If you want the best steak you’ll ever have in life, it’s time to book a flight to Kobe, Japan. I am a steak lover so it would be unheard of if I didn’t try the world’s famous Kobe beef steak. As part of our visit to Kobe City University and our Kobe city tour, the Kobe beef dinner was optional. But to Dr. C’s surprise, everyone in the group was willing to dish out money and try the steak. My excitement to try it was through the roof, while my wallet was probably crying.
As said from the Wikipedia website, “Kobe beef refers to cuts of beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle, raised according to strict tradition in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. The meat is generally considered to be a delicacy, renowned for its flavour, tenderness, and fatty, well-marbled texture. Kobe beef can be prepared as steak, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, sashimi, teppanyaki and more.” It is said that farmers higher workers to massage the cows backsides to improve the meat quality. If that’s not high-class then I don’t know what is.
They cook the steaks on these metal plates and covered with onions. They place the metal plates on a grill and cook on an open fire, while the chef sprays a liquid to increase the fire for cooking. When they serve the meal it is so hot and spewing oils, so they give you a full body bib for safety.
Usually when eating steak, you expect for there to be a fork and a steak knife. Not here, all you need are CHOPSTICKS. Yes, chopsticks, the meat is so juicy, so tender, that you can cut and eat with chopsticks. When I tell you that it was the BEST STEAK OF MY LIFE, I mean it (and it was cooked medium well). No extra seasoning, no A1 sauce, no nothing it was fine just the way it was, and that’s how a steak should be. And worth every cent of yen I spent.
Now in America, I’ve had my share of not so expensive steak to top tier expensive steaks, and none have compared. Either they need seasonings, or A1 sauce, or the meat was too tough to chew. I honestly can say that when visiting again (in the future), I will have another bite or three.
While in Japan there is a new culture, new language, new people and new food. And In Japan I was open to try just about anything once because it’s an experience of a lifetime. While in Hiroshima, Dr. C. explained to us we would be trying something called a “Japanese Pancake.” I was hungry, and excited to try something new.
We walked up to a small restaurant with bar-style seating, with just enough to fit the whole crew. You sit facing the cook and a huge iron table, and you watch him make your meal.
The correct term for the meal is Okonomiyaki (O-ko-no-mi-ya-ki). From readings, there are two main cities to make the dish, Osaka and Hiroshima. And these two cities make the dish in different ways, we had the Hiroshima way.
We sat down and they gave us a menu; the menu from what I remember serves only the pancake, but it comes in different varieties. You can have the plain pancake with the usual, or you can add items like cheese, squid or shrimp, maybe even octopus.
Most of the student ordered the regular okonomiyaki, which consist of the pancake, chopped cabbage, yakisoba noodles, thinly-sliced pork, an egg and the special okonomiyaki sauce. I ordered one of their specials which added squid and green onions to the meal, I would have tried the shrimp also, but it cost a little more.
To make the dish they start by cooking the “pancake”, and then add of a heaping pile of shredded cabbage.
Third, they put on the layers of meat depending on what you ordered. Aside from the pancake and cabbage, the chef begins to cook the yakisoba noodles.
Next, he cracks a egg and fries it on the iron table. After the egg is cooked the pancake and cabbage are flipped over and placed on top of the egg.
Last, it receives a spread of okonomiyaki sauce (like a Worcestershire sauce and barbeque sauce together) with seasonings and mine was topped with green onions.
Hands down, the best and my favorite meal in Japan, I cannot wait to visit and eat this again and try the Osaka version.
I have flown in airplanes before and it’s nothing new to me. I’ve had short 45 minute flights to my longest four hour flight to Las Vegas. But this flight to Japan would be my longest at 13 hours, I didn’t know what to expect or if it would actually feel like half a day has passes. For the most part it was a smooth ride (of course we hit some turbulence); it actually felt like about 7 hours instead of the full 13. Throughout the most of it I either slept or was eating what they gave me.
We had about three meals. The first meal was a sliced beef with rice and veggies, shrimp with cocktail sauce, salad, bread and O.J. Then we had a mid-flight meal/snack which consisted of a mini turkey sub, an apple, milano cookies, and water. The last meal before we landed was fruit, bread and butter, O.J., and shrimp fried rice. The meals were pretty good and I slept very well on the plane, it was time for landing.
Landing in Japan it didn’t quite hit me yet that I have finally made it to a country I’ve been trying to visit for I don’t know how long. *crosses item off bucket list* First stop was to pick up luggage, next we went through customs. It was easier than I thought. On the plane they had given out dismemberment papers in which I had already filled out. They have you step up to the counter and they take your finger prints and a picture of you. After that they give you a visa and you’re on your way, you can officially enter the country of Japan. After going through customs I finally met up with Dr. C. and the rest of the study abroad student. It was time to travel to our first hotel, Hotel Asia Center of Japan.
Traveling from the Narita airport to the hotel will be one experience I will never forget. The trip took about three hours and there was a lot of fast movement and STAIRS. And boy where there stairs, mixed with I didn’t know where I was going or when it would end, I would have the biggest woman biceps by the end of the night. Fast forwarded and we make it to the hotel, thank gosh cause I was dying if heat, thirst and rest. We got our room assignments, made it up to the rooms; I took a quick shower, changed and was ready for my first night in Japan.