Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kobe Beef

One thing i would say about japan is they spend a lot of money on food here. I read somewhere that the average Japanese family spends up to 30% of its disposable income on food, its not just that food is really expensive here(which it is), but more that one of the pure sources of joy in this country is food. They have special tours made up to go and eat specific foods, they have museums dedicated to ramen and curry in yokohama that are major tourist destinations(all of my kids want to go). It seems like literally every other TV show on prime time TV is cooking or food related in one way or another. Japanese guidebooks are filled with pictures of food rather than much information about the places you visit, ill take a picture sometime. Ive even heard of a JETs japanese friend who planned a special trip to go to Vienna just to try and special kind of chocolate cake that they only make in Vienna that she saw on japanese TV. She was disappointed by them, its hard to imagine a pastry alone being worth an intercontinental trip.

Friday night was Nancy's birthday so i decided thought it would be a good time to try the restaurant on top of JAL hotel in KZ. JAL is the tallest building in the Hokuriku area of Japan and this restaurant was on the 29th floor overlooking downtown and the mountains. Parking my car at the place was a good japanese experience aswell, they put my car in some kind of car elevator and it dissapeared and i was given a ticket. We ordered the set meals, i got kobe filet and nancy got kobe sirlon so we could try both types. Kobe beef is speciality beef raised in Hyogo-ken around kobe, and is a special kind of very dark cow that is fed beer and is massaged daily by the ranchers to assure tenderness and keep fat content of the beef high. They also have recently started raising this same kind of beef in the US, especially in Idaho, while the same genetically to kobe beef, the japanese govt put restrictions on the name, and it cant be called kobe beef if its raised outside of Hyogo, so just like whiskey made outside of Bourbon, Kentucky cant be called Bourbon, this kobe beef is called WaGyu in the states and is sold at times upwards of $100 a pound. After eating it, i can tell you the steak was that good, its just different is the only way i can describe it, you really just need to try it sometime is the only way to rationalize how people can spend that much money on just beef. Sorry, enough talking, here are the pictures.

The pieces of meat were brought out on a tray and the chef seasoned the meat with salt and pepper and then cooked the meat on a hot grill that made up the majority of the table. He cooked a batch of fresh Japanese mountain vegetables, radish, bamboo, and mushrooms and heated the grill up and timed them so by the time we had eaten one type of the vegetable the next one was ready for us. Then, he warmed the grill until it was very hot, then put the meat down for about 45 seconds to 1min on one side, then flipped it over to sear the other side quickly to keep all of the moisture in the meat. After he cut the meat into smaller around 2 bite sections and cooked it until it was ready to be eaten and put it down on are stone trays. This style of cooking, called teipannyaki in Japanese is similar to Benihana or similar japanese BBQs in the states.

cooking the bamboo and mushrooms while we have our salad.

While the meat was cooking, stone tray plates were set out in front of us with small fried garlic slivers, a pile of rock sea salt(we thought from suzu where they make salt) and were given three sauces: miso, soy ginger, and ponzu(citrus, garlic and soy) for the meat and veg.

all i would say is this meal was worth every yen of it.


Blogger michaelpanda said...

damn, so it really is worth it huh? i have often wondered but never splashed out before.

say happy b-day to nancy for me!

and thanks for snow picshurs in previous poast. none of that down here in kanto this year so nice to see what i'm missing ;)

7:53 AM  

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