The Type Of Salmon That's Often Compared To Wagyu Beef

As above, so below. Grazing and gracing only the most luxurious of tables above the water is wagyu beef, a mythical meat that has captured the hearts and tongues of chefs all around the world, the epitome of marbling and flavor. But below the water's surface lurks a fish with flesh meant to rival even that of wagyu.

The Ōra King salmon of New Zealand has gained a fearsome reputation as one of the highest quality salmon in the world, per Bloomberg, often compared even to high-quality wild salmon. According to InsideHook, these fish have been selectively bred over several generations for their vibrant colors, higher fat content, and larger size. The fat content of a typical Atlantic salmon is 15% – 17% but the Ōra King salmon boasts fat content of 25%, such high levels of fat and flavor are the primary contributors to the wagyu comparisons. That and the price.

Long live the king

Wagyu is famously expensive at about $10 – $15 per pound for American wagyu, per Marie's River Wagyu (other kinds of wagyu beef can go for even more outrageous prices), but Ōra King sports an even more outrageous price tag of $23 per pound, per Aquabest NYC.

The fat content of these salmon is the main reason for their outstanding culinary prowess and explains why so many chefs around the world are on the hunt to serve it. According to Crowd Cow, the Ōra King salmon meat is at once more delicate and more flavorful than other kinds of salmon that are available. The striking balance of sweetness and umami coupled with the impossibly silky texture of the salmon are accented visually by the stunning orange and white of the flesh, a marbling worthy of wagyu. Notable chefs from around the world have been seeking out the Ōra King, per Hook'D, and although the salmon may match up in quality, popularity-wise it's still quite a ways away from the household name of wagyu.