Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Puffer fish (河豚, 雞泡魚)

One evening we went into a restaurant in Tokyo that specialized in eels.  One of the kimono-clad lady servers taught us how to eat the rice 2 different ways.  First bowl - mix the eel with rice.  Second bowl - add the soup, wasabi and strips of seaweed to the mix.   That was fun.  The eel was so good that it practically melted in our mouths.

My wife also spotted a dish of deep fried puffer fish on the menu.  Of course we had to try it.   For 1,200 yen we got a puffer fish, probably about 8 inches long, chopped into 3 pieces and then fried golden yellow.  The meat was white and firm, yet tender and tasty.   Perhaps more importantly, none of us got sick from eating it.     

I heard that the poison is mainly in the intestines such as the liver and the ovaries, and sometimes in the skin.   Puffers are not believed to produce their own poison.  The poison comes from the shell fish that puffers eat, which are then stored in the puffers’ intestines. Puffers kept in farms or ponds with controlled diets are not poisonous.  Prepared properly, even wild-catch puffer is OK.  In this regard, we believe we can trust the Japanese in doing a good job. 

A few years ago, I had eaten the skin of a puffer fish in China.  They skinned the fish, without removing the scales from the skin.  The skin was then folded inside out so that the scales were wrapped inside.  And the whole skin was just swallowed.  Looking back, it was probably a little reckless. 


YTSL said...

I ate fugu in Japan at a specialty fugu restaurant in Osaka -- but also have eaten bits of fugu in Hong Kong. At no time did I get that tingly sensation that I was expecting -- and hoping -- to have... Ah well! But, OTOH, I guess I should thank my lucky stars I didn't get sick from eating bits of the fish as well! :D

StephenC said...

Yeah, next time I am in Japan I would like to try some fugu sashimi. I wouldn't dare to try that in Hong Kong though.

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