Blowfish – a deadly delicacy
You might already have recognized the puffy little fella on the right. If not from the nervous little character in Finding Nemo, then perhaps from the latest news that seven people in Northern Japan got seriously sick after eating blowfish testicles. “Three men remain hospitalized. They are heavily poisoned and their consciousness has been impaired,” said a police official.
How could this happen?
Blowfish – or fugu – is forbidden in Europe and in most of the U.S. In Korea and modern Japan it is still allowed under very strict conditions. Chefs need to obtain a special license to prepare the fish, which takes years of practice and a heavy exam.
The chef in northern Yamagata, didn’t have this license. It was the restaurant owner, offering his regular guests a little treat off-the-menu.
It is common knowledge in Japan that the skin and certain internal organs are highly toxic to humans. They contain tetrodotoxin, an exceptionally lethal poison. It is estimated that a single puffer has enough poison to kill 30 adult humans.
Gadling gives all the details about fugu, including why people still take the risk, in what way you will die and how to select a good restaurant to survive your own taste of fugu. The writer has the following to say about blowfish testicles: “Blowfish testicles can be eaten like grapes – although it’s something of an acquired taste, the flavor is reminiscent of salty milk. Delicious.“
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