Fugu is an expensive delicacy in Japan, and another of Osaka’s famous foods courtesy of the large 3D blowfish signs outside Tsuboraya on iconic Dotonbori street. The name Fugu came from two Chinese characters meaning “river” and “pig” – is also known as the pufferfish or blowfish. Yes, this is the famous blowfish that’s poisonous if not prepared properly! Although statistically you’re more likely to die eating shellfish in the united states than from eating fugu in Japan, the risk remains and eating fugu is a popular thrill-seeking activity for tourists to Japan. I like to think of it as skydiving for your stomach. :)
Aside from its expensive price and unique chewy texture, Fugu became popular because of its poison, tetrodotoxin. The poison is found in the fugu’s skin, internal organs and other body parts – means fugu is 200-1000 more poisonous than cyanide! Because of this poison, fugu is regulated by Japanese law and chefs must go through intensive training for years to gain the certification that allows them to prepare the fish for human consumption.
Traditionally Winter is the best season to eat fugu because they come closer to Japan coasts and are easier to catch, but you can generally eat fugu all year round.
There are many types of fugu foods (which in Osaka are also called “teppo” or “tetsu” dishes), such as “tessa” (fugu sashimi), “tecchiri” (fugu hot pot), “fugu karaage” (deep-fried fugu), “yaki-fugu” (grilled fugu), “hire-zake” (sake made with roasted fugu fins)
Price per person:
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- Where can I eat it? -
Fugu is available in many specialist restaurants all over Osaka. Because of the special training required to prepare it, fugu is not a dish found in most restaurants, they tend to specialise. Fugu restaurants are often identifiable by the cute round fugu signs, like outside "Zuboraya" stores. One of our favorite places is near Namba. Look for "Zuboraya" in the restaurant guide. Click the link below to access it directly.