What is wagyu?

The name ‘WAGYU’ refers to all Japanese beef cattle, where ‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow. According to what is listed on Wikipedia,

Wagyu (和牛Wagyū?, “Japanese cow”) is any of several breeds of cattle, the most desired of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of oleaginousunsaturated fat. The meat from such wagyu cattle is known for its quality, and commands a high price. In several areas of Japan, wagyu beef is shipped carrying area names. Some examples are Kobe, Mishima, Matsusaka, Kuchinoshima, Ōmi, and Sanda beef.

Mostly commonly found in menus here in Malaysia especially places where they serve steak. Of course you would also find it in Japanese Restaurants around the country.


But do not be confused as the term “wagyu” has been used extremely loosely. Various countries have started cross breeding wagyu with local cows and then calling it variant of “wagyu”.

Here is a short video to explain about “wagyu”, courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Some countries such as Australia and the US have imported Japanese cattle for local consumption. You can find out more about the history here.

Wagyu known for being high quality meat with high amounts of marbling, there are many various grades available out there and what separates the good and the best is mostly to do with the amount of marbling.


At the moment now, consumers need to understand that there are various grades of wagyu as well as where these meat come from, whether it is direct from Japan, Australia, US or other countries. Top grade meat still comes from Japan and one of the best is also known as “Kobe beef”, basically wagyu from the region of Kobe.

I shall save that for another post.

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