Wagyu beef hits Myanmar shelves
FINDING quality cuts of beef in a Myanmar grocery store has long been a challenging endeavour. But as of August 26, authentic Japanese wagyu beef is appearing in IKON Marts for the first time – bringing the world’s most lauded breed of cow to the Golden Land.
Yamaji Ryohei is the managing director of S Foods Singapore, which supplies the beef to IKON Mart. The company has distributed wagyu beef internationally for the past seven years, serving 45 countries around the world. He said developing a supply chain in Myanmar was complex.
“We had to find a distributer in Myanmar in order to import wagyu Japanese beef officially,” he said. “First we met Mr Atsuhiko Makihata, the general manager of Nomura Trading. Thorugh him, we connected with IKON Mart because of its relationships with hotels and restaurants in Myanmar. We think cooperation with IKON Mart is the best way to import this beef.”
The beef has appeared in Myanmar through informal means, as travellers ran a black market trade in the meat via hand-held luggage, Ryohei said.
Why does everyone go so crazy for it? The beef, which can fetch US$52 for a small steak, comes from a special breed of Japanese cow and is known for its distinctive marbling and quality unsaturated fat.
Ryohei said wagyu fat melts at 23C, 12 degrees lower than most other beef.
“That’s why wagyu is more tender than other beef,” he said. “It has advantages over any other beef from other countries.”
Wagyu fat is also known to have a high content of oleic acid, which enhances its flavourful taste. In addition to boosting flavour, oleic acid is also reported to promote the proliferation of intestinal bacteria – the good kind.
IKON Mart will soon begin distributing the beef to some hotels and restaurants, and individual customers can contact the store – located in Sanchaung township on Pyay Road – if they want to order the beef for their own kitchen.
Wagyu beef, known for its quality and flavourful fat content, is on display at IKON Mart, where it will be sold in Myanmar for the first time.