Wagyu Explained by Kai Wagyu

Every person who is interested in food has heard the term Wagyu. But what is Wagyu? What does A5 stand for? Is it true that it melts like butter in your mouth? Can I get Wagyu outside of Japan? Given the confusion, Kai Wagyu has provided brief explanations to answer the most frequently asked questions about Wagyu. 

What is Wagyu?

The term Wagyu is Japanese and directly translates to “Japanese cow,” which generally pertains to specific breeds of Japanese cows, namely Black, Brown, Poll, and Shorthorn. Wagyu is a highly coveted beef from Japan because of the active and intensive care given to Japanese cattle, resulting in their high fat content level. Because of the arduous process of tending to Wagyu, there is a limited supply and usually comes with a high price tag. Additionally, the production of Wagyu is treated on highly regulated international standards by the Japanese government to protect the integrity, transparency, and authenticity of the meat. Aside from that, authentic Japanese Wagyu is strictly graded by the Japanese Meat Grading Association. 

As its name suggests, Wagyu is only made in Japan; hence, importation adds value. The exportation of live cattle and even cattle sperm has been prohibited by Japan, making it impossible to breed elsewhere. Except for a tiny percentage in Australia, all authentic Wagyu beef hails from Japan. Given these limitations, people who seek Wagyu experience difficulties in obtaining the said meat. While Wagyu distributors have emerged in recent years, it is still difficult to acquire because of the small quantities being imported. 

What does Wagyu taste like?

There is no word better to describe the taste of Wagyu than umami. But what is umami? Umami is considered the fifth taste that humans can identify with their tongues, recently coined by the Japanese. Seaweed, soy sauce, mushroom, kelp, and noodle broths are other examples of food with an umami taste. 

How would I know if it’s authentic Wagyu?

The only means to ensure the legitimacy of Wagyu is through its certificate of authenticity, which details its origin, breed, sex, and cattle identification number. As mentioned, the Japanese government meticulously tracks all Japanese cattle due to the high demand for Wagyu. All Japanese cattle carry ear-tags that show a ten-digit ID number. The cattle’s date of birth, gender, and producer data, such as name and address, are also included in its production history database, registered to the National Livestock Breeding Center.

How is Wagyu graded?

In Japan, they have a strict and thorough grading system for their beef. The Japanese Meat Grading Association grades Wagyu on two different indicators: meat yielded from the carcass and meat quality or firmness. The former ranges from classes A to C, wherein A is considered the highest, and the latter ranges from grades 1 to 5, with 5 as the highest. A5 Japanese Wagyu, which is regarded as the highest tier of marbling content Wagyu can have, is known to be superior to the rest. 

Where can I get Wagyu?

At Kai Wagyu, they only serve premium Wagyu with BMS from 10 to 12, which means these are the best of the best. Their meat is also sold in retail and wholesale. What sets Kai Wagyu apart is their partnerships with farms across Japan in the Hokkaido and Kagoshima prefecture to source only the best Wagyu cuts. They are the first company to directly import meat from Top Farm, located at Saroma, Hokkaido in Japan. With the motto “If you grow it lovingly, the cow will respond properly,” Top Farm takes extreme pride in providing meticulous breeding and the best cattle care. 

All of the meat Kai Wagyu imports from Japan are stored in its USDA-approved processing facility in Los Angeles. This also gives them the ability to offer wholesale options to supply hotels, restaurants, butcher shops, grocery stores, and the like, along with retail options to customers. 

Ultimately, Kai Wagyu seeks to create exclusive, one-of-a-kind dining experiences by bringing the culinary tradition of Japanese Wagyu beef from cattle farms onto your plate. To place your order for their delicate and premium Wagyu, you can visit Kai Wagyu’s website or Instagram page. For online orders, customers can also enjoy free FedEx Overnight Shipping with purchases over $198.