Know Your Cow: Wagyu (What is it, Exactly?)
When ordering beef online or in a high-end restaurant, you’ll frequently see the word “Wagyu” used. What does this mean? Is it the same as Kobe beef? Yes and no. Kobe beef is the most famous variety of Wagyu: other varieties include Mishimi and Ohmi, along with American Kobe and Australian Wagyu. All of the varieties are named for the region where they are produced. Remember, saying “Japanese Wagyu” is redundant because “Wagyu” means “Japanese-style Cattle.”
Sadly, most of the Wagyu info on the web, except for the wikipedia article, seems to have been cut and pasted from the same poorly-written source. But I found one great source of information: the Kobe Beef FAQ, hosted on good ol’ Geocities. Go there to learn the history of the market for Wagyu in America and Japan, and why it’s so hard to find.
One thing I can tell you: Wagyu beef is like no other. It’s beautifully marbled and is very low in saturated fat. Is it worth the price? You will have to decide – but you should definitely try it for yourself.