What You Probably Didn’t Know About Kobe Beef

Say Kobe, what do you think of?

When people hear the word Kobe, the first thing that comes to mind is professional basketball player Kobe Bryant who has won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

But did you know that Kobe’s parents actually named their son after a famous menu item in a Japanese steakhouse? In recent years, Kobe beef has become a household name and many enterprising restaurants outside Japan have loosely marketed their steaks as such. However, Kobe beef is a registered trademark and must fulfill several conditions before it can become worthy of that label.

About Kobe City

Kobe Beef is named after Kobe-shi (神戸市), the sixth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture. Kobe city is well known for its port that has long served as a gateway to China and Korea since ancient times. The port grew in importance after the Edo period (1603 – 1868), which signified the end of the Tokugawa shogunate’s isolationist foreign policies. It became a key center of international commerce and transportation as it opened its doors to foreign trade. Many foreigners settled there and soon Kobe became a cosmopolitan town. At the time, beef was not even a part of the Japanese diet. In fact, eating beef was prohibited during the Edo era. It was only at the time of the Meiji Restoration when the Japanese people were encouraged to adopt Western lifestyles that they started consuming red meat.

What is Kobe beef about?

Kobe beef is part of a larger category known as Wagyu beef. Wagyu comes from four breeds of cattle:  brown, polled, shorthorn and black. 85% to 90% of all wagyu is black.

To tell the truth, the brand beef: Kobe beef cows are not raised in Kobe city. No such “Kobe cow” exists. Kobe beef or Kobe meat is actually the best part of meat of Tajima cow (但馬牛), and not all Tajima cows’ meat is Kobe beef.
There are several criteria to be judged as Kobe beef. e.g.:  Steer or no labor experience cow, marbling and BMS (Beef Marble Score) grade higher than No.6, etc.  Tajima cows are raised in Tajima area, north of Hyōgo Prefecture.

Kobe beef certificate

Kobe beef certificate

I’m a fan of Kobe beef and Kobe city.
I would be dreaming of eating Kobe beef always.. sizzling..drooling..

(cover photo: https://www.bifteck.co.jp/)