The most characteristic aspect of Wagyu beef is the evenly-distributed marbling. Wagyu beef must come from Japanese cattle, specifically Japanese Black, Brown, Polled or Shorthorn.
A slab of Wagyu beef shows intense marbling to the point that the fat can show more than the meat.The result is a very tender cut of beef that melts in the mouth. The fat itself contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which is a soft monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is also lower in cholesterol.
The fat in the marbling has a low melting point. This results in a mouth-filling savoriness and palate-coating richness, according to The Telegraph.
Waguy is the term for all beef bred in Japan from the specific breeds. Kobe is a type of Wagyu beef from a city of Japan with the same name.
Wagyu cows in Kobe eat a diet rich in dried pasture forage and grasses as well as supplements. Ranchers fatten them for up to 30 months. Likewise, they tend to live sedentary lives, all of which contribute to the meat's unique marbling.
Only Wagyu beef that comes from Japan is considered authentic, though Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom also breed the Japanese cows. The United States banned importing meat from Japan for a time, so all beef labeled "Wagyu" or "Kobe" was from the U.S. However, the ban was lifted in 2014, though most Wagyu beef in the U.S. is still American-bred.