Where To Buy Hanwoo Beef? A Simple Guide

Are you a foodie looking to explore new and exotic flavors?

Have you heard of Hanwoo beef, the premium meat from South Korea that’s taking the culinary world by storm?

With its high marbling, beefy flavor, and slightly sweet taste, Hanwoo beef is a delicacy that’s highly coveted by food enthusiasts all over the world.

But where can you find this rare and expensive meat?

In this article, we’ll explore the best places to buy Hanwoo beef and how to get your hands on this prized ingredient for your next culinary adventure.

So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the world of Hanwoo beef.

Where To Buy Hanwoo Beef?

If you’re looking to buy Hanwoo beef, your best bet is to start by searching for specialty meat markets and high-end restaurants that specialize in Korean cuisine.

In South Korea, Hanwoo beef is the meat of choice and is readily available in local markets and restaurants. However, outside of Korea, it can be much harder to find.

One option is to search for online retailers that specialize in premium meats. These retailers often source their products from around the world and may have Hanwoo beef available for purchase.

Another option is to contact specialty meat importers who may be able to source Hanwoo beef for you. These importers often work with high-end restaurants and specialty markets, so they may be able to connect you with a supplier.

It’s important to note that Hanwoo beef is a premium product and comes with a high price tag. Be prepared to pay more for this delicacy than you would for other types of beef.

What Is Hanwoo Beef?

Hanwoo beef is a premium beef that is native to South Korea. It is considered to be one of the highest quality beef in the world, known for its marbling, tenderness, and rich flavor.

Hanwoo cattle are raised in a specific way, with a focus on their diet and living conditions. They are typically fed a diet of grains, hay, and other high-quality feed to ensure that they produce high-quality meat. The cattle are also raised in a stress-free environment, which helps to ensure that the meat is tender and flavorful.

One of the unique aspects of Hanwoo beef is that it is graded based on both the quality of the meat and the animal’s lineage. The grading system takes into account factors such as marbling, color, texture, and fat distribution. The highest grade of Hanwoo beef is known as “Grade 1++,” which is reserved for only the highest quality meat.

Due to its high quality and limited availability, Hanwoo beef is often considered a luxury item. It is more expensive than other types of beef and is typically only found in high-end restaurants or specialty markets. However, with increasing demand and availability in international markets, it is becoming more accessible to consumers around the world.

The History And Culture Behind Hanwoo Beef

Hanwoo beef has a long and rich history in Korean culture. The breed of small cattle is indigenous to Korea and has been raised for thousands of years, originally as a draught animal and sometimes as an object of sacrificial rite. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s, with the rapid growth of the Korean economy, that Hanwoo cattle were fully utilized as meat-type cattle.

Due to religious and political issues in Korea, the utilization of Hanwoo cattle as an edible meat had been minimal. However, with the rise of the Korean economy, Hanwoo beef became a symbol of wealth and status. It is a highly coveted product in Korean cuisine, known for its high marbling, beefy flavor, and slightly sweet taste.

Hanwoo beef is also valued for its cultural significance. It is considered a symbol of Korean identity and heritage, and is often served on special occasions such as weddings and holidays. In South Korea, it is believed that Hanwoo beef is more than just a food item; it is a representation of the country’s history and tradition.

To maintain the quality and authenticity of Hanwoo beef, local farmers employ creative methods to ensure the best quality beef. Some farmers mix their feed with pine leaf enzyme, believed to heighten meat quality. Others keep a radio on in the cattle pens to ease the cattle’s exposure to people, ensuring they stay calm during transportation or butchering. Each Hanwoo cow also has its own electronic ID, containing information on the animal’s shots and treatment history.

South Korea has its own meat grading system for Hanwoo beef based on a combination of marbling and color. Beef is judged on a scale of 1++, 1+, 1, 2, or 3 (1++ being the highest). Another grade measures “percentage of meat available for use” and is separated into A, B or C. In Hanwoo terms, 1+++ is the Korean equivalent of A5 Wagyu.

Why Is Hanwoo Beef So Expensive?

Hanwoo beef is known for its high marbling, beefy flavor, and slightly sweet taste, making it a highly coveted delicacy in South Korea. The demand for Hanwoo beef is high, but the supply is limited due to the small size of South Korea and the limited land available for cows to roam. This scarcity of supply is one of the main reasons why Hanwoo beef is so expensive.

Additionally, the slow growth rate and reduced milking yield of Hanwoo cattle reduce total beef production. This means that it takes longer to raise a Hanwoo cow to maturity compared to other breeds, resulting in higher production costs.

Furthermore, the Korean government has implemented strict regulations to ensure the quality of Hanwoo beef. This includes requirements for the cattle’s diet, living conditions, and processing methods. These regulations add to the cost of producing Hanwoo beef, which is reflected in its high price tag.

Finally, the recent drop in cattle numbers due to small farmers being forced out of business has also contributed to the rising price of Hanwoo beef. With a limited supply and high demand, it’s no wonder that Hanwoo beef is one of the most expensive meats in the world.

Where To Buy Hanwoo Beef In South Korea

If you’re in South Korea and looking to buy Hanwoo beef, your options are much wider. One of the best places to start is at local markets, where you can find a variety of cuts and grades of Hanwoo beef.

One popular market for Hanwoo beef is the Majangdong Beef Market, located in Seoul. Here, you can find a wide selection of Hanwoo beef, including the highest grade 1++ beef. The market offers a unique experience where you can pick out your own beef and grill it up at a table with plenty of sides, sauces, and leaves for wrapping.

Another popular market for Hanwoo beef is the Pyeongchang Market, located in the center of Korea. This market is known for its top-notch quality and freshness of Hanwoo beef, although it comes with a higher price tag (about 18,000 won for 100 grams).

If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, there are several high-end restaurants that specialize in Hanwoo beef. These restaurants often feature premium cuts and offer a variety of preparation methods. One such restaurant is Jinjuu in London, owned by celebrity chef Judy Joo.

No matter where you choose to buy Hanwoo beef in South Korea, be prepared to pay a premium price for this highly coveted delicacy.

Where To Buy Hanwoo Beef In The United States

While Hanwoo beef is not widely available in the United States, there are a few places where you can purchase it. One option is to check with Korean grocery stores or markets in your area. These stores may carry Hanwoo beef or be able to order it for you.

Another option is to search for Korean restaurants that serve Hanwoo beef. Some of these restaurants may also sell Hanwoo beef for takeout.

If you’re unable to find Hanwoo beef locally, you can also try searching online for specialty meat retailers that ship nationwide. Some of these retailers may have Hanwoo beef available for purchase, although it may come with a higher price tag due to shipping costs.

It’s important to keep in mind that Hanwoo beef is a premium product and may be difficult to find outside of Korea. However, with some research and persistence, you may be able to find a supplier that can provide this delicacy for you to enjoy.

How To Prepare And Cook Hanwoo Beef

Preparing and cooking Hanwoo beef requires a different approach than other types of beef due to its unique flavor and texture. Here are some tips on how to prepare and cook Hanwoo beef:

1. Choose the right cut: Hanwoo beef can be butchered into up to 120 different cuts, but some are better suited for specific cooking methods. For Korean-style barbecue, popular cuts like top blade/flat iron (buchaesal) and plate/skirt (upjinsal) are recommended. For steak cuts, ribeye or strip steak on the Hanwoo cattle are popular choices.

2. Seasoning: Hanwoo beef has a naturally rich flavor, so it’s best to keep the seasoning simple. Salt and pepper are enough to enhance the natural flavors of the meat.

3. Cooking method: Hanwoo beef is best cooked quickly over high heat to maximize its flavor and tenderness. A stone grill or cast-iron skillet is recommended for searing the meat and capturing its juices. The ideal temperature for cooking Hanwoo beef is around 270C.

4. Resting time: After cooking, let the meat rest for a few minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. This will result in a more tender and flavorful final product.

5. Sides: Hanwoo beef pairs well with traditional Korean side dishes like kimchi, rice, and pickled vegetables. Western-style sides like roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes can also complement the meat’s rich flavor.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Hanwoo beef is cooked to perfection and enjoyed to its fullest potential.