Fugu is a Japanese puffer fish. And before we talk any more about it, first thing’s first: its liver and other organs are extremely toxic.
You should never, ever prepare fugu yourself.The toxin that’s found throughout parts of the fugu’s body is so potent, it’s over 1,000 times more deadly than cyanide. So, seriously... don’t.
Yet despite the risk fugu presents, it’s been eaten in Japan and China for centuries, if not millenia. In modern times, your best bet to experience this fish is in Japan, where specially-licensed chefs are the only ones legally allowed to prepare it. These highly-trained practitioners apprentice for at least two years to become licensed and have to take a written and practical exam — and most who take these exams fail.
Even when fugu is served by these specialists, diners will sometimes feel minor effects of its toxin as a slight numbing sensation on the lips and elsewhere.
So with all the danger surrounding fugu, why eat it? Well, simply put, it’s a delicacy. And because of the scarcity of people who can prepare it and establishments where you can get it, it’s also super expensive. Outside of Japan, it’s even harder to find; there’s only a couple restaurants in the US that are trained to serve it (mostly in New York), and it’s banned in the EU. If you can someday try fugu, you’ll likely eat it as sashimi or in soup, or with grilled fins served alongside sake.
Give it a try someday. If you dare.
EnglishJapanese Puffer Fish