A photo of a kilogram of meat with a price tag written Ksh20,000 has been making rounds on social media with most asking why the piece of steak costs that much.
Kenyans.co.ke has established that the meat by the name Wagyu beef is a rare kind that originated from Japan.
In fact, the term Wagyu means ‘Japanese cow’ and has for years been ranked the most expensive beef in the world. A Wagyu cow can cost as much as Ksh3 million.
Wagyu refers to four main breeds -Kuroge, Akage, Nihon Tankakon and Mukaku, which are bred for physical endurance.The unique genetic feature is the fact that Wagyu has intramuscular fat cells. The fat is distributed more evenly throughout their muscle which makes it very tender.
Pieces of cooked wagyu steak
The steak is only sold in high-end butcheries in the country and a kilogram goes for Ksh20,000 while 300 grams go for Ksh7,800.
Experts explain that the piece of steak is graded on how much meat can be yielded from the cow and the quantity of marbling. The more the marble score, the more the flavour and the more the expense.
Often, the cows are raised by the breeder until they are 10 months old. After this, they are sold to a fattening farm.
Here, they are kept in small farms and fed high energy concentrate like rice, wheat and hay, until they are 50% fat. The foods fed to the animals are said to be very expensive, prompting to the high selling prices.
During his world tour, Australian Chef Chris Wade stated that the steak targeted high-end hotels with fine dining menus.
‘‘It’s a four-year process before the meat gets to the restaurant. I get the glory in cutting it, grilling and serving it to customers who can appreciate it for what it is,” Wade stated when he was introducing the meat to Kenya.
The Japanese government has tight regulations on the production of Wagyu to maintain its quality and exclusiveness to the Asian nation.
It is not allowed to leave Japan and the only breeds available outside of Japan were allowed out by a mistake in the early 80s. At the time, six cows were led out to the US and when the female, thought to be infertile, got pregnant, the genetics were bought and taken to Australia.
“We have a very high-end Asian clientele in Melbourne who appreciate and pay top dollar for the best. I like to use the analogy—some people drive a Ferrari and some drive a Datsun. I serve both to cater for everyone,” Chef Wade added.
Australian Chef Chris Wade at the Sarova Whitesands Beach resort