Wagyu from lesser-known prefectures is making its way to more restaurants here.
Wagyu, whose production is so fanatically monitored, has always incited a game of one-upmanship. First, it was a contest among diners to try the rare certified Kobe beef in Singapore, followed by a battle between wagyu from Japan, America and Australia. Now, more restaurants are highlighting wagyu from prefectures beyond Kobe.
Take Ozaki wagyu (pictured). Manuharu Ozaki is the lone farmer who produces this lean and evenly marbled beef from his farm in Miyazaki prefecture. The cows are not massaged and played Mozart to, but the farmer adds charcoal and seaweed to their feed to keep them in prime health.
Diners here can get a taste of Ozaki wagyu at Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki in Tras Street, where the whole cow is imported and showcased head to tail. Think a beef tongue consomme, a three-kind wagyu sashimi moriawase, and a sliver of rump wrapped around botan ebi and sea urchin.
“Most wagyu, including Kobe, are slaughtered at 26 to 28 months. Ozaki cows, however, are slaughtered at 30 to 36 months so the flavour of the meat is more intense,” says head chef Nobuaki Hirohashi.
Here are three other places dishing out wagyu from different regions.
01 STANDARD MEASURE
Strict breeding standards ensure the top-rate quality of Saga wagyu, as do the fresh spring water and clean air in the eponymous prefecture where the black-haired Japanese cows are bred. At Fat Cow, the fine-grained marbled meat is grilled to medium doneness for a juicy slab. Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Boulevard. Tel: 6735-0308
02 BY THE GRAIN
The A5 Miyazaki beef brought in by Japanese gourmet grocer Emporium Shokuhin owes its cherry-red hue and buttery flesh to the year-round temperate climate in the Miyazaki prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu and a grains-only diet that benefits the cattle. The beef can be had at its dining concepts Takujo Japanese Dining and Gyuu+ Yakiniku Grill, while cuts like ribeye and sirloin are available for retail at the deli. #01-18 Marina Square. Tel: 6224-3433
03 SWISH AND FANCY
It’s all about the art of shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot) at Sakurazaka, where there’s the option to add a 100g serve of Joshu wagyu ribeye to your set dinner. Thanks to the green mountains and clear waters of Gunma prefecture where the Japanese black cattle are raised, the meat is generously marbled. Swish the thin slices in ago dashi (dried flying fish) broth that lends a mild sweetness to the cooked beef. 24 Greenwood Avenue. Tel: 6463-0333