I can’t believe my eyes…

Way back in the 80’s, before my girl came along, my missus and I went on a tour to the countries in the Far East – Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. One of the places we went to in Japan was Kobe and we were told that we must not miss eating their Kobe beef – they said it was so very nice, so very tender and came from cows fed with beer! It was not cheap, of course, but we tried, anyway, though I do not recall it sweeping us off our feet.

There also seems to be a lot of excitement around about angus beef too (often misspelt, it seems). They have that here

Bistecca & Bistro sign
*2014 photo*

…still, I think but I have never ordered that as it does not come cheap – this small piece of air-flown Australian beef sirloin with truffle pumpkin mash…

Beef sirloin

…that I had at another place, since-closed-down was a whooping RM42.90 and it wasn’t even angus! Thankfully, that was a special treat from a friend.

Then, wagyu came along and took the world by storm but I read somewhere that it is actually Kobe beef, nothing new! They were selling it at this since-closed-down supermarket

Country Grocer wagyu beef

…for RM60-RM80 a piece, palm size. Shudders!!! Of course, I did not buy any to try, no, thank you!

That was why I couldn’t believe my eyes that morning when I saw these…

Wagyu beef

…at the supermarket (that sells a whole lot of imported stuff) where I got my butter. A pack of two huge slabs selling for between RM20 and RM28.00, is unbelievably cheap! One slab is only RM10-RM14, around what you would have to pay at a coffee shop stall or one of those cheaper cafés and it is not even some very nice beef, dry and hard, as tough as leather and more often than not, drowned with bottled black pepper sauce, not something I would enjoy.

I shared the above photograph on Facebook and somebody commented that it did not look anything like wagyu. “Oh?” I responded, “No streaks of fat?” but he never replied after that. I went and goggled and got this…

Wagyu beef varieties

The one on the extreme right with those streaks of fat is UK’s WagyuFortnum’s Japanese wagyu, the middle one is purebred wagyu from Earl Stonham, also in the UK and the one on the left is crossbred from Ifor Welsh’s wagyu. I guess the Australian ones are more like the latter.

Of course I was thrilled and I quickly grabbed a few packs and headed home. That was on Saturday, May 16th – Teachers’ Day and I told my girl we would have that for lunch the next day. She asked if we could invite my sister to join us and I said, “Of course!” She contacted her and when she asked what the occasion was, my girl told her that it was to celebrate Teachers’ Day. LOL!!!

My missus did most of the cooking (except the mashed potatoes – my girl did that) and she read somewhere that the meat must be defrosted in the vacuum pack and must not be taken out till it was time to cook it. Normally, we would defrost any meat and marinate for a while before cooking. Well, that was what she did, just simply rubbed salt and pepper and some herbs (rosemary), no marinating, and pan-grilled the slabs with cloves of garlic in butter…

Pan-grilled Aussie wagyu

No, we’re no beef connoisseurs and did not bother about all that rare, medium rare and well done hoo-ha. My missus would never touch meat that is still red, not fully cooked and we were fine with it being well done…

Aussie wagyu, well done

When I had my first bite, I was stunned. It was so very nice, tender enough and the taste was absolutely out of this world – not quite like beef like I’ve always known it to taste like. Never mind even if it was like what that guy said – it did not look anything like wagyu, it was so so so delicious!

We had this mushroom soup…

Mushroom soup

…that my missus cooked as well and I bought these garlic buns…

Garlic buns

…from one of the bakeries in town.

My sister stopped by that same supermarket on the way to our house to buy this…

Ice cream

…which we had for dessert. It tastes like those fresh strawberry ice cream in New Zealand or Cameron Highlands, nothing like the regular supermarket strawberry ones…and this one is yogurt ice cream so it is on the sourish side. The ladies loved it!

After that most delightful lunch, I logged into Facebook to share a photograph of what we ate and I said it was so very nice that I would make my way back to the supermarket to grab some more of the beef! Unfortunately, a friend commented and said that after seeing my Facebook post, she went and bought the last two packs! Another said that when she saw it, she asked the hubby to go right away and grab a few packs. Another friend said he got two and another one as well…and I don’t know who else. Gee!!! No wonder it was all sold out so quickly!

TA KIONG EMPORIUM (2.2933,111.82713,783) is located at No. 42-46, Jalan Tuanku Osman.