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Why this wagyu steak costs Sh20,000 per kilo

February 25th, 2021 1 min read

A photo of a kilogram of meat retailing at Sh20,000 in Nairobi has gone viral on social media leaving many Kenyans wondering what is so special about the meat to make it so costly.

The particular meat is a special type of Japanese beef known as Wagyu, which is the most highly priced beef in the world.

In Kenya, Wagyu is rare.

Wagyu or Japanese beef has the same luxury status as caviar in the culinary world.

There was a time (Edo period) when Japan was pretty much isolated from the rest of the world, which ensured purity of Wagyu cow breeds, reared specifically for their supreme flavour.

Part of the reason for the high cost of Wagyu has to do with the breeding, and these cows are already prepositioned to have marbling depending on how they are reared.

There are four main cow breeds used for Wagyu production in Japan, namely Kuroge, Akage, Nihon Tankakon, and Mukaku.

Some cows are grain-fed for 400 days, others 550 days, and some 650 days.

Wagyu has intramuscular fat cells distributed evenly throughout their muscle, which makes it very tender.

It is considered high-end beef due to its exceptional marbling, superior tenderness and exquisite flavor.

The steak contains the highest amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) per gram of any foodstuff, which is about 30 percent more than other beef breeds.

Wagyu cows are usually raised by the breeder until they are 40 weeks old when they are sold to a fattening farm.

In the fattening farm, they are fed high-energy concentrate like rice, wheat, and hay, until they are 50 percent fat. These feeds are also expensive.

The Japanese government has tight regulations on the production of Wagyu to maintain its quality.