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Is American Kobe REAL Kobe??

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I was watching Iron Chef tonite and the secret ingredient was American Kobe Beef. Now first of all, I didn't know there WAS any such thing as American Kobe. I have always thought that by definition, Kobe MUST come from Japan. So this begs the question, is American Kobe Beef REAL Kobe Beef?

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  1. Both are "real".

    1. PH, I think you're right. I think it can be Wagyu (the breed) but not Kobe (the location). Kind of like Champagne.

      3 Replies
      1. re: acgold7

        That's my understanding too.

        1. re: CanadaGirl

          +1 It can be exactly the same product, but if it isnt from kobe japan, its not "real kobe"

        2. re: acgold7

          +1

        3. My local Wagyu producer has their cattle's DNA tested in Japan, to Japanese standards. The process is very interesting and rigorous -- you might want to Google and read up on it.

          1. It's not Kobe beef unless it's produced in Kobe under some criteria.

            American Kobe beef is Wagyu cattle crossbred with Angus.

            2 Replies
            1. re: zfalcon

              That's not so. The best American Kobe is not crossed with Angus. I can get either from the same local producer. These cattle pass the same scrutiny as the Japanese animals. No difference, whatsoever.

              1. re: zfalcon

                To say Wagyu cattle are only represented in the US as crossbreed/mixed breed just isn't true.There are Wagyu crosses out there to build the breed into herds more quickly.Black Angus isn't the only or number one example in developing mixed herds.

              2. Kobe beef refers to a geographical place in Japan where Wagyu cattle are bred and slaughtered.

                The term "American Kobe Beef" is simply a marketing term.

                Sort of like someone selling you a bottle of "California Champagne" ...

                1. Like most of the answers above, my understanding is that it can't be "Kobe beef" unless it comes from the Kobe Prefecture in Japan.

                  However, "Kobe-Style" beef has been showing up in a lot of restaurants here in Houston for the past year or so.

                  It is sourced from Yoakum, Texas. Here's a link: http://heartbrandbeef.com/

                  Mostly my experience has been with burgers, but those filets in the photo at the bottom of the link I posted above look pretty darned good!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DoobieWah

                    There is no Kobe Prefecture. It's Hyogo Prefecture. Kobe is a city in Hyogo. The term "Kobe Beef" is used by Hyogo breeders for marketing and distribution purposes. Kobe was one of the ports open to trading at the beginning of the Meiji Era and is associated with the West and cosmopolitanism (i.e. eating beef) in Japan.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      OK. Thanks.

                  2. I am Japanese, and I know the fact that Kobe-beef sold outside Japan is not real at all.
                    They have never exported in the history, and actually it has been exported to Macao this month for the very first time. They are expected to export to the US sometime soon.
                    The fake Kobe beef has spread out enough to harm the brand and they decided to do it to let foreign people know what the real Kobe beef is like.
                    Fake Kobe beef producers and many high-end restaurants claim that it is the same kind of meet and quality, but the truth is it is not at all. The real one is more close to Otoro (very pink tuna) in texture, and it melts in your month, you can not cook more than mid-rare because it liquefies literally. Fake Kobe beef sold in the US is high in price, but the real one costs $400 a pound. There are similar quality beef brands in Japan, such as matsuzaka-beef, Omi-beef.
                    I live in New York and I have never seen the same kind of beef sold in the United States.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: takohachi

                      Here's an interesting English-language website on Kobe beef: http://www.kobe-niku.jp/englishtop.html .... Takohachi, does the information there look legitimate to you?

                      1. re: drongo

                        Cool site!

                        Takohachi, it would be awesome if you could also explain the differences between Wagyu and Kobe from your perspective. thank you.

                      2. re: takohachi

                        My girlfriend is Japanese and we are in Japan now and she has explained to me many Japanese consider Matsusaka to be superior to kobe, any thoughts on this?

                        1. re: TeRReT

                          There are around a dozen premium regional brands of beef in Japan, all with their own fans and specialty restaurants. The "big three" are Matsusaka, Ohmi and Kobe beef. [Others are Hida, Miyazaki, Tajima, Yonezawa, Yamagata, Maezawa, Iwate, and Sendai.]

                          A lot of people prefer Matsusaka beef, but Kobe beef is still popular.

                      3. There's an article at forbes.com this week in two parts:

                        "Food's Biggest Scam: The Great Kobe Beef Lie" -- http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolms...

                        "Food's Biggest Scam, Part 2: 'Domestic' Kobe And Wagyu Beef" -- http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolms...

                        I'm not sure that this is the "biggest scam" -- the olive oil business probably deserves that title!

                        Edit: There's also a Part 3, but it's not yet posted (as of morning of 14th April).

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: drongo

                          Awesome article. Thanks!

                          1. re: drongo

                            part 3 is now posted, linked from the previous parts or:
                            http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolms...

                            and yes, well worth reading all three parts

                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              Cool, thanks.

                              FYI: You posted page 2 of part 3. Here is page 1 for those who like to read in order :)
                              http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolms...

                              1. re: Jzone

                                ...and Part 4 was published 4/19/2012:
                                http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolms...

                            2. re: drongo

                              This article is going viral on the internet and I think it should continue to do so.

                            3. I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Lewis Black rant on The Daily Show the other night which included a bit about "kobe" beef...and the overuse/misuse of the word "artisanal"
                              http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue...

                              I freaking LOVE Lewis Black.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: coney with everything

                                Wunnerful!!! (((BIGGRIN)))

                                Thanks for posting that. I don't normally watch TDS - hmm, wonder why not.

                              2. That forbes article sums it up.
                                I think there was a brief window where you could get the Japanese product here in the U.S.

                                Having had the real think a few times in Japan, nothing sold here in the US as Kobe or wagyu even comes close.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: AdamD

                                  That is simply not true. I lived in Tokyo and ate Kobe beef at a small steak house at least once a month for three years. It was wonderful, but no better than the local Wagyu produced 15 minutes from where I live. The marbling, flavor, and mouthfeel are the real deal. Of course, I have no idea what you can buy, but your sweeping generalization doesn't hold water where I am.

                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                    That is based upon your experience and I am glad you get the same enjoyment.

                                    In my experience, nothing I have had in the states, including some very fine US and NZ wagyu at some of the top places in NYC, comes close to the top grade kobe and matsuzaka beef I have had in Japan. It is also by far and away the most expensive food I have ever eaten.

                                2. "All our Japanese Wagyu Beef sold on our web site is legally imported from Japan. USDA, FBI, Press and TV Stations are welcome to come and verify the facts. A lawsuit has been filed against Forbes Magazine in US Federal court in Los Angeles.Thank You".

                                  http://1-800-kobebeef.com/index.html

                                  Apparently you can get Japanese beef in the states. If you don't mind paying $4,000 a pound!