Wagyu beef hits Myan­mar shelves

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse - MYO SATT myosatt@mm­times.com

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.

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

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.

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