Yakiniku means “grilled meat” in Japanese. The grilling is done inside the restaurant at your table on a grill placed over the direct flame of charcoals. Yakiniku focuses on drawing out the natural flavor of the meat. Additional seasoning is often no more than a bit of salt, a squeeze of lemon, or a splash of “tare” (dipping sauce) after the meat has been grilled. Because of the focus on the flavor of the beef, yakiniku requires high-quality ingredients as well as extra care so as not to overcook it and ruin the beef’s intricate flavor and texture.
Because we were in Kyoto – the center of wagyu – we decided to order only cuts of Ohmi Beef, known for having very fine fat marbling. Ohmi is one of the 3 famous types of wagyu, the other 2 being Kobe Beef and Matsusaka Ushi. What makes this meat distinctive is its lustrous fat and sweet, smooth flavour. In terms of beef cattle, Ohmi has the longest history in Japan. We didn’t only order cuts of Ohmi beef – we also started our meal with wagyu tartare and ordered mushrooms and sweet potato for sides. Delicious!
I cannot overstate how delicious the Ohmi beef was. The fat literally melted in my mouth.