Kobe Beef is probably the most well known and the highest quality beef in the world. Whenever Japan welcomes national guests, Kobe beef is almost guaranteed to be on the menu. It’s a fairly famous story that when President Obama visited in 2009, the food he wanted to eat was Kobe Beef.
Raised in an environment rich with clean water and greenery, with strict isolation of the species, these top quality Tajima Cattle have inherited the traits to have the best quality meat in the world. Kobe beef refers to top quality Tajima beef. Kobe beef became famous worldwide when foreign visitors that lived in the current Old Foreign Residences talked about the quality of beef in Kobe. Today, the quality of beef is graded using 5 point scale which measures its marbling index, meat texture, firmness, proportion of edible parts, and more. Only Tajima beef that passes all these criteria can be called Kobe beef.
※Marbling Index…Index used to determine the amount of fat that’s in the beef. Called sashi in Japanese.
Kobe beef is known for its tender meat. The fat melts in your mouth, giving it its unique sweet flavor. Beef with sashi becomes even softer and fatty part melts away when grilled, so steak, BBQ, or shabu-shabu style is recommended. It’s so tender that you can even enjoy it raw, sashimi style.
The perfect harmony of red meat and fat makes even the most sophisticated gourmets wanting for more. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must give it a try. You have never had anything like it.
American professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant was named after Kobe beef. When his parents visited Japan and they had Kobe beef, they were so amazed that they named their son after it.
People of Kansai are known for their passion for food, and many of them visit the Tajima region in the northern part of Hyogo to enjoy their famous Matsuba crab. Although this region has the highest catch in Japan, Matsuba crabs’ fishing season starts after November 6, so it is a rare delicacy. If you’re in town during the season, Matsuba crab is a must-have.
The Tajima region in Hyogo is a part of the San’in region, stretching from Shimane prefecture to Kyoto prefecture. This region faces the Sea of Japan. Crabs that are caught in the Sea of Japan are called Zuwai crabs, and the male Zuwai crabs are called Matsuba crabs. There are many hypotheses for the origin of its name:
- 1. Because their long and skinny legs resemble Matsuba, or pine leaves.
- 2. When their meat is dipped into water, it spreads like pine leaves.
- 3. Pine leaves were used when the crabs were cooked.
The sweet, rich flavor of Matsuba crab makes it one of the most popular foods during winter. The Tajima region’s Matsuba crabs are boiled at the port while they’re still fresh to keep the flavor in the meat. This process is called hamayude. Once you try the meat of these crabs, it will make you want to come back for more.
There are many ways to enjoy Matsuba crab. If they’re fresh, you can eat them raw, sashimi style. The dish is called kanisashi. Also, kanishabu and kanisuki, dishes using hot pot, are very popular, as well as tempura, and crabs cooked in rice porridge. With so many ways to enjoy this amazing crab, it will definitely keep you satisfied.
In Shinonsen-cho, they’ve created the Crab Connoisseur Exam. Taken by owners of hotels and inns, as well as their workers, crab connoisseurs can share knowledge about crabs to guests and promote their Matsuba crab. They’ll teach you everything you need to know about enjoying Matsuba crab to its fullest.