I’ve never been fond of beef. I never understood why someone would want to eat an almost raw cow, with jokes such as “I want it so raw that I will be able to hear it moo.” But when I was offered to go to a Kobe beef dinner as a welcome party for me arriving in Japan, I could hardly refuse. If you haven’t heard of Kobe beef, it is supposedly some of the best beef in the world. The cows, raised in Kobe, Japan, are fed a special diet of Japanese beer and are massaged to give the meat the perfect consistency. I was actually told a story by a Japanese man who insists that the American basketball player, Kobe Bryant, was so named because his father loved Kobe beef so much!
The restaurant we arrived at for Kobe beef was a cook it yourself and all you can eat style. There were over 15 of us at the welcome party and so we split up into multiple tables, each with their own fire to grill the beef. The setting looked nice, but nothing extraordinarily fancy and nothing to indicate the magnificence of the meal that I was about to take part in.
The first course of beef was brought out on a huge cutting board, and sliced right in front of us. From there, the beef was placed on the grill so the flames could lick up the side of the beef.
Within just a few minutes, a pair of tongs had hoisted the biggest pieces of Kobe beef from the grill onto my plate and I stared at it in amazement. While it was barely cooked and dripping pink juices (which I have always thought of as blood even though that may not be true), the smell made my mouth water and watching everyone else take a bite of their own Kobe beef with such ecstasy convinced me to go ahead and see what all the fuss was about.
Boy do I know what the fuss is about now.
Not only did it change me to liking beef, but it was hands down the best meat I had ever had. Yes, even better than bacon. I never wanted to stop eating it. As each plate with more Kobe beef was brought out, we all found ourselves fighting over who could take the last piece. I tried almost every body part of the cow that is edible, from the shoulder to the stomach to the kidney to the tongue. The only part I didn’t like was the stomach because it was so soft and squishy no matter how long you cooked it for.
I ate and I ate and I drank and I ate. An hour in I knew I was full, but I also knew it may be ages before I ever get the opportunity to eat Kobe beef again, and so I continued to eat. Two hours in I started to feel sick because I had eaten so much food, but still I kept eating. It was only at the three hour point where I truly began turning away the beef, and thankfully that was when dinner was already wrapping up.
The trip home was brutal. I could not walk more than a shuffle without feeling sick from eating too much and the next morning I was still full and so didn’t eat breakfast, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing looking back on it. It completed one of my bucket list goals to try Kobe beef in Japan, and it lived up to every expectation I had been told! A truly once in a lifetime experience.