Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kobe in Kobe

Dream do come true. This picture you're looking at is of Kobe beef. And yes, like the title of this post gives away, I ate this delicious meat in Kobe.

Kobe beef is legendary in America. Once in a while you see it on a menu, think about ordering it, double check the price isn't a typo, and then get the Filet Mignon instead. I've actually heard -- and I'm sure I could google to find out if this is true -- that Kobe in America isn't really "Kobe." I'm using the quotes because supposedly American Kobe doesn't come from Kobe. Perhaps it is raised the same way but it isn't 100% Kobe. Even if that isn't true it doesn't really matter because the fact remains: Kobe in America is not Kobe in Kobe.

First off, I owe a big thank you to my friend MyongFa (she is second from the left, top row in this picture) who hooked me up with her friend Kim in Kobe. Kim is not only smart, beautiful, speaks perfect English and works in FILM (we had lots to talk about) but the best thing about her is that her mom owns a Kobe beef restaurant!!!! Kim, like MyongFa is Korean (I will have a post soon about what it means to be Korean in Japan) and the restaurant was a Korean Kobe beef shop.

(PICTURE: Kim at the restaurant. She cut the beef, cooked the beef and ate it with me. Best friend of a friend to meet ever!)

I'm not a food writer by any means but the best I can describe the taste of the Kobe was by the first sounds I made. I think they were in this order: "Ohhhhhh. Oh my. Ohhhhhh. That is, oh god." Yup, it sounded a lot like when I lost my virginity but the pleasure probably lasted twice as long. Kim looked at me and said, "It melts in your mouth, right?" I nodded and quickly let another melt in my mouth. No exaggeration, this was the best meat I have ever eaten in my life and definitely in the top 3 meals I have ever had. When I got back to my hostel that night I emailed my father and brother, regretting to inform them that I had a beef dinner that topped Peter Lugers in Brooklyn. My dad has yet to write me back.

One funny story that Kim told me: Kim's son -- the ridiculously cute kid next to me in the picture above -- has grown up eating only Kobe beef since he spends so much time around the restaurant. Well, Kim told me that one time her family was out to eat somewhere and they ordered beef. Her son put the beef in his mouth, gave it a couple of chews and then spit it out. He told his mother, "There's something wrong with this beef." Yeah, there was something wrong with it -- it wasn't Kobe.