fugu sashi 
Author Message
 fugu sashi

Has anyone out there been to Japan?  If so, have you ever tried fugu
sashi?  Fugu is the blowfish that is reputed to be a delicacy yet
poisonous.

I'm going to Japan in a couple of days, and my husband has shanghaied
me into going to a fugu restaurant.  Like the Monty Python "SPAM"
routine, they only serve fugu.  How safe is this fish?

Nervously awaiting your replies,

--Lynn



Mon, 19 Apr 1993 05:52:00 GMT
 fugu sashi

Quote:

>Has anyone out there been to Japan?  If so, have you ever tried fugu
>sashi?  Fugu is the blowfish that is reputed to be a delicacy yet
>poisonous.

There was an entire chapter devoted to a discussion of the Fugu sushi
phenomenon in the book "The Serpent and the Rainbow". The book was primarily
about Voodoo and zombies (clearly Garry Trudeau read this book right before
the Uncle Duke zombie episode). I have no first-hand experience at eating
fugu, but I can tell you what this book says.

Fugu is a species of poisonous puffer fish. Certain parts of its body contain
a powerful neurotoxin. That neurotoxin, in large doses, is used to "zombie"
people in Haiti: it paralyzes the body so completely that the body seems
clinically dead.

Japanese fugu enthusiasts enjoy flirting with death, and they especially
enjoy the LSD-like "high" that comes from eating a sub-lethal amount of the
toxin. Supposedly if you eat a little bit of the toxin, you get a very
enjoyable drug experience. If you eat a bit more, you turn into a zombie. If
you eat more than that, you die. Japanese custom is that when someone appears
to have died from eating fugu (it happens altogether too often), they are not
buried for some long time afterwards, just on the off chance that they are
not actually dead and might in fact recover. Frequently they do: there is a
considerable medical literature in Japan of people who supposedly died from
fugu poisoning, but then suddenly came back to life as the toxin wore off.

There are certain organs that are known to contain high concentrations of the
toxin. I believe that one of them was the liver. Fugu chefs are specially
trained to recognize how close to the poisoned organs they can get away with
cutting, keeping in mind that their customers generally want the largest
sublethal dose possible, in order to maximize the "buzz" that they get from
the fugu.

I do not remember the name of the neurotoxin in question; I don't suppose it
really matters.



Mon, 19 Apr 1993 14:31:00 GMT
 fugu sashi

Quote:

>Has anyone out there been to Japan?  If so, have you ever tried fugu
>sashi?  Fugu is the blowfish that is reputed to be a delicacy yet
>poisonous.

>I'm going to Japan in a couple of days, and my husband has shanghaied
>me into going to a fugu restaurant.  Like the Monty Python "SPAM"
>routine, they only serve fugu.  How safe is this fish?

>Nervously awaiting your replies,

>--Lynn

My understanding is that blowfish is indeed a dangerous food--a leading cause
of death of young executives in Japan.  Eating fagu is a macho thing to do
there, most likely because it is so dangerous.  If it is expertly prepared,
very little paralyzing poison is found in the food.  Nevertheless, the first
morsel makes your tongue tingle, the second numbs it.  The third bite is the
most macho since it can be fatal.  It is all folly, however, because the
slightest miscalculation in preparation and (not to be melodramatic) the first
bite could be your last. Good luck.

(This reminds me of the story where a man's first six wives die of mushroom
poisoning, and the seventh of a broken neck because she didn't like mushrooms.)



Mon, 19 Apr 1993 19:05:00 GMT
 fugu sashi

Quote:
> I do not remember the name of the neurotoxin in question; I don't suppose it
> really matters.

TetrodoToxin.  Blocks Na+ channels in cardiac muscle etc.


Mon, 19 Apr 1993 01:19:00 GMT
 fugu sashi

Quote:


>>Has anyone out there been to Japan?  If so, have you ever tried fugu
>>sashi?  Fugu is the blowfish that is reputed to be a delicacy yet
>>poisonous.

>There was an entire chapter devoted to a discussion of the Fugu sushi
>phenomenon in the book "The Serpent and the Rainbow". The book was primarily
>about Voodoo and zombies (clearly Garry Trudeau read this book right before
>the Uncle Duke zombie episode).

        Following this we have a perfect example of taking a sensational book
as serious, factual reporting. And why you shouldn't.

Quote:

>Fugu is a species of poisonous puffer fish. Certain parts of its body contain
>a powerful neurotoxin. That neurotoxin, in large doses, is used to "zombie"
>people in Haiti: it paralyzes the body so completely that the body seems
>clinically dead.

>Japanese fugu enthusiasts enjoy flirting with death, and they especially
>enjoy the LSD-like "high" that comes from eating a sub-lethal amount of the
>toxin. Supposedly if you eat a little bit of the toxin, you get a very
>enjoyable drug experience. If you eat a bit more, you turn into a zombie. If

>There are certain organs that are known to contain high concentrations of the
>toxin. I believe that one of them was the liver. Fugu chefs are specially
>trained to recognize how close to the poisoned organs they can get away with
>cutting, keeping in mind that their customers generally want the largest
>sublethal dose possible, in order to maximize the "buzz" that they get from
>the fugu.

        Wrong wrong wrong. Yes it is poisonous. Yes people do eat it. And yes,
sometimes people have died of it. But Japanese fugu enthusiasts eat it because
it TASTE GOOD. And the chefs (and the restuarants) are licensed because it is
a powerfull toxin, and you don't want to poison your guests.
        By all reports the taste is excellent, and this bozo is way off base.
Unless he forgot the :-).

--
*******************************************************************************
Later y'all,             Vnend            Ignorance is the Mother of Adventure.




Mon, 19 Apr 1993 17:26:00 GMT
 
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