Introduction to Japanese Food – Fugu


The blowfish (fugu) is not only one of the worlds weirdest looking creatures but it also one of the worlds deadliest cuisines. If prepared incorrectly you may be in store for the paralyzing of your muscles while remaining fully conscious and eventually dieing from asphyxiation. Sound yummy?

So why in the world would anyone eat this stuff?

Why So Popular?


Fugu has been consumed in Japan for centuries and the danger of it being improperly prepared is probably one of its biggest draws.

Japan places strict regulations on which chefs can prepare fugu and sell it to the public. It’s rumored that the best chefs leave just enough poison in the dish to make your lips tingle to let you how close you came to death.

Due to these high standards, ordering fugu is rarely a life threatening decision, with the majority of fugu coming from a variety of blowfish with much lower amounts of deadly poison.

However, if anyone ever offers you fugu liver, turn them down. This is where all the poison is located and it’s highly illegal to sell it in Japan.

What Does it Taste Like

Apparently (I’ve never tasted it), it tastes somewhere between crunchy and chewy, with no doubt a somewhat chikeny flavor. Either way, it’s sure to be an experience with the active poison being 160,000 times stronger than cocaine.

Ways to Eat Fugu

Fried Fugu

Fugu can be prepared in a variety of ways:

  • Fugu-sashi: Thinly sliced raw fugu
  • Fugu-chiri: Vegetables and fugu simmered in soup in a large pot.
  • Fugu Kara-age: Battered and deep fried
  • Fugu Hire-zake: Grilled and put in hot sake

While some sources claim that about 100 people die from eating improperly prepared blow fish every year, it’s highly unlikely that ordering fugu in Japan will put you in any sort of risk today. So go ahead and try it out and let us know how it was in your comments…that is if you survive :P

Photo Credits – Splash photo by: selva, Fugu chef by: oliptang, Fried fugu by: loveberry.

2 Responses to “Introduction to Japanese Food – Fugu”

  1. Nigel Fogden  on April 27th, 2010

    I ate fugu for the first time last summer at a beautiful hotel in Matsushima. We had a course menu of traditional Japanese food and fried fugu was one of the plates.

    After hearing stories for so long I was almost disappointed; no death, no lip tingling! It was just a delicate, tasty white fish. I would never have guessed that it could kill me.

    In fact, I have a feeling that the deadliness of fugu might be emphasized for foreigners. I’ve never heard a Japanese person make a big deal out of it.

  2. Travis  on April 28th, 2010

    I think you’re on to something there, Nigel. The allure of ‘extreme eating’ makes us North Americans all weak in the knees.

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