Mouthing 'OMG' while Feasting on Ōmi Beef—a Popular Wagyu Beef in Japan

A trip to Shiga prefecture in the Kansai district of Japan won’t be complete until you roll your tongue on the mouthwatering Ōmi beef the region is known for. Billed as one of the top three kinds of Wagyu beef in Japan—along with Matsusaka beef and Kobe beef—Ōmi beef is also considered as the oldest beef brand in Japan. Accordingly, Omi Beef is sourced from the Japanese Black (Kuroge Washu) beef cattle breed that make up for over 90% of all Wagyu raised in Japan.

Too many beef in one paragraph? Beats me as I don't have a beef with anyone raving about the fine taste of Ōmi beef. But first, what is a Wagyu Beef?

Japan’s Wagyu Beef

Known for having a very fine marbling, the Wagyu represent any of Japan's four breeds of beef cattle namely: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn and Japanese Polled. The more popular Kobe Beef is sourced from the Tajima strain of the Japanese black cattle and is named after the city of Kobe in the Prefecture of Hyōgo where it is produced.  Together with the Ōmi beef and Matsusaka beef, the trio forms the country's "Sandai Wagyu" or the "the big three beefs".

Other countries that are also known to breed Wagyu beef cattle are Australia, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Ōmi beef feast at Jiku Kappo Sara

After a fun yet tiring day touring the city of Kyoto, we went to Jiku Kappo Sara restaurant in the neighboring city of Yasu-Shi for a taste of the Ōmi beef. Here, they served as with a Japanese platter of Tempura, vegetables, Sushi, Omi-rice, Sashimi, Miso soup, Chawanmushi and the star of the night: several thick slices of Ōmi beef.

While in the middle of devouring our plates, the head chef briefly explained to us the process of preparing Ōmi beef.

He mentioned the expression "tema-hima", which according to our guide who served as the translator, means "time and effort". Just like other Wagyu beefs of Japan, the Ōmi beef is the product of the greatest quality of time and effort put by cattle ranchers for it it to be certified with an A5 Rank.

An A5 rank is the highest classification of beef in Japan. It signify meeting the standard apex for tenderness, firmness, texture and taste.

Simply put, the beef I'm about to put inside our mouths isn't nowhere near the quality of beef I've eaten in the past. Although I've yet to taste the other popular Wagyu brands of Japan: Kobe and Matsusaka, the slices of Ōmi beef in front of me is starting to give me a gastronomic orgasm. 

Also laid out on our table are small circular-shaped burner grills for us to cook our own Ōmi beef—where I had mine cooked to medium rare (well, I tried as I overcooked a few). Afterward, I made sure to slowly chow down each slice of the Ōmi beef inside my mouth to fully enjoy its delicate flavor and the juicy texture of its fine fat marbling.

Paired with Sapporo Yebisu Beer, every grind and gnaw of my mouth felt and tasted heavenly until every bit melted in my mouth with an indescribable good flavor.

Filled to the brim, happy conversations, a cooking demonstration and sweet dessert followed until we all went home to our hotel happy.

The rest of my Japan series

Jiku Kappo Sara Restaurant
Address: 940 Koshinohara, Yasu-Shi, Shiga-Ken, Japan

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