Tasting danger

As I’ve written on this blog before, Tsukiji is about my favourite place in Tokyo. For anyone who’s interested in food – indeed in Japan – there is a lifetime’s worth of stuff to see, eat, learn and photograph.

These photos are from a long feature I did recently on fugu (blowfish). Someone I interviewed for a story on kamaboko very kindly introduced me to the main fugu dealer, Otsubo Suisan.

One of their staff holding a worried looking blowfish:

fugu photo

As you may know, fugu is famous mostly because it is (well, can be) incredibly poisonous. There’s a poison in the skin, gonads and especially liver of the fish that’s 1000 times the strength of cyanide.

This is Otsubo’s stall in the market.

The fish is so dangerous, and so expensive, that it has to be taken good care of. Fugu fillets are packed in these special boxes before being sent to customers.

This being Japan almost every part of the fish gets eaten. These are fugu fins for putting in hot sake.

I lucked out with this story because Otsubo’s owner invited me to his Ginza fugu restaurant. That is a 1 million yen solid silver fugu shaped tureen.

Classic fugu sashimi. You wrap the fugu around the chives and fugu skin in the center of the dish, then squeeze a little citrus over it.

Fugu, Oct 2009 – Images by Tony McNicol

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4 Responses to “Tasting danger”

  1. Tornadoes28 says:

    Did you eat the fugu? Were you a little nervous if you did? I don’t know if I would want to eat it.

  2. Nelly says:

    Hi, I love your blog and I read every entry. I think you have a very interesting job, I wish I was as talented as you are to make a living visiting such wonderful places.

    I’d love to try fugu, hopefully next time I visit Japan I’ll be able to do it. How was it?

    Did they open Tsukiji for tourists again?

  3. tony says:

    Yes, I certainly did eat the fugu. But can’t say I was nervous. Fugu poisonings are pretty rare, and even then almost always amateur fishermen who mistake the fugu for something else.

    Tsukiji is as open to tourists as ever!

  4. Nelly says:

    I see, so fugu poisonings are not really because of bad preparation.
    Glad to know Tsukiji is open to the tourists, I _must_ go there next time I visit Japan!

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