Wagyu vs. Kobe Beef
What do Champagne, Scotch, and Kobe beef all have in common? If you were thinking they are all prerequisites for a good night out you might be right.
But they are all also examples of products that have to be produced in certain regions of the world if they are authentic. Fizzy alcoholic drinks made from grapes that are produced outside of Champagne in France is just sparkling wine, just like whiskey distilled outside of Scotland can’t legally be called scotch.
What about Wagyu and Kobe beef though? You could say Kobe is just a type of Wagyu like how scotch is a type of whiskey, but it’s a little more complicated.
When translated to English, the term Wagyu simply means “Japanese cattle.” There are four breeds of Japanese cattle: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. Although some consider all four breeds of cattle in Japan Wagyu, the breed that is used for luxury Wagyu beef, including Kobe, is always Japanese Black.
Several areas in Japan, such as Kobe beef’s Hyōgo Prefecture, are renowned for their cattle raising prowess. Each region has its own specific rules that the beef must pass receive any give area’s seal of approval.
When it comes to Wagyu beef, it doesn’t get any more premium than Kobe. This is because Kobe beef must pass the strictest criteria to get the Kobe Beef label.
Some of the requirements for Kobe beef include:
- Proper bloodline
- Raised in a stress-free environment
- Slaughtered in the Hyogo Prefecture
- Meet certain meat quality specifications such as degree of marbling
Other Kinds of Wagyu
To recap, Wagyu is another way to say Japanese cattle, and Kobe beef comes from Wagyu that was raised in special way from a particular region of Japan.
While Kobe beef is considered the best, that doesn’t mean that other types of Wagyu are not mind-blowingly delicious. Besides Hyogo, where Kobe beef is produced, other regions such Hokkaido, Iwate, Gunma, Shiga, and Miyazaki also produce top-quality Wagyu beef.