A5 Grade Japanese Wagyu beef is the highest quality beef possible under the Japanese Meat Grading Association’s (JMGA) alphanumeric rating system. The letters in the rating system refer to the ratio of meat compared to the weight of the carcass.
The numbers in the rating system grade the quality of the meat by looking at marbling, meat color, brightness, firmness, texture, lustre and fat quality.
For Wagyu beef to achieve the A5 rating, all these factors need to reach the classification of excellent. Considered to be the world’s most exquisite beef, A5 Japanese Wagyu is characterized by intense marbling, smooth texture and rich, juicy flavour. The beef is often sliced into thin strips and then seared or grilled without oil (fat from A5 Wagyu is generally considered to be sufficient for the preparation process). A5 Japanese Wagyu beef is usually seasoned with salt and pepper prior to serving.
While wagyu beef can be prepared in a huge variety of ways, here are the three most popular at Tsukiji: