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The Fugu Puffer Fish a Dangerous Delicacy

The fugu puffer fish is a poisonous Japanese delicacy. Eating the fish can be fatal for humans. In lot of states, fugu fish are not allowed to be prepared due to the highly dangerous poison. In Japan, the consumption of the fugu puffer fish is both an important cultural asset and a luxury food.

Fugu puffer fish

The poisonous puffer fish is caught in various Japanese port cities. One of the most famous regions is the town of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture. In these regions there is a water temperature of 13 degrees on the seabed, preferred by the fish.

How is the fugu puffer fish prepared?

The non-toxic part of the meat is considered a special delicacy in selected Japanese restaurants. In order to be able to enjoy this, the poisonous body parts such as the liver, intestines and roe are removed. Depending on the species of fish, the skin, which also contains deadly tetrodotoxin, has to be removed using a special preparation technique. A special license is required for the preparation of different fish types in Asia. More popular one is swai fish(here’s more about it). The fugu puffer fish is not far behind. This also applies to fishing and trading these types of fish.

The genus Takifugu rubripes is only bred in captivity in order to avoid the danger of poison. Because the Takifugu rubripes is basically not poisonous, but forms this only through the ingestion of TTX-containing organisms. They are fed a special TTX-free feed during breeding. Because of this, this type of fugu is poison-free. In fact, there is no risk of death from poisoning when eaten in this way.

Which restaurants offer the dangerous specialty?

Fuguish – Japanese restaurants

In Japan, this type of fish is served in restaurants that specialize in preparing the expensive delicacy. A restaurant of this type is usually recognized by an inflated puffer fish in the entrance area. The dried fugu shows that the respective restaurant has a corresponding license. Consumption of the poisonous animal can be potentially fatal because the small fish contains enough poison tetrododoxin to kill an adult human.

That is precisely why the poisonous puffer fish is a spectacular delicacy that is known beyond Japan’s borders. Because in most other countries the preparation of the animal is strictly forbidden. In Japanese restaurants, the fugu may only be filleted by specially trained chefs. The deadly nerve poison is mainly contained in the internal organs of the animal. A Japanese cook has to take the fish apart and fillet it carefully with the greatest precision. This is the only way to guarantee the safety of the guest.

How does the boxfish taste?


A Japanese proverb says “Fugu wa kuitashi, inch wa oshishi” ( I want to eat puffer fish, but I depend on my life). With this proverb, the Japanese summed up the fascination for the consumption of this fish. Because theoretically it could be the last meal. Fortunately, the reported deaths from tetrodotoxin are now minimal, no more than 11 deaths in the past decade. The deaths can also be traced back to private households in which the boxfish was prepared.

How is a fugu meal served?

Fugu food

Fugu is often offered raw as sashimi as part of a full Japanese menu in a Fugu restaurant. The trained cook cuts the animal into very thin slices that are almost transparent. When eating, five to ten wafer-thin slices are picked up with the chopsticks and dipped in a little soy sauce. On the other hand, Fugu can also be prepared in the style of Karaage. This is a Japanese way of deep-frying. Another possibility is to enjoy the fugu in a hub, i.e. a soup.


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