Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Life-Changing Kobe Beef Adventure

I have been avoiding eating animals since my week-long detox adventure in Ananda Marga. It can be tough, but it is manageable. However, managing my choices becomes really difficult when I travel to different place. 

Kobe is not a place for vegetarian wannabes like me. 

Wagyu is a type of cattle breed which is predisposed to marbling. Marbling results to this nice fat around the lean meat of the cattle. There are a lot "trying hard" restaurants nowadays that pass off their Wagyu meat as the real deal. I've read menus that claim they bred wagyu in Laguna and in Cagayan de Oro. Technically, that may be right. But in terms of taste...? I shelled out money for trying some of these local Wagyu stuff but the real deal can be found in Kobe. 

We travelled to Kobe to try this authentic real genuine Wagyu stuff. We got the 1-Day Hankyu Tourist Pass which costs JPY 700. This allows the holder unlimited travel on Hankyu lines connecting Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. If we planned it better, we could have gotten a 2-day pass which included a transfer to Osaka airport.

Hankyu 1-day pass + huge brochure of things to do

The journey from Kyoto to Kobe took 1 hour.



Where is the best place to eat Kobe beef in Kobe? I don't like researching about "best places to eat". Sarah was assigned to research about the Kobe beef options. There was a lot of options in the internet and even more when we arrived in Kobe. We went with Steak Land. It was easy to find. It was right in front of Hankyu Kobe-sannomiya station.

Right there. They have a cordon for the lines.

We arrived around 12nn. I think we got lucky because we were in line right before a big group came. Then another group fell in line, then another, and another. It can get really crowded during lunch time.

Lunch hour line




Do not be scared of the prices. I think items here are reasonably priced. Just think how much you'll pay for steak from a classy restaurant in Metro Manila. If you compare these prices to Melo's, you'll hand your money over to Steak Land immediately.

Nice that they post their menu with prices outside. You'll have an idea how much to shell out.

We pretty much decided what we were going to order even before being seated. 

I also saw some luggage bags at the entrance with airport tags. I guess someone just landed in Kobe and decided to immediately have a dose of Kobe beef.

Ala carte menu

We had premier seats. Right in front of the chef.



Look at all those garlic chips! Perfectly crisped.

Service was prompt. The servers were courteous too (aren't all Japanese?).
Soup, salad and some sauce

Brace yourself for a life-changing beef adventure...
Look at that wonderful beef

If it is possible, I think I fell in love with the beef. Look at all that marbling. 
How difficult it is to fall in love with something you swore off not to eat anymore... 

Left = Kobe Beef set. Right = Special Kobe Beef Set

Gorgeous

The beef is as delicious as it looks. Sarah had the Special Kobe Beef Set which is just a little more expensive. The Special Kobe Beef does melt in your mouth. It was delicious!!! This is an understatement, I need more descriptive words to describe all my feelings. 

In a nutshell: it was life-changing. I raised my standards for steak. Should I become a full vegetarian, I'll probably break that because of Kobe Beef. I put Kobe Beef ahead of bacon (Okay, so those are in different leagues, but still, ya know). 

I had mine cooked medium rare

We ate slowly. Savored our meals. I think some of the people there are already regulars. This is a good thing. Steak Land is patronized by locals, and not just tourists who want to try the real thing. 

The Kobe Beef Steak Set costs JPY 4,480 but we ordered extra rice and drink (I think) and I ended up paying JPY 5,699 because I got extra rice and then some. They also have a Kobe Beef set for just JPY 2,000 but I don't know if that is life-changing. 

Kobe beef group pic!


As for the other things to do in Kobe, there's not much. So if all you've been hearing about Kobe is their beef, yup, that's about it. It was a chill day for us in Kobe. We strolled to burn all that food.

A fish monument

This two-level flyover is pretty awesome. How about let's do this in EDSA?

Look at those lamp posts

Kobe was hit by a huge earthquake in 1995 with an intensity of 6.9. Kobe was a major port back then. The magnitude of the damage is seen in this monument. It is amazing to note the contrast between the damage brought by the earthquake and how Kobe recovered, as evidenced by that two-layer flyover.



It was mid-afternoon. Things are slow in Kobe port even if it was a good day.

Think he caught any fish?

He had the place all to himself to practice his bike stunts

Awesome stereo torii


Reminds me of a scene from Return to Oz


Park

Kobe was not an eyeful and I would say walking around the city is optional. But walking around is free and it somewhat burned all the calories from all that Kobe beef.  

I do not travel for food. Eating local specialties is nice but I do nowant to exert a lot of effort for it. I skipped trying out the paella in Valencia when I was in Spain. For Kobe, I would say the effort is worth it. 

I ate real Kobe beef. I have bragging rights. ^_____^

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