From the humble Angus steak to the upper end of the spectrum of Korean Hanwoo and Japan’s ever famous Wagyu, beef can run the gamut of affordability all the way to being some of the most valued cuts of meats in the world. And no other type of beef comes close to that of Kobe beef. WHAT? Kobe beef is the meat from a specific breed of Japanese Wagyu cattle, called Tajima-gyu. It is known for having the best marbling in any cut of steak the world over, due to the rigorous care that is taken with the way Tajima-gyu is raised. Fat found in Wagyu beef, in general, melts at a lower temperature than conventional beef which gives it a richer, more buttery flavour profile, while at the same time being rich in unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acids which makes it healthier too. WHY? Like most other expensive foods, exclusivity makes Kobe the most expensive beef on the global market. In Japan, Kobe beef is a registered trademark of the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association, who hire seven stringent rules in classifying Kobe beef. Kobe beef must be Tajima-gyu cattle that are born, raised and processed in Hyogo prefecture with a marbling rating of 6 or higher on a 12-point scale, meat quality rating of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale coming from a steer or cow weighing a maximum of 470 kilograms. These strict standards mean that only about 3,000 cattle qualify as Kobe beef per year, pushing prices of this premium beef even higher. WHERE? Tajima-gyu cattle are found in Hyogo prefecture, the capital of which is Kobe hence the name of the beef, and Hyogo is the only place that breed authentic Kobe beef cattle. Wagyu strain cattle that are born and raised in farms elsewhere in Japan or around the globe cannot be called Kobe beef due to the geographical difference. Some butchers will claim to sell Kobestyle beef, but it might not always be the case as only a small number of these prized beef are exported to a few select buyers around the globe. For guaranteed authenticity, Kobe beef should be sampled in Kobe city. HOW MUCH? One kilogram of frozen A5 grade Kobe beef sirloin can set you back JPY49,000 or about USD430. An A5 grade Kobe beef sirloin steak dinner set at the reservation-required Mouriya restaurant will cost you upwards of JPY16,200.