Close this search box.
Close this search box.

The Secrets Behind Asahiya’s Legendary Kobe Beef Croquettes

A Family-Run Butcher Shop’s Journey into the Internet Sensation

For over nine decades, Asahiya, a family-operated butcher shop situated in Takasago City of western Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, has been selling a variety of meat products, including their renowned Kobe beef. It was only after World War II that they introduced beef croquettes into their offerings. Little did they know that their savory creations would become an internet phenomenon and create unbelievably long waiting lists in the early 2000s.

Introducing Extreme Croquettes: The Affordable Taste of Kobe Beef

Today, Asahiya offers four types of delicious Kobe beef croquettes, with their highly sought-after “Extreme Croquettes” taking center stage. Described by their creator Nitta as “affordable and tasty,” these mouth-watering delicacies were initially priced at JPY270 per piece, despite containing beef worth around JPY400 per piece. This strategic decision aimed to entice consumers to enjoy the taste of Kobe beef through these scrumptious croquettes and then hopefully purchase high-quality Kobe beef from Asahiya on subsequent occasions.

To minimize financial losses, Asahiya started producing these croquettes in small batches of 200 per week in their kitchen adjoining their shop. Eventually, thanks to their dedication to quality and superb craftsmanship, Asahiya’s Kobe beef croquettes became an internet sensation in the early 2000s.

Asahiya’s Philosophy: Supporting Local Producers and Promoting the Industry

  • Only selling meat/products produced in Hyogo Prefecture: Be it Kobe beef, Kobe pork, or Tajima chicken, Asahiya takes pride in promoting local fare and supporting neighboring producers. This approach can be traced back to Nitta’s grandfather, who would personally ride to Sanda—another renowned Wagyu-breeding area in Hyogo—to pick up beef produce.
  • Continuing the legacy of connections with local beef suppliers: Asahiya maintains strong relationships with local meat providers, which allows them to source products without having to import from other prefectures. Nitta believes that these connections have been instrumental to maintaining their stellar reputation for quality!

Due to Asahiya’s policy of promoting locally-sourced meats and their consistently high-quality offerings, customers continue to return for more of their delectable Kobe beef croquettes even despite long waiting times.

Long Waiting Times and Unprofitable Orders

Asahiya’s popularity soared when a report about their delicious Extreme Croquettes came out in the early 2000s. With orders pouring in from around Japan and even remote isolated islands, they considered ceasing production but ultimately decided to keep offering their trial-sized croquettes. However, the financial burden of producing at a deficit has not gone unnoticed by Nitta: “We hear we should hire more people to make them quickly, but I think there is no owner who hires employees to produce products at a deficit.”

Despite this, Asahiya’s strategy of letting more people taste their creations has managed to garner positive results as approximately half of their first-time buyers end up ordering again.

How Asahiya Hopes to Support the Entire Industry While Maintaining Traditions

Nitta’s ambition extends beyond Asahiya: he wishes to help promote and support the entire Kobe beef industry. By becoming an internet sensation and drawing attention to their tantalizing croquettes, Asahiya hopes it can raise interest for Kobe beef among individuals who were previously uninterested in trying this luxurious dish. To achieve this dream, Nitta focuses on staying true to tradition and only selling meat from the Hyogo Prefecture.

Asahiya’s Attention to Detail: Offering Ready-To-Eat Takeaway Snacks

Apart from their internet shop, Asahiya operates primarily as a local outlet where you can purchase two types of ready-to-eat takeaway snacks called “Tor Road” and “Kitanozaka,” named after nearby streets. “Tor Road” is made from short loin chuck and costs JPY460 per piece. For those far away or eager to try their sensational creations without waiting for years, visiting their shop might be your best bet!

In conclusion, Asahiya has managed to masterfully blend traditional craftsmanship with an innovative concept to create their unforgettable Kobe beef croquettes. Despite long waiting times and financial challenges, the company remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting locally-sourced meats and supporting the growth of the Kobe beef industry.

Related Posts