Tasting a piece of silver
As a gourmet delicacy, wagyu beef (obtained from specially reared beef cattle in Japan) is one of the most expensive meats in the world. It’s almost like eating a piece of silver, remarks the Japanese Ambassador to Oman, H E Mitsugu Saito.
The most popular wagyu is the Kobe beef, named after the Japanese town of Kobe from where this meat first gained international popularity. Kobe beef is a rare product of Japan, obtained from a special breed of Tajima-gyu cattle.
In 1869 Kobe town opened its doors to foreign trade as an international port. With many foreigners arriving and settling there, Kobe soon became a cosmopolitan town, an important crossroads of Japanese and foreign culture.
At this time the Japanese were not accustomed to eating meat.
However, this was about to change with Kobe beef being eaten by an Englishman for the very first time.
Since then the reputation of Kobe beef crossed seas and became a familiar name in gourmet delicacy.
This was the first time that a Kobe beef tasting session was hosted at the residence of the Japanese ambassador, who wanted to take the opportunity to introduce one of Japan’s ‘precious commodity’ to Oman.
“I am quite happy to organise the Kobe beef tasting in Oman as this is one of the best beefs in Japan and in the world,” said H E Saito.
Further explaining the rarity of the beef he said, “Wagyu is becoming very popular the world over but most of it comes from Australia and not Japan.
“In 2013, in Japan 228,000 cows were slaughtered and among them only 4,679 were certified as Kobe beef. So even in Japan, Kobe beef is a precious commodity.”
Held in partnership with the Middle East Fuji Khimji’s Co LLC, the tasting had on its menu Japanese delicacies such as tataki, shabushabu (with thinly sliced parboiled beef in hot soup) and the Omani shuwa made with Kobe beef, among other items.