What's the big deal about Wagyu beef?

22 January 2018 - 00:00 By Belinda Mountain
Wagyu beef has been likened to olive oil and salmon in terms of its health benefits.
Wagyu beef has been likened to olive oil and salmon in terms of its health benefits.
Image: Etienne Schoeman

You may have heard of Kobe beef, but have you heard of Wagyu? The word “wagyu” means “Japanese cattle” and it’s a completely different kind of meat: a delicious, highly marbled and tender beef that’s available in South Africa.

We chat with Samuel Pauw of Certified Wagyu Breeders to find out more.

What's the best way to enjoy Wagyu beef?

Traditionally the home of Wagyu beef is Japan. There it’s often served sukiyaki style, where thin strips are boiled in a broth with thread noodles, vegetables and served with a soya and sugar sauce.

The other popular Japanese style is teppanyaki, where thin strips are seared on a flat iron griddle.

Both of these methods are an ideal way to retain the healthy fats which make Wagyu beef so special.

Westerners love steaks and burgers and both of these are best grilled and not overcooked.

Wagyu can also be made into biltong.

Does it have any special health benefits?

Wagyu beef has been likened to olive oil and salmon in terms of its health benefits. It has up to 300% more monounsaturated fat than normal beef due to the high marbling of the meat, as well as incredibly high omega 3 and 6 content.

Wagyu beef has the lowest cholesterol levels of all meats, even lower than fish or chicken, and it contains oleic acid which is considered good for your heart. It’s also believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties. 

Is it expensive?

The high price of full-blood Wagyu beef will make it a realistic purchase only for the very wealthy. However, the result of crossing Wagyu cows with Angus cows gives a very good marbled result at a more accessible price.

Once the supply to retailers and restaurants is consistent, it’s predicted that the demand for Wagyu beef will be very high.


 

This article is adapted from one originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guides. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za


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