Fugu, a Japanese food specialty, also known as pufferfish or pufferfish, is so toxic that the slightest mistake in its preparation can be fatal for the consumer. Despite this, the town hall of Tokyo is considering easing current restrictions that only allow highly trained chefs to prepare and serve this delicacy.

The preparation of Fugu is extremely regulated by law in Japan and in other countries and it is only after 3 or 4 years of very strict training that the chefs, handpicked, can prepare this fish. Every year, amateurs try it at home, which leads to a number of accidental deaths.

Fugu is served in sashimi and chirinabe. Some people consider the liver to be the tastiest part, but unfortunately it is also the most toxic. As a result, its service in restaurants was banned in Japan in 1984. Fugu has become one of the most famous dishes in Japanese cuisine.

Fugu dish in the form of sashimi
Fugu dish in the form of sashimi

The fugu contains a lethal dose of a poison called tetrodotoxin in its organs, especially in the liver, ovaries and eyes, while its skin is not poisonous. The poison paralyzes the muscles of the victim who remains conscious. She then has more and more difficulty in breathing and dies slowly from asphixia. The poison in fugu is 1,200 times stronger than cyanide and has no antidote. The only way to survive poisoning is to assist the respiratory and cardiovascular systems until the poison is naturally eliminated from the victim’s body.


Advances in research and aquaculture have made it possible to mass produce non-toxic fugus. The researchers hypothesized that the poison in fugu actually comes from other animals it consumes that contain tetrodotoxin and that the fish develop their immunity over time. Many aquaculturists breed non-toxic runaways by controlling their food intake. Usuki, a town in the Oita prefecture, has made a specialty of selling non-toxic fugu.

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Disgusted face

If you want to consume fugu, I recommend that you do so in Japan because Japan is the only country that strictly controls its preparation. A dish of fugu costs between ¥ 2,000 and ¥ 5,000, or between 15 and 40 euros. For a full meal, it takes between ¥ 10,000 and ¥ 20,000 (80 ~ 160 euros). Because of its price, chefs cut the fish very carefully in order to obtain the largest possible amount of meat. For this, they use a special knife, the fugu-hiki, which is usually stored separately from other knives.

Source: Risky Japanese Delicacy: puffer fish (Fugu)

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