Trying Fugu

By Michael Gakuran | | Journal | 4 Comments |

河豚 – River pig! Beloved blowfish. Admired for it’s quirkiness and puffiness. Forgive me for masticating on you. Absolve me from my consumption. But I did not taste the dreaded moudoku ( 猛毒), nor the dangerous kyoudoku (強毒) or the risky jyakudoku (弱毒), and quite thankfully, for they are poisons…

fuguThe particular pufferfish I ate is called shousaifugu in Japanese (below) and has deadly poison in its liver and ovaries and dangerous poison in its skin. Of course I wasn’t aware of that at the time, but trusted my host family with their word that virtually no-one dies from eating fugu in restaurants. I did spot the chef carefully slices the pieces of thin yellowish meat opposite the tank of lacklustre fugu fishes. One happened to be enjoying a swim upside down too… o.O;

Pufferfish have the toxin ‘tetrodotoxin’, a neurotoxin that causes paralysis while leaving the victim fully concious eventually to die usually within 4 to 24 hours of asphyxiation. It is a poison 1200 times more lethal than cyanide, according to Wikipedia. It is the same toxin found in the Blue Ringed Octopus, and is produced by the bacteria eaten with food. Therefore, puffers raised in captivity who have not been exposed to the bacteria are not poisonous. Wait, were the puffers I ate raised in captivity..?

標準和名  ショウサイフグ(潮騒河豚、潮前河豚)
分類     内海内湾魚介類 フグ目フグ科14
別名     スズメフグ、ナゴヤフグ、フグト、マフグ等
学名     Takifugu snyderi
分布     東北以南の海域
流通状況  旬の時期・稀  旬:冬
特徴     全長30cm程度。棘はない。背半に多数の小黒色が密に散在する。尻びれは白色で、胸びれ後方に黒色斑がない。特記事項:フグ毒。卵巣や肝臓に猛毒。皮膚や腸は強毒。可食部位は筋肉、精巣
調理法等  刺身、鍋物、唐揚げ、干物

Syousai Fugu

http://www.pref.aichi.jp/shokuhinkensa/z_sakana/18181190.html

Well, I still haven’t said what it was actually like… Between the sake and the sea urchin sushi, I guess it was rather bland and a little chewy, though no where near the mouthful the octopus tentacle was. I chewed on that thing for damn near half and hour and still had to force the battle-damaged tentacle down with water afterwards! It was sliced very thinly and arranged in a circular fashion around some sort of dressing. For the price and the risk I’d say it probably isn’t worth it, but there are some fish connoisseurs who would smack their lips and undoubtedly disagree I’m sure.

I was very full of fish by the end of it, and felt my head sliding a bit more than usual when I looked around the room. I guess I was slightly tipsy from the sake my host father kept ordering. It was a nice meal, and I slept in a comfortable, warm futon that night instead of my creaky, hard bed at AIU. I was up early the next morning to leave their house for my 9 o’clock lesson, should I not be paralysed…

Sites viewed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pufferfish#Puffer_fish_poisoning

http://www.answers.com/topic/fugu

http://www.coara.or.jp/~sueyoshi/data03/fugu01.html

4 comments on “Trying Fugu
  1. Mike says:

    That’s interesting! I guess only the real hardcores would eat the liver, as that appears to be where the poison is located in the majority of puffers… I don’t think I’ll be attempting that any time soon ^_^;

  2. Mike says:

    That’s interesting! I guess only the real hardcores would eat the liver, as that appears to be where the poison is located in the majority of puffers… I don’t think I’ll be attempting that any time soon ^_^;

  3. Jenni says:

    I hear that to truly appreciate fugu you have to eat the liver as well… the flesh of the fish is almost completely fat free, so has very little taste, but the liver is fatty and rich, which makes the perfect complement to the sashimi. Such a shame that it is deadly if not prepared correctly!

  4. Jenni says:

    I hear that to truly appreciate fugu you have to eat the liver as well… the flesh of the fish is almost completely fat free, so has very little taste, but the liver is fatty and rich, which makes the perfect complement to the sashimi. Such a shame that it is deadly if not prepared correctly!

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