all starts with tajima-gyu, or Japanese black cows which is one of the four Japanese breeds known as wagyu. From there the raising process requires a lot of attention to create a stress-free, relaxing environment. Then the grading of the cow depends on the yield and meat quality scores, but only cows having a marbling index of No.6 or higher, passed weight limitation, has a fine meat texture, and a few other criteria are officially certified as Kobe beef.
- ◉Yield score:
3 grades depending on the amount or percentage of edible cuts
that can be gained from a single head of cattle
◉Meat quality score:
Overall score based on the degree of marbling,
firmness and texture, color, quality, etc.
*It is also said that females are the most delicious,
so they are the ones most desired.
There are only a few hundred winning numbers of Kobe beef cows a year. For example, there was once only around 425. So you can imagine how expensive a single cow would be! Among that bunch, Kawamura bought 148 of them, making it a purchase that stands out in the Kobe beef specialty stores nationwide.
Characteristics of Kobe Beef
"Melts in Your Mouth"
Doesn't Do Enough Justice!
Cows are generally lower in muscle content, but what makes Kobe beef different from Western or even Japanese cattle is the high degree of fat marbling, also known as "shimofuri" in Japanese. Normally when you eat fatty meat, you get this constant chewing of thick fatty tissue. However, when we tried our first bite of Kobe beef, the marbling of the fat literally melted in your mouth as if it were butter. The chef explained that the fatty content in the meat melts at low temperatures bringing out its natural oleic acids to work well with the lean meat. Apparently, Kawamura purchases a whole cow compared to other restaurants where you only get certain portions of the meat verses as every delicious part.
Kobe Beef in Different Forms
We were impressed to see that Kawamura doesn't just serve Kobe beef teppanyaki,
but a course menu of Kobe beef served in different ways.
Really showing off the idea that they are Kobe beef specialists.
This trip we ordered the course menu that was said to be the best course
to enjoy Kobe beef dishes evenly,
Special Japanese Black Cattle Beef Steak Course.
- Japanese black beef roast beef
- Oxtail soup
- Salad with their own original dressing (a mixture of acidic apple sauce and specialized mayonnaise).
Kobe Beef Teppanyaki
Garlic and Veggies
- When you are finished eating the appetizers, the chef adds oil to the iron plate grill and begins with the garlic. NEVER in our lives have we seen garlic grilled with SUCH care! Even if you aren't a fan of garlic it's fun to watch.
- From there he moved on to the onions (from Awaji Island in Hyogo), eggplant, squash, red peppers, beans (pretty sure lima?), and yams.
Kobe Beef Teppanyaki
Next were slices of bread which really confused us. So first it's best to mention that there are no plates, once everything is finished being grilled, the chef puts everything on a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the grill in front of you (there's a picture below where you'll see what we mean).
It was explained to us that if you place meat on the bread, it is said that the meat won't burn or cool down while you eat it. Some people eat bread though because it's like toast and has some of the juices of the steak.
★Special Japanese Black Cattle Beef Steak Course
- 100g course 6,800 yen
- 140g course 8,800 yen
- 180g course 10,800 yen
Kobe Beef Teppanyaki
Where's the Beef?!
NEXT UP IS THE KOBE BEEF!!!
The rare steak was cooked on the outside so that juices wouldn't escape.
Of course, you can have it grilled to your liking,
but the chefs recommended medium rare for the best flavor and texture.
Kobe Beef Seasonings
2 Different Sauces, 1 Salt
When the vegetables and steak are cooked, they are set just like the picture above. There are 3 seasonings/sauces for you to try the steak with; a lightly spiced white miso base sauce, rock salt from the Himalayas, and garlic sauce soy sauce.
- It's recommended that you try the salt first.
- Which is great because really we fully recommend the salt over all!
*Your meal also comes with either a side of bread or rice.
Save Room for Dessert!
This Has Nothing to Do with Kobe Beef
Once you finish eating the course comes with a dessert offering 3 dishes and a cup of tea or coffee
(hot or cold) to go with your dessert:
・Cassis (blackcurrant) sherbert
It was all SO delicious!!!
Kobe Beef Teppanyaki
Who Knew It Would Be THIS GOOD!?
Is Kobe beef also on your things to try when coming to Japan?
We wanna hear about it in the comment box below!
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