I have had great beef around the world – Argentina and Uruguay come to mind for example. However, when I think about steaks there are two, that in my opinion, are the best. The absolute best, is Hanwoo, which is indigenous to Korea. It is well marbled, but not overly so like Japanese Wagyu. It is more balanced.
A close second would be Subtilia farms Wagyu based in B.C. Their cattle’s bloodline can be traced back to Japan and thus, is 100% full-blood Wagyu. I have bought from the farm directly on two occasions now and their product is always fantastic. Like Hanwoo beef, it has a better balance of marbling than A5 (which is the highest grade given to Wagyu Beef in Japan). Note that at the time of writing, it appears that the farm is no longer selling its beef directly and has rebranded as a burger product with steaks to follow in 2022. I hope the product quality is maintained.
Recently, I acquired some A5 Wagyu, and had some Subtilia in the freezer, as any food lover should, and decided it would be good to do a tasting comparison. Ideally, the cuts should be the same, but I think the conclusions are still valid in a general sense. Here is the raw product, seasoned only with salt and pepper.
You will immediately notice the Japanese A5 on the right having way more marbling than the Subtilia product on the left. Both were cooked in a cast iron skillet and laid to rest before serving.
Results – the A5 was luxurious and delicious but the fat becomes overwhelming after a few bites. The texture is melt in your mouth goodness. In contrast, the Subtilia farms product had a beefier taste and was still well marbled, but not overly so. You could eat more of it and not be overwhelmed by the fat.
Overall, you won’t go wrong with either, but I prefer the Subtilia Farms product. It just feels better balanced overall, and less “unhealthy” because of the high fat. I am going to search for Korean Hanwoo and do another comparison review in the future. I highly recommend the Subtilia farms product and hope they will start selling steaks again soon. The two times I purchased, they had different packages with assorted cuts, and they conveniently delivered.
1 thought on “Battle of the Wagyu – Local BC vs A5 From Japan”
A5 is sickeningly fatty such that no one should be consuming more than a few grams per seating, which is why I thought the high price was pragmatic because no one in their right mind would eat a standard steak portion. If you can, please add pics of the cut steak to see the med-rare glossy fibrous tissue mixed with marbling