The wait is over - Omi Hime A5 Wagyu is here.
You'll find the largest range of Japanese A5 wagyu in Sydney at Vic's Meat Market! Omi Hime A5 Wagyu is available at our butcher now.
WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT OMI BEEF?
Omi full blood wagyu hails from probably the most famous cattle producing prefecture in Japan. Shiga Prefecture is on the island of Honshu, bordered by Osaka and Kyoto to the west and Nagoya to the east. Shiga is home to the largest freshwater lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. The produce hailing from Shiga, especially the cattle are said to be of the highest standard due in no small part to the quality of this readily available water source.
HISTORY OF OMI BEEF
Omi Beef is the oldest beef production in Japan with a history dating back over 400 years, far longer than any other wagyu brand in the country. There are credible accounts throughout history that Omi Beef was presented to the shoguns in the late 1500s when Japan was unified into one
country. Even during the Edo Era (1603-1868), when the consumption of meat was forbidden, miso-marinated beef was sold as a medicinal product by the Hikone Domain (currently Shiga Prefecture), and was presented to the Edo Shogunate. In this way, Omi Beef was served to the samurai who unified Japan and thus has an ancient, honourable and very special place in Japanese history.
Entering the Meiji Era (1868-1912), shipments of Omi Beef to Tokyo got underway along with the development of a distribution network. During this period, all Omi Beef was shipped under the name Kobe Beef because it was shipped to Tokyo via the port of Kobe. At the time it was customary to refer to a brand of beef by the name of the port it was shipped form. That being said, Omi Beef was handled as Kobe Beef even though it was produced in a different region. Due to this and of course the quality of Omi Beef, the name Kobe Beef became widely recognised throughout the world.
In 1889, the Tokaido Line rail network opened and the following year Omihachiman Station was completed. This made direct shipments possible by land routes to Tokyo, and as a result, the name Omi Beef finally came into use. Over the next 100 years the Omi Beef brand became firmly established and today Omi Beef is being raised on 80 farms in nine cities and five towns in Shiga Prefecture.
WHAT DOES HIME MEAN?
Under the name Omi are two main products. Those produced from steers and those produced from heifers. Hime meaning princess is the name given to the meat produced from heifers. It is said, not only in Japan, that the meat obtained from heifers is naturally sweeter. This by default makes Omi Hime more flavoursome than for example other Japanese wagyu meat from steers. This in itself lends it to being more recognisable and desirable to the Western palate. The tenderness, fat colour, melting point and above all the cleanliness of the fat are revered in Japan. Omi Hime hits these markers perfectly with the
added advantage of the flavour which can at times be missed in Japanese beef.
The farm these particular animals came from is in Ryou west of Kyoto. The farm is owned and operated by Sawai san who is a life long farmer and son of a long line of farmers. The heifers on his land are housed in lots containing from 2 - 4 animals at a time depending on their age and size. Their ration consists of numerous local and imported ingredients including rice straw, barley, alfalfa, silage and bread crumbs.
Want to find out more about how to eat and cook Japanese A5 wagyu? Read more here.