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Saturday, February 28, 2015


I'm monthly sent a Marukai membership newsletter.  From February 24 to March 2 they are featuring a Kyushu Fair.  What caught my attention was:

Miyazaki Wagyu feef cattle, raised in Miyazaki Prefecture (near Kagoshima--I'm familiar with Miyazaki because I now and then stay at the Ocean Resort there), have won various awards... including the most honored "National Wagyu Award," which is presented to the best beef cattle once every five years.

In short, their Miyazaki Gyu is superior to all, has a reputation for quality in taste and texture, and was the first Japanese beef to be exported to the US.  Although high in fat content, it is unsaturated, with exceptional flavor.  NO PRICE WAS QUOTED!

Remember, the best Japanese beef in the basement markets of Japanese department stores such as Mitsukoshi sell beef or $200/pound (only because the Japanese yen has fallen--this photo was taken when the yen was just below 100/$, making the price $250/pound).  I was curious what they would be charging here in Hawaii.  So I went to Marukai at Ala Moana and found out that you need to to show up when the product is made available.  And it was uncertain when they would appear, for it comes from the main store on Dillingham.  So I showed up soon after 8AM (when the store opens) yesterday at the main market, found my way to where this meat was sold, and they were all gone, at 8:12 AM.  But an old man was holding the final package, and seemed concerned about the price, so asked me if I wanted it, so I grabbed it and practically ran to check out before he changed his mind.

It says Kagoshima wagyu beef, but Miyazaki is adjacent and this had to be the authentic version.  As you can see, the price is $57/pound, a true bargain compared to $200/pound.  I added to the 1/2 pound steak some fresh shiitake mushrooms from Japan.

I cooked a Niigata rice and opened a bottle of Robert Mondavi 18-year old wine.  Why I still had it is a mystery because this is a cheap wine costing way less than $10/bottle.  
But I filtered it and poured into a decanter.  It was exquisite, if not fabulous:

Thus, if you have the time and space, consider storing some inexpensive bottles. That's my wine cellar to the left, keeping whites at 50 F and reds at 60 F.

I also splurged on some high quality yellow fin tuna for sashimi.  I might add that I had breakfast this morning, went to Marukai, came home,  then went golfing at the Ala Wai Golf Course.  

I walked all 18 holes, missed lunch, and by 5PM was very, very hungry.  Yet, my blood pressure measured 136/74, extremely low under these conditions.  At this stage of hunger I manytimes find myself as high as 180/100.  (An hour after dinner, my pressure dropped to 103/60, indicating that walking on a golf course must be good for my health.)  I'm standing next to Pearl's Gold Tree at the 17th tee.  Anyway, here was my lanai meal:

Perhaps because of the enhanced anticipation, but the steak was the best I've ever had in my life.

Maybe my most memorable steak was more than a quarter century ago at Trail Dust in Denver:

I tried, and could not finish, their 50 ounce porterhouse (Bull Shipper), for $18.99, which came with all the trimmings and free red wine.  Mind you, this was memorable, not tasty, but okay.

You never heard of the top 50 steakhouses in America, #1 being Cut (left, Four Seasons) in Beverly Hills, California.  No Ruth's Chris, Morton's or Hy's.  New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Las Vegas seem to dominate the lists.  I've been to many of them, but the taste of U.S. beef cannot match the best wagyu from Japan.  A close #2 might have been two Matsusaka beef experiences.  For two nights in a row I had that steak at the Four Seasons in Chiang Mai.  In Matsusaka, the mayor of the adjacent town took me to a barbecue restaurant featuring their steak.  Omni beef is also excellent, Kobe seems absent from the the top, and Miyazaki is mentioned as the second largest producer.  

Japanese cows are said to live an emperor's life, which is why they produce the fattest and most succulent flesh in the world. Every cattle farmer in Japan has his own method of indulging their cows, from secret blends of soybeans, tofu byproduct or sake mash in the feed; mineral water to drink; and daily walks and supposed beer massages to encourage fat distribution. Some even play classical music to relax the animals, while making sure they receive plenty of time in the sun.

This quote also goes on to say that Kagoshima (Miyazaki) beef is the highest exported from Japan.  So, Marukai's ad was accurate.  Interesting that Kobe beef is all male, while Matsusaka is all female.  Anyway, my 15 Craigside lanai steak yesterday was the best I've ever enjoyed in my life.



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