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Wagyu beef is perhaps one of Japan’s most delicious food exports along with being one of the finest and most expensive varieties of beef that money can buy. In recent years the popularity and demand for wagyu beef have exploded worldwide. As such, you may be wanting to try your hand at cooking at some. If so, you may be wondering, what to serve with wagyu beef?

What Is Wagyu Beef?

Wagyu (pronounced wag-you) roughly translates to mean Japanese beef, with “wa” meaning Japanese and “gyu” being beef. This beef is highly renowned as being some of the best quality beef in the world due to it being incredibly marbled meat and as a result very tender with a unique buttery rich taste.

In addition to it’s delicious flavour and texture though, wagyu steak/beef is particularly high in omega-three and omega-six fatty acids when compared to regular beef. Again, this is thanks to the beef being incredibly marbled.

The process for cultivating the best possible wagyu beef though is incredibly elaborate. Japanese cattle farmed for wagyu need to be kept in an incredibly stress-free environment and will be fed for six hundred days after weaning, which is more than double the average time. This is to maximise the effectiveness of the wonderful marbling process which is often more gradual in wagyu beef than in other sources of beef.

Along with being delicious, the result of this elaborate process is that wagyu beef is inevitably incredibly expensive. Especially so if you seek out specific types such as Kobe beef which has a similarly protected status to champagne versus sparkling wine. As such whilst some traditional Japanese wagyu can be called Kobe beef, Australian or American wagyu beef cannot.

What Goes With Wagyu Beef?

Wagyu beef is an incredibly tender type of beef with a delicate but rich buttery taste. As such, when choosing what to serve alongside it some of your best options will likely be dishes with flavours that are not too overpowering. After all, if going to the expense of acquiring wagyu meat of this nature, you’ll want to emphasise it as truly being your main dish. 

That said though, a wonderful way of doing so can be to use dishes that have contrasting flavours that are also complementary.

What to serve with wagyu beef? 10 delicious side ideas

What To Serve With Wagyu Beef?

With the above in mind when you serve wagyu steak you may be overly worried about making the wrong choices. This is because unlike when serving beef stroganoff, for example, the initial expense of a wagyu steak can be quite high. 

Ultimately wagyu steaks only need simple seasonings such as some kosher salt on either side because you truly want the wagyu’s distinct flavours to speak for themselves. As such, when serving wagyu steak as your main course, some excellently tasty but complementary side dishes include the following:

  1. Rice Pilaf
  2. Side Salad
  3. Baked Potatoes
  4. Sauteed Mushrooms
  5. Asparagus
  6. Charcuterie Board
  7. Red Wine
  8. Traditional Japanese Sake
  9. Ethiopian Coffee
  10. Chocolate Torte

Rice Pilaf

When serving any particularly rich and flavourful main, a bowl of steaming rice is always a wonderful option. However, to add some additional subtle but nuanced flavours to the dish instead of an ordinary bowl of rice, why not make it a pilaf?

This simply involves sauteeing your rice in some aromatics or flavourings such as garlic before cooking it in a broth instead of plain water. The result is that the individual rice grains tend to be more defined and the flavours contained are subtle but more diverse. 

What to serve with wagyu beef? 10 delicious side ideas

Side Salad

A particularly light side dish option, perfect for wagyu steak is to serve it either alongside or atop a salad. Additionally, the extra bit of green will add some wonderful fresh colour to your meal and contrast excellently with a wagyu steak cooked rare.

Since the wagyu is already incredibly flavourful it is best to keep things simple with the side salad. As such, some fresh pea shoots, arugula (rocket), parsley and other green herbs with a light drizzle of olive oil will be perfectly sufficient.

Baked Potatoes

If on the other end of the spectrum you wish to lean into more of a heavy meal then serving baked potatoes as a side dish alongside your wagyu steak is an excellent choice. 

Baked potatoes add some wonderful contrast in texture to your steak. The delectable combination of the crispy and crunchy skin and beautifully fluffy insides combines wonderfully with the tender steak and overall provides an incredibly nuanced mouthfeel.

Tastewise, the potato will add a slightly earthy flavour which complements the rich butteriness of the steak. However, commonly baked potatoes will also be served with butter which synergises wonderfully with the flavours of the steak.

What to serve with wagyu beef? 10 delicious side ideas

Sauteed Mushrooms

For a wonderfully buttery side dish to pair with wagyu steak though, some sautéed mushrooms is an excellent choice.

These will provide a wonderful buttery flavour that harmonises well with your wagyu steak. However, they will also add that wonderful umami flavour that mushrooms are known for along with a slightly chewy texture. 

This flavour can be further enhanced by sauteing them in garlic butter. However, when doing so, only use a small amount of garlic in order to not overshadow the flavours of the wagyu steak.

Asparagus

Another lighter vegetable option is to serve asparagus alongside your wagyu steak. When doing so the asparagus will add a satisfying crunch to the meal that contrasts with the tender beef.

Additionally, it also adds a distinct bitter taste that contrasts with buttery wagyu steak. However, in order to avoid this form being too overwhelming, it is best to season the asparagus in salt, pepper butter and olive oil or lemon juice before cooking. 

What to serve with wagyu beef? 10 delicious side ideas

Charcuterie Board

If you’re looking for a unique way to serve your wagyu steak then incorporating it into a charcuterie board is a wonderful way to do so. This is because it will allow you to enjoy a wide variety of different tastes and textures that pair wonderfully with one another.

When serving your wagyu on a charcuterie board, you should slice it into thin slices. Then serve it alongside an assortment of cheeses (such as blue cheese or goat cheese), some light salad vegetables, other meats and potentially dressings or dips.

Red Wine

When choosing a drink to pair with wagyu steak then a nice red wine makes for an excellent option. The type of wine you should go for will primarily depend on your preference for cooking steak since the rarer you go, the bolder the wine should be.

If in doubt though some full-bodied wines such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or French Bordeaux will make for excellent options. That said though, really any good full-bodied wine that you find personally enjoyable should do nicely.

Traditional Japanese Sake 

Another wonderful option for an alcoholic drink that is slightly out of the ordinary is to pair your wagyu steak with some traditional Japanese sake. 

Sake is often made from rice, water, yeast and koji mould. The result is a slightly sweet and clean-tasting drink that is wonderfully refreshing. 

Not only does this pair exceedingly well with sake though. It also helps the meal have an overall more authentic Japanese feel. 

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Ethiopian Coffee

If you want a non-alcoholic drink option though, then some freshly ground coffee is a wonderful choice. In particular, a wonderful option is to serve Ethiopian coffee.

This coffee provides some wonderful fruity flavours such as blueberries which go wonderfully with both your steak, along with any dessert you may enjoy afterwards. Additionally, whether served as an americano or espresso, the results will be delicious.

Chocolate Torte

If wanting something for dessert then naturally a rich steak should be followed up by a sweet and decadent dessert. An excellent choice for such a dessert is a delicious chocolate torte. Additionally, when paired with a sour cherry juice the contrast in flavours practically dance in your mouth.

Answered: What To Serve With Wagyu Beef?

When deciding what to serve with wagyu beef, you really have a lot of options at your fingertips. For something light, a side salad or a pairing of asparagus makes for an excellent choice. Meanwhile, for something more substantial and rich, baked potatoes and sauteed mushrooms are excellent choices. Additionally, there’s also drinks and dessert to consider.

Ultimately, whatever sides you choose, it is important to remember that the wagyu beef should always be the star of the show. As such, picking options that are simple yet effective is far better than trying to do something elaborate.

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FAQ – What to Serve with Wagyu Beef?

What is the best way to eat Wagyu beef?

Wagyu steak should be eaten rare or medium rare and is often best sliced into thin pieces as the fat content makes it incredibly rich.

What goes well with A5 Wagyu?

Due to how delicate the flavours are, more neutral vegetables such as sauteed mushrooms and baked potatoes are recommended. However, other sides such as a light salad and, rice pilaf or even as part of a charcuterie board can make for excellent results.

Why is Wagyu beef illegal?

Wagyu beef is not strictly speaking illegal, although it has been prohibited in the past over concerns around mad cow disease. Additionally, whilst live wagyu cattle and their DNA is illegal to export from Japan, the meat itself can be legally exported.