Blowfish, 'washoku' win Michelin stars as Tokyo keeps gourmet crown

By Elaine Lies

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Blowfish (fugu) is extremely dangerous. In Shimonoseki, people use plenty of water for each. Be careful. If any portion of intestant liquid stayed, and if you eat, you die. Goumet or not, I will avoid.

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The blowfish, (Fugu) deceivingly gentle-looking, has a gallbladder that contains a powerful poison. The slightest contamination of the flesh portion by this poison in the cleaning process makes the whole fish deadly. Eating blowfish liver is like playing Russian roulette with your teeth - only the odds are worse.

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The idea that the fish itself is poisonous is pretty much outdated.

It's the bacteria which live in its gut that do the damage. Hence the need for thorough cleaning.

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The skin and white flesh of the fugu are safe to eat and delicious if properly prepared. But. beware the liver, eggs and ovaries. They cause swift death.

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Crazy Joe is right. Fugu preparers use about 4 large bucketful of water to washout. Internal liver etc is very poisonous. Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi ken are famous on /fugu delicassen. One of old legend is that a child emperor Andoku was poisoned and dead there, There is old Antoku Shrine there, I never ate but Shimonoseki people told me that eating while scared create more appetite. Only freshly captured Fugu. So, I doube bacteria.

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While the blowfish is certainly a fish to be handled expertly, there is a lot of hoo-haa over it. The mystique has built to urban legend status over the years, much to the delight of the industry and fanned of course by media blowups and The Simpsons.

As I understand farmed blowfish - which accounts for a large % - is not dangerous, as the toxin producing bacteria come from the natural food that those in the wild eat.

I would suspect more people die of mushroom poisoning, shellfish poisoning or offal poisoning than blowfish, but they don't have the exotic thrill of the dicing-with-death narrative of the almighty blowfish.

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Yamaguchi Univ, and many Univ had research on Fugu, You can get info there, Yanaguchi U headquartered in Yamaguchi City,

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Nothing like hot fugu nabe in the winter. Fugu karaage on the bone is a favorite of mine too. It's so delicious that I even prefer it to fugu sashimi.

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While all you gluttons are gloating about the taste of blowfish and bragging about how good Japanese cuisine is, the tiger blowfish is an extremely endangered species and under threat of extinction due to overfishing by the Japanese. But, as long as you get some it's ok, right?

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I've eaten Fugu, it doesn't taste anything special, people eat it because it's dangerous, why risk your life even if there is a 1% chance you might die for something that tastes so bland.

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I''ve eaten Fugu, it doesn't taste anything special

That could be said of most other washoku dishes. All fairly bland. I'm surprised we get so many TV shows of people shrieking about how delicious food in a restaurant is, when presumably they know exactly what traditional food tastes like anyway, and it doesn't taste of much.

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@gogogo: boiled, I think safe. I was writing about sashimi. I think voiled or steak type, I wouldn't worry. Thanks for info.

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I reckon Fugu has hardly any taste, the texture is quite nice though.

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That could be said of most other washoku dishes. All fairly bland

I used to think so when I ate food that emphasized "sozai no aji," or the actual taste of the elements. For many westerners, vegetables without much salt or spices tastes "bland." Actually, they are trying to draw out the subtleties and tastes that the ingredients themselves offer. After eating my wife's cooking for many years (especially "usu aji" as she tries to reduce salt / sugar intake for our kids) I've come to appreciate washoku a lot more. Of course you are perfectly entitled to disagree.

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Tokyo may have good restaurants but not the best food in Japan.

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"Washoku and the Blowfish" would be a great band name.

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This is the blowfish restaurant Blowfish prices start at two man a head.

I've eaten Fugu, it doesn't taste anything special, people eat it because it's dangerous, why risk your life even if there is a 1% chance you might die for something that tastes so bland.

I agree with you but humans are famous for doing things that are dangerous but do not kill them, from extreme sports, and roller coasters to foods that contain poisons, such as blowfish and the snakes popular in Taiwan. Along the same continuum are foods which are just painful, so called benign masochism foods Which we eat to get the feeling of "mind over body" -- we can do and eat things that are dangerous or painful. Challenges would be another way of putting it. I say "kimodameshi" foods to my students.

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