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Fugu : pufferfish


Fugu is pufferfish prepared by professional chefs and served as a Japanese speciality at high class restaurants. Western Japan such as Yamaguchi prefecture, and Osaka are famous places where fugu-dishes are created, and after the Pacific war, fugu-dishes were spread all over Japan.

In Yamaguchi prefecture, it is often pronounced “fuku” because the meaning fugu reminds the word “fuguu” (不遇) meaning misfortune, and “fuku” (福) means good fortune. In Kansai region, it is called “teppou,” which means gun, because if the poisonous parts are eaten, it can kill a person like a gun does.

Since fugu carries lethal poison called tetrodotoxin in some parts, only trained and certified chefs can prepare fugu, and serve at restaurants. The Japanese law strictly controls the preparation of fugu, and the fugu chefs require at least three years of careful training to achieve the certification.

The well prepared one can be served either raw or cooked. Fugusashi is most well known and popular style to eat raw fugu sashimi. The characteristic of fugu meat is that the fiber is strong and therefore it has to be sliced very thinly so it can be easily chewed. The most common way to serve fugusashi is to place sashimi on a large round plate flattery, like a blooming flower.

Fugunabe is also a popular way to eat fugu. Broth using kelp is be used, and the fugu meat, bones, and vegetables will be put into a earthenware pot, and simmered. The regular dipping sauce used is citrus vinegar, also used for fugusashi. For Edomae, Tokyo style fugunabe, sweet and sour stock using soy sauce and sugar were preferred.

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