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Sukiyaki is a popular way of serving wagyu in Japan. (Photo by Nobuyoshi Shioda)
The Big Story

Japanese beef is gaining fans abroad, but are they eating it wrong?

To bring out the best of wagyu, experts suggest thin slices rather than thick slabs

WATARU SUZUKI, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Wagyu is gaining a following far beyond Japan, but diners in the West may be missing out on the best of its flavor. This premium beef, it turns out, is not really cut out for steaks.

In the Japanese grading system, the level of marbling -- the intramuscular fat that gives wagyu its silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture -- is the single most important metric in determining the quality and ultimately the price of the meat. That is why the Japanese Black species of cattle is used for nearly all of the wagyu produced in Japan, according to Kenji Yamamoto, president of Tokyo-based agricultural consultancy Goodtables.

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