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Getting Real Kobe Beef (split from Ontario board)

Great pictures except those beef are not real kobe from Japan, one ounze of real kobe beef causes $35 CAD in Japan. They can be from other regions of Japan.

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  1. Well nobody can be sure one way or the other, but having seen A LOT of marbled beef in my lifetime, I would say that it is Kobe beef. If you are arguing that it could not be Kobe beef because it would be impossible to afford... let me assure you this was not a cheap meal for six people after tax, tip, and booze :)

    I could be very wrong. But it was also ordered specially and is not a regular menu item.

    16 Replies
    1. re: abscissa

      I had kobe beef in Japan and it is actually shown with a certificate with 3 generations of its family and their "nose" print. Let me tell you that you won't get that in a $75 meal. Anywhere you are not shown with that, be careful if you "think" you are eating real kobe beef. Just some advise for you, dude.

      1. re: skylineR33

        Thanks, I will remember this for the future. Either way, the beef wasn't that great (I am not a huge meat-eater anyway). The lobster was the really amazing part of the meal.

        1. re: abscissa

          The lobster looks great in the picture ! Do you remember what seasoning is that ?

        2. re: skylineR33

          Real Kobe beef in Canada is non-existent, unless someone is smuggling it in from Japan. You may have got some sort of generic Japanese wagyu that they do ship over now (not at that price though), but what is more likely is that it was Canadian or American wagyu. Haven't you ever wondered how restaurants like Caseys are serving "Kobe" beef burgers for $9.99?

          "Kobe" on Canadian menus is not Kobe beef, and there is a world of difference.

          1. re: tjr

            whatever happened to those food police that the japanese were sending over to north america? perhaps they can properly rectify this for us!

            1. re: tjr

              It is quite possible that it was real Kobe Beef. There are several importers bringing Kobe Beef into Canada. Kobe Beef is any beef raised in the Hyōgo Prefecture under their strict guidelines, not all of it is insanely expensive, especially the stuff not sold by the famous farms like Matsusaka that give it such an expensive reputation. It is possible to get real Kobe Beef for as little as $100 per pound (but presumably not rib eye).
              And some places that sell Kobe burgers really do use beef from Kobe, it's not all that expensive because the chuck from a Kobe cow has none of the special qualities of the more desirable cuts, its just tough scrap meat like any other ground beef, and once it's ground up the marbling really doesn't matter anymore.

              1. re: graydyn

                I think you even mix up the different type of wagyu beef, Matsusaka beef is called "松阪牛" in Japan and Kobe beef is called "神戸牛".

                And you must be kidding. Where in Toronto do you get real Kobe Beef for $100 per pound, even the not-as-famous one ? All the steak house (Jacob, Habour 60, Barberian...) do not use real Kobe beef, but wagyu from other region in Japan, eventhough their menu said it is "Kobe Beef".

                1. re: skylineR33

                  Barberian at least claims their's is from Kobe, as per this thread:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461906
                  He even has a JPEG of a sticker...
                  Anyway I didn't mean in a restraunt, but from an importer, my co-worker said he got some from 'bansio'(sp?) but I've never attempted it myself. I could try and get a phone number out of him if anybody is actually interested.

                  1. re: graydyn

                    The JPEG is saying the beef is not Kobe Beef, if you read it correctly.

                    This is a cut and paste from my reply on another thread :

                    "Here is the cert from a previous thread, see the word "Kagoshima" ? Those are Wagyu beef from Kagoshima Prefecture, not kobe, you can called them Kagoshima beef. The other one I see at Pusateri's is from Gunma. "

                    Here is the thread :

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/497304

                    I am positive you cannot get Kobe Beef in Toronto.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      skylineR33 is correct; the certificate that the person from Barbarian's presented is from 鹿児島県, not 兵庫県. I've never seen anywhere in Toronto with real Kobe beef; beef from Kagoshima or Gunma is not the same thing.

                      Having lived in Japan most of my life, and having eaten Japanese beef extensively, I don't believe Kobe is the best in Japan. Unfortunately, most (if not all) of the beef we receive in Canada labeled as such has been mislabeled and advertised improperly. For example, Barbarian's mislabeled their beef as Kobe, when it is clearly from Kagoshima (and therefore not Kobe beef).

                      This is just bad practice. I'm sure a lot of people in general don't understand the difference, and most can't tell the difference between A4 or A5, let alone where the beef originated, but it's the same thing as calling a prosecco or sparkling wine champagne, which is decidedly inaccurate.

                      graydyn, if you believe that places using Kobe chuck for their burgers are actually using it, feel free to ask them for a certificate. Anyone buying any beef (even chuck) should be able to provide you with one, no problem. The issue is that they are using Canadian or American wagyu, and calling it Kobe beef, which it is not. They are misrepresenting their products. Even if chuck is cheaper, a Kobe burger is still not $10, even in Japan.

                      Also, Matsusaka beef, while the cattle are generally from Hyōgo Prefecture, is not the same thing as Kobe beef.

                      1. re: tjr

                        Hi tjr, what do you consider the best beef in Japan? I may be in Japan next year so it would be good to know! Thanks.

                        1. re: Apprentice

                          Kobe is excellent; I've had both Matsusaka and Mishima, both of which were better.

                          If you've never had beef of this quality before, you might try lower grades and do some comparisons; there's no point in spending an absurd amount of money on something if you can't really tell the difference.

                          Then again, how the beef is prepared is almost as large a debate as the beef it is prepared with, along with which restaurants serve the best. You may want to ask on the Japan board (so as not to derail the discussion here).

                        2. re: tjr

                          I try one restuarant in Japan and they sold Kobe burger around $10 if my memory doesn't betray me. Is tasty and juicy. But tough to tell whether it is a real Kobe. I may have their address too.

                        3. re: skylineR33

                          Again - you're absolutely right. And I think there are two issues. First, there ARE equivalent (in terms of quality) imports that are 'genuine' Japanese Wagyu from other prefectures. So, even if not strictly Kobe they are of equivalent quality (and I believe Barberian does describe his as Wagyu, not Kobe). Then there is the 'North American' version that the wholesalers in North America are calling Kobe as they derive from a Wagyu cross. These are DEFINITELY NOT equivalent, although they may still be good quality. Recently I approached a wholesaler who provides meat to many Toronto restaurants and asked if (s)he had any Wagyu. The wholesaler had never heard of Wagyu - and offered me "Kobe" instead - at around $45 per lb! I suspect that this is what is ending up at local restaurants as "kobe" beef - in genuine ignorance at the restaurant end - the wholesaler (erroneously) describes it as 'Kobe' and that is what ends up on the menus.

                          1. re: estufarian

                            There are also companies with Kobe included in their name (eg: "Kobe Classic Beef") that produce North American wagyu/wagyu-cross beef. Or producers are selling it as "Kobe" beef because that is the term people know. Or restaurants selling it as "Kobe" for the same reason. Below is an example:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/461906
                            "We have true Japanese KOBE Wagyu beef" - A.Barbarian

                            The certificate clearly states that it is not Kobe, but rather, from Kagoshima. Now, I don't take issue with serving wagyu, or any other sort of beef. I am not an elitist, or trying to keep a hidden gem out of our country. I do, however, take issue with misrepresenting your product. This is bad business, whether or not the common person knows that Kobe is different from wagyu or not.

                            pokerdan, do you remember the name of the restaurant, or how long ago? $10 for Kobe could be (in Japan), if they use an extraordinarily low grade and a lot of filler; a regular hambagu meal usually can be around $10. I have had very excellent wagyu and Kobe hambagu in Japan, but I don't think any were $10.

                            In Canada, the costs associated with shipping and sourcing the meat from Kobe would raise prices significantly above $10, considering a regular hamburger is roughly the same price (generic restaurant burgers).

                            1. re: estufarian

                              Yes, for all the A4/A5 wagyu, they are all very high quality. However, the most respectful wagyu beef are what the Japanese called the "Big 3" - Kobe beef (神戶牛), Matsusaka beef (松阪牛) and Omi beef (近江牛).

                              With Kobe beef, actually they are all raised in the nearby cattles as Kobe is actually a city. And there is a competition at Kobe every year to select the best beef amongst these farms. The beef that win most is the one from the farms at the place called Sanda (三田). Sanda beef is the best premium kind of Kobe beef. The most expensive steak restaurant in Japan, Aragawa, only sells Sanda beef.

                              I am not sure what Aoyama is serving, but looks like it is some A4 wagyu from other prefecture.