Fugu – 河豚

Fugu is one of Japanese favorite dishes, also known as pufferfish. When a fugu fish feels that a predator is near them they increase their size many times acquiring a globus-shape while he expels one of the most lethal poisons in the world called tetrodoxin.


This is a dead Fugu I found dead walking in a japanese beach.

Japanese restaurants that want to prepare fugu need a special license. This license warranties that there is a chef in the restaurant that has the required training, knowledge and skills to cut fugu in way that all poison inside the body is removed. Most of the poison is inside the lever and ovaries, it is mandatory to remove them before eating. The problem is that there are some old Japanese that believe that “a little bit of fugu’s poison” is not bad at all, it gives more flavor to the dish (Crazy people!). Fugu’s intoxication kills one or two Japanese every year.

Dead from fugu’s poison ingestion seems to be horrible. The poison paralyzes your neural system but it doesn’t enter your blood flux, the victim is conscious till he dies and can feel how he starts loosing muscle mobility till the point that he can’t even talk. At the end you die from asphyxia.

Even know all this things about fugu I ate it many times (In restaurants with license 😉 ) and I’m sill alive like Home Simpson that also ate fugu in one of The Simpson’s chapters. I like it but is not really what I would call something delicious, I prefer som other fish. Fugu’s meat is greasy and when you eat it feels like a non flavor gelatin. What I like the most about fugu restaurants is Japanese sake with fugu’s fin inside, it’s called “hire-sake”, don’t forget this if you ever have the opportunity to go to a fugu restaurant.


A fugu at Super Mario.

9 Replies to “Fugu – 河豚”

  1. I know it´s and old japanese song that says “Fugu wa kuitashii, inochi wa oshishii” or “I want to eat fugu, but I don’t want to die.”

    Jeje…tetrodoxin is so dangerous

    Nevertheless, I want to try it, it seems delicious.

  2. Fish tastes like fish. I don’t notice any differences between any kind of fish.

    I guess japanese people have a special taste for them, I just don’t have it.

  3. >The problem is that there are some old Japanese that believe that “a little bit of fugu’s poison” is not bad at all, it gives more flavor to the dish (Crazy people!).

    That’s not just old people, it’s everyone. The proper way to cut the fish is to let a small amount of the poison in – it’s what gives your mouth a numb feeling when you eat it. That’s the whole point of eating fugu.

    On a side note, fugu bred in captivity have no poison. The poison is formed because of bacteria the fish picks up from food it eats in the wild.

  4. Looking at your post with the picure, I’ve just realized a blow fish is spelled with two characters in Japanese: one meaning “river” and the other meaning “pig..” Fugu is a pig of the river.

  5. Apparently the fugu served in most places in Japan today is not really poisonous anyway. Also just after the war a lot of starving people would steal the thrown-away parts of fugu from the bins of hotels and eat it without knowing what it was, the deaths were a major problem so resturants had to start using locks on their bins!

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