WHAT do you get when you combine the massive appeal of Wagyu beef, one of Japan's most popular pop stars and one of the nation's top butchers?
If you’re at the Wagyu 'Olympics' in Sendai, Japan, the result is an incredibly popular ¥1280 Yen (A$15) roast beef sandwich that sold out within 15 minutes of being put on sale.
Called the Hamidashi (which roughly translates to crowded or too much), the unusual but relatively simple sandwich is made on thick white bread, has a slice of cheese, salad with a dressing, and is served in a Japanese-style bento cardboard lunch box.
But really makes the visually appealling sandwich is that the slices of rare roast beef are wrapped around each piece of bread. Quite literally it is the rich, soft Wagyu meat that explodes on your taste buds.
Naoyuki Ito, who runs a boutique butchery in downtown Sendai and has developed a significant following particularly for his roast beef, said the idea was too develop something new for the national event.
He teamed up Asuki Moeno, an incredibly popular singer with pop group Japanese Idol, the develop the sandwich.
"Asuki came up with this wonderful idea and we put it together as a speciality for the Wagyu Olympics in Sendai," Ito said. "The Wagyu really makes the sandwich, particularly how it is positioned not only to look good, but to also taste good."
Asuki is no stranger to food. Despite has diminutive size, she is known as a 'big eater', and regularly features on food shows on Japanese television.
Ito made 300 sandwiches for each of the main days of the Wagyu show.
Naoyuki said given its popularity, he would continue to sell the sandwich from his shop.
Held only every five years, the National Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu incorporates both live classes and meat judging in an ongoing effort to identify the best genetics across the four Wagyu cattle breeds.
This year's five day event attracted a massive crowd of 390,000 people to the Sendai exhibition precinct.
Event organisers said more then 80 per cent of the crowd were attracted by the opportunity to sample culturally important Wagyu beef produced across Japan.