InterContinental Hong Kong’s celebrated Steak House winebar + grill is currently showcasing exclusive  Matsusaka (Wagyu) beef from Japan.

One of the most famous types of beef in Japan, Matsusaka beef (松阪牛 Matsusaka-gyū ), also known as black-haired Wagyu or ‘Japanese Black’, is rarely exported outside of Japan.

Now through the end of November, The Steak House winebar + grill is one of the few places outside of Japan to serve Matsusaka beef.

Within Japan, Matsusaka beef is considered one of the three top brands (known as the three ‘big beefs’), along with Kobe beef and Ōmi (or Yonezawa) beef. Matsusaka beef is more popular in Japan than internationally, since this beef is rarely exported.  In fact, for years, it remained one of Japan’s best-kept secrets and delicacies due to the limited supply and high domestic demand. Only 25,000 cows are killed a year, making the meat both rare and expensive

About Matsusaka Beef

Matsusaka beef is produced from Tajima-ushi cattle which are mainly born in Hyōgo Prefecture of Japan (in the Matsusaka region of Mie).  The cattle are raised in the quiet and serene area surrounding Matsusaka between the Kumozu River to the north and Miyagawa River to the south.

The prime difference between Matsusaka beef (from Mie prefecture) and Kobe beef is that the meat from Matsusaka comes from female virgin cows only that are raised for almost three years, while Kobe meat comes from bullock or bulls which just two years old or younger. Perhaps it is these two factors that contribute to why beef connoisseurs say that Matsusaka beef has a more complex and developed flavour, when compared to Kobe beef.

The female Wagyu raised in Matsusaka are typically fed tofu and ground wheat. Like Kobe beef they receive massages, listen to classical music and are occasionally even given beer to enhance their appetite and to help them relax. Supposedly this pampering lifestyle helps to produce a finer quality beef, while also providing these special cattle a fine quality of life!

Matsusaka wagyu is known for its tenderness and signature marbled appearance, with a high fat-to-meat ratio. Japanese beef is actually graded on its marbled fat content. Beyond the highest grade of A5, there is another grading scale from 1 to 12 reserved for the very best of the best, in which Kobe beef scores  a six while  Matsusaka beef ranks around eight.  The white marbling patterns of Matsusaka beef are very thin fat layers, whereas Kobe beef tends to have fewer, but thicker fat layers. Matsusaka beef also has a stronger more robust beefy flavour when compared to Kobe beef.