11 Jun2006

WAGYU Beef

by Marketman

wag1

Locally grown Wagyu beef at wickedly AFFORDABLE prices??? Was I hallucinating? I did a double take at the Salcedo Market yesterday when I spied a sign for WAGYU BEEF and on closer inspection it was clear that they had several cuts from the carcass…from brisket to tenderloin to the fore and hind shins (osso buco). The saleslady explained that the cattle were grown in Mindanao and they were freezing the meat and sending it up North. It was not clear if the beef was at all aged but from what I could see, it did look significantly different from most local beef so my curiosity was definitely piqued. I picked out a packet of osso buco cut and paid an astonishingly LOW PHP350 (USD7) or so and realized there was very little downside to this experiment. But first, what’s the big deal??? KOBE BEEF, possibly the most expensive BEEF on the planet is from the Wagyu breed of cattle…but not all Wagyu is KOBE beef…

Over 150 years ago, the Japanese began cross-breeding Asian cattle with imported British and European cattle, with the intention of constantly improving the “marbling” of fat in the meat. The increased marbling results in a very tasty, delicious and softer meat. wag2This process began in and around Kobe prefecture. Visit this site for more information. Since then, the cows and their beef, generically referred to WAGYU cattle (“WA” for Japanese and “GYU” for cattle) have improved over the years and today they are considered to be amongst the highest quality meats in the world. The whole story of their being massaged and fed beer is apocryphal in most cases, there just isn’t enough land to roam on so the cattle are raised in tight pens and they don’t get to walk around too much. But mystique and hype and marketing means that KOBE BEEF is extremely sought after by some folks and at USD100-150 a pound, it is wickedly expensive. So as economics would ensure…the Japanese have quietly shipped lots of these jet black and sometimes red cattle to the U.S. and Australia where thousands and thousands of heads are now raised and slaughtered and shipped back to Japan to be marketed as WAGYU which they essentially are, only raised on foreign shores.

My experience with Kobe beef is less than some but more than most folks. I had it over 20 years ago in Japan while on a short visit and I can say the experience was memorable. Ordering it in most restaurants is prohibitively expensive but I have on several occasions been lucky enough to have it. I think it is delicious, but I often fret that it isn’t worth that astronomical prices charged. My best birthday present EVER was delivered in a non-descript little bayong with a ribbon on my 40th birthday… inside was a 5 kilo hunk of Kobe Beef flown in from Japan just hours before… trust me, I was hopping around the living room with excitement! It was the best hunk of beef I have ever cooked in our home, bar none. But it isn’t just the fact that it is from a WAGYU cattle. It matters how the cow was prepared and slaughtered, how its meat was stored, aged (the older the redder the meat and less moisture when you cook), and finally, how it is cooked. Recently, I had heard that several folks were trying to raise these WAGYU cattle on farms in Mindanao. I even heard that the first cuts of beef were already being enjoyed in Manila as of last year…in one case, as a nilaga which had about a 1/2 inch of fat floating on the surface of the soup! So it wasn’t a total surprise that someone had finally brought them to market…

On the drive home from the market, I wondered if I had done a dumb thing, buying the osso buco cut. Typically WAGYU is best eaten with a minimum of cooking and overcooking results wag3in a very plain and boring meat. So the thought of slow cooking the osso buco in a classic Milanese preparation started to nag at me…but again, at the price paid, even a disaster wouldn’t be a disaster, if you get my drift…I defrosted the meat and prepped it by tying a string around the pieces. I noticed it was a bit watery and bits from the bone kind of made it look messy. I suspect the manner in which it was cut, aged and frozen was less than best practice. But again, the proof would be in the finished product, up next. If you would like to get some of this locally raised Wagyu, contact VIGER TRADING at 816-10-34 or 0922-846-7112, or check out their table at Salcedo Market on Saturdays. The most expensive cut is Tenderloin at PHP2,000 a kilo and the cheapest is the Osso Buco cut or shin at PHP275 a kilo. Oh, just the bonemarrow, great for baking with some salt and raising your cholesterol count by 50, is just PHP120 a kilo. And no, I have absolutely no relation to, or interest in, this company…I don’t even know who the owners are!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Kate says:

    Hi MM—that osso buco looks delectable. Lucky you for finding that Wagyu beef!

    After my daughter read the book, My Year of Meats, and living not too far from the feedlots with all those pitiful cows on steroids and hormones living in their own muck, I’ve taken to buying only organic beef from Niman Ranch, and infrequently at that. I miss the clan’s Sunday dinner tradition, nilagang baka with pechay, cauliflower, potatoes and occasionally, corn on the cob.

    According to chef Martin Yan in his Asia cookbook (about the only one I’ve seen by a foreigner that describes our country, cuisine and culture with a good measure of respect, appreciation and enthusiasm rather than the usual arrogance and dismissiveness or cluelessness), it is the even pricier Matsuzaka beef cattle that gets those daily massages. They not only wash down their yummy feed with beer, their handlers exercise them one at a time and spray them with sake! Yan says Matsuzaka beef costs $150 a lb. and up. He even has a photo trying his hand (or mouth) at spewing sake on a Matsuzaka cow but says he wasn’t very good at it—kept swallowing the sake. :-)

    Jun 12, 2006 | 10:25 am

     
  2. linda says:

    I can make a killer beef rendang by using shin beef.It’s actually my favourite cut of beef and I find it makes the best curries,stews,nilaga and is wicked in meat pies. It’s so versatile but, don’t tell everybody as the cow has only four legs,hahaha!

    Jun 12, 2006 | 2:22 pm

     
  3. tei says:

    check out the meat section of gaisano supermarket in market market. one of the stalls there sells beef from “pineapple-fed” cows from mindanao also. i tried the rib eye & porterhouse cuts and they did taste differently from the other local beef (i.e. batangas, etc), plus they are more tender. i learned that del monte raises these pineapple fed cows. makes sense.

    Jun 12, 2006 | 4:21 pm

     
  4. Crissy says:

    Hi! My family first discovered Wagyu Beef in Salcedo Weekend Market. Now, that’s the only place where we buy choice cuts for special occasions.

    Jun 13, 2006 | 8:38 am

     
  5. Wilson Cariaga says:

    waaaahhhh!!!! i need and want to go to Salcedo Market!!!!

    Jun 13, 2006 | 1:30 pm

     
  6. Clarisse Oben says:

    Hi! Would you have the contact details of the Wagyu beef supplier?

    Jun 13, 2006 | 6:11 pm

     
  7. Clarisse Oben says:

    Oops, sorry just found it going through your article again.

    Jun 13, 2006 | 6:13 pm

     
  8. lee says:

    wow… marrow!

    Jun 14, 2006 | 4:22 pm

     
  9. Adam Roettele says:

    hi my name is adam, i raise wagyu beef here in south dakota of the usa… it is a VERY great animal to raise. and i am looking to expand. if any questions shoot me an email keepmeposted2k1@yahoo.com

    Jun 16, 2006 | 7:57 pm

     
  10. relly says:

    MM, in case you never heard about this tip on cooking the osso bucco pcs… putting corse salt on both side of the cut osso bucco, prevents the “utak” as we call from coming out.
    I still miss the taste and smell of the beef from Pinas…

    Jun 19, 2006 | 10:49 pm

     
  11. Paul Hogg says:

    Hi:

    I’m an American now living in Mindanao in the Philippines. I enjoyed Waygu beef when living in the states, but can’t find a supplier here. Am surprised to learn that it is being raised in Mindanao. Can anyone tell me what area of Mindanao?
    TX

    Jun 21, 2006 | 12:20 pm

     
  12. Marketman says:

    Paul, I’m not sure where in Mindanao they are raising the wagyu but I know at least 2-3 folks are doing it. I would have guessed Cagayan but I am not certain. If you call the supplier listed in the post up top, he will probably tell you where. The other folks who raised at private haciendas and the owners are raising them pretty much as an experiment thus far…

    Jun 22, 2006 | 1:28 pm

     
  13. Ped Ant says:

    Adam of South Dakota USA,

    May I ask why it is that every American needs to suffix the name of their city and state with “USA”? Is it to impress the rest of the world that they know at least three letters of the alphabet?

    As a non-American, I am occasionally bemused by your compatriots’ penchant for belting out their residence down to it’s state, country, latitudes, and even soil content. For instance, “Hi y’all, I’m Joe Billy-Bob Bubba Huntington IV from Bumfcuk, South Carolina, You-Ass-Aye!”

    I cannot think of another nation that has either a province or a state named South Dakota unless the Argentines have chosen it on the basis of syllabic-count having tired of calling their southern regions Patagonia. Then too, we must thank god/Ra/allah/Quetzalcoatl/Hendrix for your geographic thoroughness, as we’re never again about to mistake your state for a viloyati in Uzbekistan.

    Pedro Antonio
    Quezon City, Metro Manila, Luzon Island, Philippines, Northern Hemisphere, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe.

    Jan 30, 2007 | 6:01 pm

     
  14. Louie bonifacio says:

    hello. what time does the salcedo market open? thanks

    Mar 18, 2008 | 4:51 pm

     
  15. len says:

    hi… Wagyu beef tastes awesome! THe beef if being grown in Umalag Farms in bukidnon, owned by the Ramcar Group of Companies, which i am working for, with sister companies like KFC, Mister Donut and MOtolite. Its head office is located here in Ramcar Center, Roces Ave, Dil, QC.

    Wagyu beef of different cuts are being sold here in our office to the employees. They also supply to different restaurants here in manila. If you want to buy, they also sell at selcedo Market on saturdays. Though I have only tried the burger patties hich ich costs P390/kg, man! it’s worth it! It’s the best-tasting burger iv ever had!

    sukiyaki cut – 400/kg
    burger patties – 390/kg
    rib-eye – 2,900/kg
    tenderloin – 2,500/kg
    others ( i forgot)

    Try it!!

    Jun 27, 2008 | 10:04 am

     
  16. Marc says:

    Hi, would like to know how I can get in touch with Umalag Farms. Actually, I am looking for suppliers of beef tenderloin and got a bit curious about wagyu beef. If you can please give me the contact number, contact person and address of Umalag Farms, I would like to become one of their regular buyers. Thanks

    Jun 28, 2008 | 10:07 pm

     
  17. jason says:

    Hi. len, would it be alright for you to take orders for wagyu meat? I mean, you wouldn’t get into trouble. I live in qc. It is quite hard for me to go to makati. Just a thought. thanks.

    Jul 2, 2008 | 9:39 pm

     
  18. rafa says:

    sir,

    your curiosity was PIQUED, not peaked.
    and it’s ‘WA’ for japan and ‘GYU’ for cattle.

    otherwise, good article. that salcedo market is a killer find.

    Sep 6, 2008 | 9:43 pm

     
  19. Marketman says:

    rafa, thanks for catching that, post has been revised. I have several other posts on both the salcedo market and wagyu or WA GYU beef in the archives…

    Sep 7, 2008 | 6:47 am

     
  20. allan a cueva says:

    Umalag Farms is now more regularly slaughtering wagyu cattle and its meatshop on pasong tamo, across makati cinema square will soon commence operations. Beef marbling grades have have consistently been ranging from 5 to 8. This domestic wagyu beef is now available at Malcolm’s, H. dela Costa, Makati, and on weekends at Salcedo Village and along Temple Drive, Corinthian Hills, Quezon City. For inquiries, call 3701052, 3701056 or 09209043410.

    Sep 24, 2008 | 11:48 am

     
  21. Dennis says:

    “Ped Ant says:

    Adam of South Dakota USA,

    May I ask why it is that every American needs to suffix the name of their city and state with “USA”? Is it to impress the rest of the world that they know at least three letters of the alphabet?

    As a non-American, I am occasionally bemused by your compatriots’ penchant for belting out their residence down to it’s state, country, latitudes, and even soil content. For instance, “Hi y’all, I’m Joe Billy-Bob Bubba Huntington IV from Bumfcuk, South Carolina, You-Ass-Aye!”

    I cannot think of another nation that has either a province or a state named South Dakota unless the Argentines have chosen it on the basis of syllabic-count having tired of calling their southern regions Patagonia. Then too, we must thank god/Ra/allah/Quetzalcoatl/Hendrix for your geographic thoroughness, as we’re never again about to mistake your state for a viloyati in Uzbekistan.

    Pedro Antonio
    Quezon City, Metro Manila, Luzon Island, Philippines, Northern Hemisphere, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe. ”

    And your problem is? – your dumb off-topic response is just slightly more moronic than this response. Have a good day.

    Dec 17, 2008 | 1:29 pm

     
  22. paula says:

    how would i get started raising kobe beef,, can anyone will
    raise kobe beef

    Feb 6, 2009 | 2:28 pm

     
  23. i b o i says:

    May I remind you that the wagyus they sell in Salcedo is a fake Wagyu. Wagyus are imported straight from Japan and raised in Japan in places like Kobe, Mishima, Tajima inside the Hyogo Prefecture. And also, I wish to correct you.. It is not WAG for japanese and YU for cattle, It is “WA” for Japanese and “GYU” for cattle okay? Don’t give the readers or the visitors of this site incorrect information. Lastly, Japanese are passionate in everything they do.. they DID NOT cross bred the Wagyu from any european beef or any US Prime beef. It is the Americans that crossed the WAGYU from an ANGUS which the Japanese people recognizes. The Japanese even buy the cross ANGUS-WAGYU beef that comes from the U.S. But never they did get another breed to breed their own cattle. A disgrace to the Japanese people.

    Feb 7, 2009 | 11:53 pm

     
  24. Marketman says:

    Iboi, as long as the meat comes from a Wagyu breed of cattle, it is in fact wagyu. Just because that cattle happen to live in Cagayan, Montana or the outback of Australia does not make it fake WAGYU. It isn’t KOBE Beef, but it is still wagyu. If you follow the link provided above, and another one, here, they do assert that the Japanese cross-bred their Asian stock with European stocks in the late 1800′s until 1910, so I wouldn’t be so certain that you are correct either. I am also wondering if you are so certain that the Japanese invented tempura as they did not. Frying with batter was introduced to them by the Portuguese many hundreds of years ago. Thank you for the correction on the WA GYU as opposed to WAG YU. I would appreciate it if you could site credible sources of your assertion that the Japanese NEVER cross-bred their cattle so I may read up on it. In the same manner that sparkling wine grown, made and bottled outside the champagne region CANNOT be referred to as champagne, it is a very similar product and can be brilliant from the vineyards of New Zealand, California or Spain. So you may only drink champagne and eat Kobe beef, but I would happily swill sparkling wine and eat non-Japanese grown wagyu if it tasted very good and was good value to boot. Oh, and by your same train of thought, then the Japanese don’t make any brilliant chocolate at all since it is not NATIVE to their environment… dumb logic indeed, as they have some pretty good chocolate. And finally, while we are at it, why don’t you look up Kurobota pork, that fabulously fatty and now rather famous type of “Japanese” pork, whose original stock of pigs came from England… so should we say the kurobota is fake because its ancestors are European??? Get a grip.

    Feb 8, 2009 | 6:36 am

     
  25. adette says:

    ’twas indeed a wonderful xperience having tasted d same qlty of meat here n mindanao…luv it….”wagyu”…d perfect marbling ndeed!………..hmmmmmnnnnnnn…..mouth watery…..luscious….

    Apr 14, 2009 | 12:53 pm

     
  26. GORDON LIGHT says:

    i WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SOME IN ALABAMA USA

    May 23, 2009 | 7:37 am

     
  27. allan a cueva says:

    The Mt. Kita Wagyu Meatshop now operates on Pasong Tamo St. in Makati, right across Makati Cinema Square. We encourage those interested to visit the shop in order to see all the available wagyu cuts from the neck, the loins and all the way to the delicious tail! The shop also has wagyu hamburger patties that are ready for grilling.

    Jun 24, 2009 | 9:49 am

     
  28. doverdoods says:

    does anyone knows where to buy a stock of wagyu cattle? im interested to raise it together with my saanen goats

    Aug 2, 2009 | 9:42 am

     
 

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