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Genuine wagyu beef from Japan can command prices of up to $50 for a mere 100g. But is it worth it?
For beef aficionados, there’s nothing quite like the taste and texture of real wagyu steak. The methods of production are intensive and expensive. And to find real Japanese wagyu in the west is a very rare thing indeed. So if you’ve got the money and the craving, why not indulge?
Whether it’s wagyu beef, abalone, caviar or black truffles, some people are prepared to spend a small fortune for a culinary treat. Otoro tuna is the wagyu of the seas. The heavily marbled fish is cut from the belly of the endangered bluefin tuna, and is highly prized for its creamy flavour and texture. People are prepared to pay a high price for the pleasure. So much so that earlier this year, a huge 754 pound bluefin tuna was sold at auction in Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market for a whopping $420,000.
But times are changing. In fine dining establishments around the world, exotic and expensive ingredients from far-flung places are being overlooked for high-quality, sustainable and locally sourced food.
You won’t find any wagyu steak at the restaurant that was voted the world’s best in the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Noma of Copenhagen shuns imported ingredients in favour of Danish seafood, locally grown vegetables and wild herbs that are foraged for in the surrounding wilderness.
Restaurants like Noma are driving a global trend for chefs to respect, promote and celebrate their local culinary heritage, rather than worship at the altar of FedEx. In the battle against carbon emissions, it could help to protect our environment. And we still get excellent food that doesn’t have to cost the earth.