Food: Miyazaki beef sizzles at The Olive

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 5, 2018.

Mustaffa introducing the Miyazaki wagyu to invited guests before slicing through an entire shoulder on a carving board. (Inset) The Olive is the only official Miyazaki outlet in Malaysia.

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HIS knife sliced effortlessly through an entire Miyazaki wagyu shoulder on a carving board. It is a testament to the tenderness of the beef, revealing a beautifully marbled interior.

Mustaffa Othman then proceeded to sculpture it into individual chunks. Agroland Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s master butcher held the fort at a special event — at Resorts World Genting’s The Olive — to introduce the Miyazaki wagyu to invited guests.

The Olive, a continental dining spot, is said to be the first in Malaysia to offer the Miyazaki wagyu, which emerged the champion at Japan’s Wagyu Olympics for three consecutive tournaments since 2007.

The precious delicacy, from the Miyazaki prefecture on Kyushu island, is held in higher esteem than the Kobe wagyu. It is known to be exceptional, and the Nakanishi-grade Miyazaki wagyu — farmed from cattle born and bred at the farm, and not purchased from other farms — is touted as even more precious. The Miyazaki wagyu is sourced from the Nishinoharu farm and is of the farm’s top Nakanishi grade.

Also present at the event were the farm’s owner Norihto Nakanishi, also the son of the man who created Kobe wagyu, and Ryo Onda, the brand owner of Nakanishi Gyu Premium. They were seen nodding approvingly as the huge shoulder was quickly sliced into tantalising portions.

As he sliced the meat, Mustaffa talked about the difference between normal beef and Japanese wagyu.

Wagyu is the general term for beef from the four traditional Japanese cattle breeds, genetically predisposed to contain a higher percentage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and an intense marbling, yielding a delicious, tender yet healthy meat popular worldwide.

The wagyu’s value depends on the terroir — a combination of the environment, weather, feed and cattle strain — which leads it to be identified by the production region, in the same way connoisseurs would refer to, say, French wine from the Côtes du Rhône region or the Saint Julien appellation in Bordeaux.

The most recognisable wagyu internationally is the so-called Sandai Wagyu (Three Great Wagyu) farmed in the Kansai prefecture, specifically from the Kobe, Matsusaka and Ohmi regions.

However, as Mustaffa revealed the prized “gold bar” portion hidden deep within the shoulder, it was made known that the Miyazaki wagyu is now considered the gold standard in Japan.

With such superior quality, the Japanese wagyu can be consumed raw. Guests at the event mustered up the courage to try slivers of the beef — thicker than carpaccio and not minced like tartare — and raved about the meat melting on the tongue in a savoury, creamy way.

Some of the guests even enjoyed the meat lightly torched and sprinkled with sea salt.

The Olive has also been recognised as an “official Miyazaki restaurant” by the Miyazaki Wagyu Council — the only such restaurant locally and one of only a handful in the world.

The Miyazaki wagyu is part of the a la carte menu at RM450 net per 150gm.