Fugu Fish in Japan: a delicacy for Flashpackers

Japan is a very popular Flashpacking destination. Probably because you have a great culture, combined with excellent healthy (and quite cheap food) and of course it’s a technology paradise.

One of the rules of Flashpacking is while in a certain destination try local delicacies even if they’re not the cheapest choice available. Where else would you get them anyway? Is it worth to travel that far and get the same food you’ll get at home? So while a Backpacker would eat sandwiches for a week in order to afford a bungee jump, for a Flashpacker food is indeed a big part of the travel.

And what’s that delicacy that you can find only (as far as we know) in Japan? Fugu of course!

Fugu, also know as Pufferfish or Blowfish is famous for being a fish extremely tasty, but extremely dangerous as well. The fish contains a venom which is lethal and at the moment there’s no antidote either.

As a consequence only highly qualified chefs can clean it and prepare it. The legend says you have to study 8 years in order to be able to prepare it, although I wasn’t able to find good references for this story.

As a consequence ordering Fugu at a restaurant is indeed very expensive, and I guess it’s one of those things were you don’t really want to go for a less-known-but-cheaper restaurant.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a Fugu-based dinner in Tokyo, and the fish came in cooked (or not cooked) in all sorts. First we had it in a sort of carpaccio way, as a starter.

Then they presented us the (still pulsing) chopped bits. The meatier part came deep fried, kind of nuggets style. Finally the (previously still pulsing) bits were brought again, this time to be cooked by us hotpot style.

Maybe the excitement of the event – knowing that a little mistake of the chef would have meant that this was the last meal I would have – made my judgment less objective, but I can assure you that the fish meat was one of the best I’ve ever tried. And as you can tell I survived the experience. Unfortunately as we were brought to the restaurant by car and the dinner was offered by one of my friends’ father I am unable to give you information about the restaurant or the price.

I guess that’s another one ticked off from the bucket list. What about you? Would you put on your list of things to do before you die (meaning not immediately before you die)?

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