KOYAMA
hirohisa

NAMAMURA
koumei

ISHINABE
yutaka

SAKAI
hiroyuki

KOBE
masahiko

CHIN
kenichi

KUMAGAI
kihachi




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What is fugu (blowfish or pufferfish) really and is it really deadly poisonous?
Edible fugu are several varieties belonging to the large pufferfish family. In Japan fugu is very popular--only becoming so in the last twenty years--especially in the Kansai region (around Osaka).
The most commonly consumed fugu today is farm raised and generally benign if not flat-out safe. Fugu caught in the wild, however, must be treated much more carefully, which is why in Japan a license is required for anyone who handles fugu in restaurants or fish shops.
There are two levels of certification. One type allows the person to break down the fish from its live state, handling the disposal of the poisonous internal organs; the other type, the most commonly held certification, allows one to handle the flesh of the cleaned fish sold at certified shops.
You might have read that despite the precautions every year one or more people die from eating fugu. Such cases usually involve inexperienced fishermen eating fugu they've just caught.
Despite--or in some cases because of--the perceived risk, fugu is expensive and in high demand. It is served in various ways and many fugu restaurants serve multi-course meals in which fugu figures in every one. The most common way to eat fugu is as very thin sashimi with delicious ponzu sauce. It's also common to find the meat around the bones, the tastiest part, served in a big stew pot--chirinabe. The fins of fugu are dried, roasted and served steeped in hot sake, producing a fabulous sake tea.

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