Shams El -Mutwalli Dubai
Dubai-based butcher shop Prime Gourmet opened in 2010 and has been delivering quality Japanese meats since.
The butcher shop imports meats from various places including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe and prides itself for having a team that are well informed, and ready to provide quality ingredients to make quality food.
Prime Gourmet was launched “with the idea of making accessible to individual customers the high-quality meats sold in the best restaurants and hotels of the UAE by the mother company Country Hill International,” says Director for Business Development and Marketing, Maria Luisa Panzica La Manna.
Panzica La Manna elaborated on the complexity of the process, considering how Japanese meats must be killed in a Halal way before being imported to the UAE.
Halal kills are “very special in Japan and the slaughterhouse has to be reserved for this purpose. The kills are organized only for our orders. The exporting partner is Zen-Noh international, a leader agribusiness company in Japan,” she said.
This is not Prime Gourmet’s only advantages, the butchery is well recognised for their ability to offer a variety of cuts within the region, which has played a fundamental role in their overall reputation.
“Prime Gourmet has been the pioneer in selling Japanese wagyu to the public beyond the usual cuts like tenderloin, striploin and ribeye. We started to sell less known cuts from other parts of the animal portioned in the Japanese way (Yakiniku, shabu shabu, sukiyaki),” she said.
Yakiniku is a Japanese style BBQ, or grilled meat, while Shabu-shabu is a thinly sliced meat used in hot pot dishes, similar to sukiyaki.
“In these 2 years we have seen these products becoming increasingly popular beyond the Japanese customers. Our clientele is very diverse and the appreciation of Wagyu is across the board,” she told Arab News Japan.
Prime Gourmet began importing Saroma Wagyu in 2018, sourcing wagyu from the Saroma Lake Region in Hokkaido, renowned for the purity and minerals present in the water.
“The cold climate is what creates the unique meat quality and allows the beef to become very delicate. The cold also lowers the melting point of the beef fat, which leads to an intense sweet flavor in the meat,” Panzica La Manna told Arab News Japan.
Aside from the meats, Prime Gourmet also carries a range of Japanese products ranging from bulgogi, ponzu and sesame, amongst other ingredients that compliment the texture and flavour of the Japanese meats available at the store.
The relationship to Japan is a strong one, and is predominantly influenced by a private equity fund called Gulf Japan Food Fund’s move to become a major shareholder in Prime Gourmet back in 2018.
Prime Gourmet is also well schooled in meat and poultry from Australia and New Zealand, they also carry other products including cheeses, pasta, and condiments as well as ready prepared meals like beef lasagne.