Praising the Golden Cow

China’s Wildly expanding love for red meat is nothing new. But do producers, suppliers and vendors truly understand the complexity and art behind the protein culture taking the country by storm?

WDTK

For nearly three years, local restaurateur and owner of Angus Reform, Owen Zhong, has been indulging a love for beef unlike most. Sure, practically all meat-eaters enjoy a nice steak with a glass of merlot, but here, there’s a difference between love and obsession.

“In the whole of Dongguan, or even the entire Guangdong province, beef quality is uneven. Because some is smuggled beef, the quality, stability and safety haven’t come up to the standard. Dongguaners now dare not to eat beef. Since we control the whole process of our own products, we are able to produce beef that locals can enjoy without worry. I do this because of passion and because I want to have confidence in the beef I eat,” said Owen.

After completing the requisite Chinese education a few years back, Owen flew away for studies in England to practice English and experience more of the world. Once there, new ideas and perspectives were borne and later matured on returning to Dongguan.

“I studied International Trade in England and later, came together with my partner who studied in New Zealand. We are all from Liaobu and already had an interest in beef culture. So far, it seems like only we are doing something like this restaurant and meat production,” he explained.

The culture to which he refers is critical. Indeed, there are hotspots in China that already have significant histories regarding beef. Places like Chaoshan’s beef balls are famous in southern China, but these concepts are starkly different than a simple, high-quality steak.

“When I think about good beef that we bring from Australia, I require that fat and protein need to be sufficient and evenly spread. Since our cattle are fed grass before grain, the distribution of their fat and protein will be better. So far, the beef we are selling mainly eat grain, which is corn, wheat and barley,” he told.

Then, once you have a premium raw material, creating a delectable final product is a snap.

“Basically, beef is not very difficult to make, but it really depends on the quality. In fact, good beef rarely needs to be pickled. You can pop it into a pan without any oil, sear each side for three minutes, add some salt or black pepper. Perfect.”

In order to showcase his farm’s products, a restaurant was built in Dongcheng. There, diners can experience plates stacked with all kinds bites, but most importantly, you guessed it: steaks.

“On the one hand, of course this restaurant is here for everyone to eat. On the other hand, it’s sort of an institution to help people further understand beef culture. Later, we will change all the elements to be more related to beef. All the paintings and photos will change, as well,” he told us.

“When we talk about flowers, people think of spring. Someday, I hope when people talk about beef, they’ll think of our product. In order to succeed, you need passion and perseverance. Never stop studying and never give up. This is how I live my life.”

After graduating from university, many feel lost, wondering what should come next. Owen was one of the more fortunate graduates, having deep support from those around him, which ended up being great for the rest of us carnivores.

“I am lucky with the support of my parents and able to make my dreams happen. Now, my continuous goal is to bring Dongguaners delicious and reliable beef,” he stressed.

China has unfortunately had some food-safety scandals over the past couple of years and individuals like Owen are key to rebuilding public trust in Chinese companies and products. Today, he has one goal, to be Dongguan’s (and later, China’s) primary source for beef.

“When we talk about flowers, people think of spring. Someday, I hope when people talk about beef, they’ll think of our product. In order to succeed, you need passion and perseverance. Never stop studying and never give up. This is how I live my life.”

Category Who Would Know