By Markham Heid
Photographs by Christopher Testani

Most steaks touted on menus as Wagyu aren’t authentic. Save your money

Restaurants and online-order outlets charge wallet-draining sums for cuts billed as “Wagyu” or “Kobe” beef. But if you think you’re getting the intricately marbled meat that Japan made famous, you’re kidding yourself, says Larry Olmsted, author of Real Food, Fake Food. In SA supermarkets, “Wagyu” refers to cattle breeds that are 46.9% (minimum) Japanese Wagyu. The term “Wagyu” is not an indicator of marbling or quality, Olmsted says. But restaurants don’t have to meet this minimal standard for Wagyu DNA. Most don’t sell true Japanese Wagyu, and when it comes to Kobe beef, only a handful restaurants in the entire country is certified to import and sell true Japanese Kobe. Everyone else is slapping a hot marketing term on questionable steak – and charging you a hefty sucker’s fee.

Focus on fat
Wagyu steaks have rich intramuscular marbling. Translation: DROOOOOOOL.

Find Wagyu Beef
These four local spots serve it. For others, contact the Wagyu Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa at wagyu-sa.co.za

1. Woodview Wagyu
Arlington, FS
Serves: Steaks, ribs, biltong and burgers
Contact: accounts@wagyu.co.za

2. Braeside Butchery
Randburg, GP
Serves: Free-range, grass-fed beef
Contact: braeside-butchery.co.za

3. Frankie Fenner
CBD, Cape Town
Serves: Ethically sourced patties
Contact: ffmm.co.za for order list

4. Oak Valley Gourmet Meats

Elgin, WC
Serves: Cuts vary
Contact: mail@oak-valley.co.za