Most famous in: Bungo-ono City, Kokonoe Town, Kusu Town, Taketa City, Yufuin
Bungo beef is one of Oita’s high end gourmet products. While it’s not as famous as Kobe beef – it is a top-grade example of Japanese wagyu (Japanese cow). Wagyu is famous for its intense marbling – caused by the high percentage of unsaturated fat in the meat. This marbling effect creates the delicious ‘melting’ sensation you get when you eat Bungo beef. Bungo beef is raised in Oita and primarily only sold in Kyushu – although you can sometimes see it in other parts of Japan. It can be eaten several ways – but some restaurants present it to be served as part of a three step eating process. In the first stage you eat the meat as it is served. Once you’ve eaten about a third you add the yakumi – which can include wasabi, pickled vegetables, nori and green onion. Yakumi means medicine taste, while at first this might not sound appealing, it is applied to condiments that are used both as medicines and food seasoning. After mixing in the yakumi you eat another third of the dish. Finally, the remaining third you eat ochazuke style. This involves pouring tea or soup over the remainder, and if you desire adding more green onion and wasabi. This eating style – while involved, allows you to eat the beef three separate ways.