While both Wagyu and Kobe beef come from Japan, there is slight a difference between them, and it’s tricky.
If we are to get technical about it, Wagyu translates to Japanese cattle, meaning that any type of beef or cattle originating from Japan is called Wagyu beef. Japanese cattle owes its superiority to crossbreeding with European cattle in the late-1800s.
What makes Wagyu cattle stand out from other types of beef around the world, is its genetic predisposition, which gives its beef a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than regular beef.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) September 18, 2018
There are four breeds of Japanese wagyu: the Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn.
But then what is Kobe beef? Since it is a type of beef which also originates in Japan, it is a type of Wagyu. But as explained earlier, not every Wagyu steak is Kobe.
Loved around the world for its flavor, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture, is meat from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle. This type of cattle is raised particularly in Japan’s Hyōgo Prefecture, in a manner that is compliant with rules set by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association.
— The Life Pile (@thelifepile) September 14, 2018
In other parts of the world, and due to lack of proper regulations, farmers market their beef as Kobe despite it not being true Kobe. In the US for example, Wagyu cattle is crossbred with local Black Angus cattle and is then labeled as Kobe. although the meat is tasty and tender, it does not live up to the high expectations of true Kobe.
There you have it. Now you know your meats. Next time you’re at a steakhouse, you’ll know exactly what to ask and what to order.