Omi Wagyu: The Different Cuts of Marbled Beef

By Catherine Ling - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013

For the top brands of Japanese wagyu beef (Matsuzaka, Kobe and Omi), most eateries import only small amounts of certain cuts (e.g. sirloin or ribeye) for one or two items on the menu, like steak. These are popular cuts, and they do come at a premium.


In a rare move, the Pan Pacific Singapore has decided to bring in the entire half of a wagyu carcass (Omi beef from Shiga prefecture). This helps average down the cost of the wagyu meat, so the dishes can be priced attractively too. The hotel has enough restaurant disciplines – Western, Chinese and Japanese (Edge, Hai Tien Lo and Keyaki) – to create special recipes to use up all the parts, including calf and tendon, which aren’t normally featured.


The Japanese butcher from supplier Daikichi Ranch showed us the various cuts as he trimmed them, and how best to cook them. We add our own ideas of local dishes that could benefit from these well-marbled cuts.



Ribeye (“Ribu rosu”) Best for: steak (near striploin side) or sliced thinly for yakiniku, shabu-shabu (near shoulder side). The meat here is thick and fine-textured, with very good marbling, all resulting in full-bodied flavour. Local dish: quick stir-fry dishes (beef with peppers or broccoli) or Hainanese beef steak.


Chuck Roll (“Kata Rosu”) Best for: steak, BBQ and sukiyaki, due to its moderate to high marbling and tenderness. Local dish: quick stirfries or gubak (beef) kway teow.


Shoulder Clod (“Ude”) Best for: roast beef, tataki (sashimi seared lightly on the outside), steak, yakiniku and BBQ (depending on whether it’s a tender or tough section, as this is a large and heavily muscled piece). Local dish: Chinese stir-fries, or cubed/sliced with fried rice, beef curry (using tougher parts).


“Misuji” Best for: steak. This is an exquisitely marbled and tender cut located near the corner of the shoulder and each cow only yields a few hundred grams. Local dish: it would be a waste to do anything other than steak, so maybe just cooked very briefly on hotplate.


Chuck Tender (“Togarashi” as in the chili, due to its shape) Best for: roast beef and tataki, as this particular shoulder part carries depth of flavour. Local dish: beef noodles soup, beef horfun.


Chuck Short Rib (“Nakabara”) Best for: BBQ or thinly sliced (this part of the cow’s chest has good marbling, appearance and flavour). Local dish: satay, braised beef short ribs, steamboat/BBQ.


Brisket (“Kata Bara”) Best for: BBQ (if well-trimmed with good marbling), thinly sliced or for stews (the tougher parts). Local dish: stewed beef brisket, beef noodles in soup, beef brisket curry.


Rump (“Ranichi”) Best for: steak (top sirloin cap), sashimi with special sauce called “yukke”, roasts. The finer marbling makes it taste “lighter” than fatty cuts. Local dish: satay, beef with ginger and spring onions, Hainanese steaks, five spice beef, beef in black bean sauce.


Neck Best for: beef mince or slow-cooking recipes (the neck is a well-used muscle, so it can be tougher). Local dish: Cantonese braises, stews and soups, beef rendang.


Bottom Round (“Sotomomo”) Best for: thinly sliced, or diced for stews (it’s a large block of meat that’s very lean so it can be tough, but is full of beefy flavour). Local dish: beef rendang or curries, or cut into thin strips for stir-fries with vegetables.


Knuckle (“Shintama”) Best for: sukiyaki or shabu-shabu, or BBQ if marbling is good. Local dish: beef horfun, fried rice.


Fat Trimmings: There is a lot of fat left over from the trimming, and mind you, it’s wagyu fat, so imagine how tasty it is added to mince for burgers or stirfries and fried rice. And wagyu’s fat carries a higher ratio of the healthier monounsaturated fatty acids, so you not only get flavour but you do your heart a favour too!