While audio and video subscription services like Netflix are well-known in Japan, food subscription services are only just starting to grow in popularity here. Of course, we always like to be at the forefront of the latest trends to hit these Japanese shores, so our self-proclaimed "Subscription Man" Ahiruneko decided to try out one such food subscription service on offer by Japanese company Ishikawa Chuzo.
Ishikawa Chuzo are most known for their famous Omoi Frying Pan, a cast iron pan aimed at helping people cook up some delicious meat at home. The frying pan was immensely popular when it was first released, so much so that some people reported having to wait over three years after ordering for it to finally be delivered.
So, what’s the next step once you’ve created what you consider to be the world’s best pan to cook meat it? Provide people a meat subscription service, of course, and that’s what the company are doing.
Ishikawa Chuzo’s launched its meat subscription service in 2020 and claims that it’s the very first of its kind in Japan. There are three courses to choose from: the Regular Course (10,800 yen monthly), the Variety Course (10,800 yen), and the Premium Course (21,600 yen). Ahiruneko opted for the regular course.
Each box contains cuts of meat carefully selected by a panel of fifteen butchers and is delivered on the 29th of each month. Let’s check out what was in Ahiruneko’s box.
First up, there was some Hitachi saikoro (diced beef) steak. Hitachi beef comes from from black cows fed only with grain grown in Ibaraki Prefecture and is considered high-quality meat.
There were also some Hitachi short ribs…
…sirloin steak made from specially selected domestic cattle…
… and rump steak, also from specially selected domestic cattle.
In addition to a whole bunch of meat, the subscription also includes a cooking sheet, salt, beef suet and a pamphlet with cooking recommendations. But the most exciting and unique part of the subscription was undoubtedly the option to rent out one of Ishikawa Chuzou’s famous Omoi frying pans! The frying pan, which was 20 centimeters in diameter, can be rented for free as part of the subscription. The legendary frying pan with a three year waiting list arrived instantly in Ahiruneko’s mailbox as part of the service. Excellent!
So, armed with a frying pan and a whole bunch of meat, Ahiruneko’s journey into meaty madness began. First up was the Hitachi saikoro steak.
According to the cooking instructions, the steak should be lightly grilled on both sides on high heat.
Having the legendary frying pan definitely made Ahiruneko feel like a professional chef, but how did the meat taste?
Juicy and full of flavor, according to Subscription Man. We’re off to an excellent start.
Next up was the Hitachi grilled ribs. They didn’t have a lot of fat on them, and only needed to be lightly grilled.
Surprisingly, the grilled ribs were only okay. Certainly better than anything you could buy at a supermarket, but it was a little disappointing.
Next up, the sirloin steak. The perfect balance of fatty meat to lean meat got two thumbs up from Ahiruneko.
Deeeeeelicious! A little on the thin side, but still delicious!
Finally, the rump steak. It was finely textured and seemed like a very high quality piece of lean meat.
The rump steak was easily the tastiest of the day; it was so tender and satisfying!
All in all, Ahiruneko was quite pleased with his first dive into the world of food subscription services. At 10,800 yen (including postage and packaging), the Regular Course seemed very appropriately priced for four kinds of quality meat, not to mention the bonus excitement of not knowing what kind of meat you’ll be receiving.
However, should you wish to cancel your subscription after trying it out, Ahiruneko warns that it’s a very cumbersome process. All cancellations need to be done by contacting the company directly via phone or e-mail, and if you rent out the frying pan you’ll need to return it first before your cancellation gets processed. Just something to keep in mind should you wish to try it out.
Despite that, Ahiruneko was overall pretty satisfied with his first venture into the world of food subscriptions. This time, he got a box full of beef, but maybe next month’s box will bring him other kinds of meat to enjoy. Who knows? That’s the joy of subscription boxes.
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