PufferFish Delicacy Fugu 🐡
The Japanese delicacy fugu, or blowfish, is so poisonous that the smallest mistake in its preparation could be fatal. The tetrodotoxin found in fugu is more toxic than cyanide, and each year about 20 people are poisoned from badly prepared fish. It takes a lot of skill and training to prepare the fish safely and know which parts are poisonous.
The Japanese government tightly control who can prepare fugu, and chefs need to take an extensive exam before they’re legally allowed to serve the fish. This rigorous regulation means that while the fish can be lethal, far more people die from eating oysters than fugu each year.
There are over 120 species of puffer fish, and 22 different kinds are approved by the Japanese government for use in restaurants. But one is more prized, and more poisonous, than the others: torafugu, or tiger puffer fish.
Wild torafugu is often found at high-end restaurants, where it’s served as perfectly thinly sliced sashimi, deep-fried, and even used to make a hot sake called hirezake. Yamadaya has been serving puffer fish for over 100 years. Their fugu is caught in southern Japan and airlifted alive to their Tokyo restaurants.
In Haedomari Market the fugu is auctioned off using a bag and hidden hand signals. Each potential buyer puts their hand in the bag and makes their bid secretly, before a successful bidder is chosen.
Fugu has a very mild whitefish-like flavor with a pure and clean quality to it. Its taste is subtle which is fairly unique for seafood, and is part of why the dish is sought after. Its texture will vary significantly depending on how it is cooked.