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The Fugu (トラフグ) is the Japanese puffer fish (Fugu is Japanese for “puffer fish”). The puffer fish is a member of the Tetraodontidae family. Though the word “Fugu” is used to describe multiple types of puffer fish, Fugu is also the name of a specific type of puffer fish in Japan that is used in food.

Puffer fish are a celebrated Japanese food dish. Puffer fish are poisonous, with enough poison to kill those that eat it. However, when prepared correctly, the poison is not activated. Thus puffer fish have become one of the most well known Japanese cuisine’s due to its inherent risk.

All puffer fish are classified as the second most poisonous vertebrae in the world, next to the Poison frog. The poison is stored in their liver and ovaries.


Puffer Fish

There are over 185 different species of puffer fish in the puffer fish family. Only a few of these, including Fugu, are edible.

The puffer fish is famous for its ability to expand its abdomen and make itself appear larger than it actually is, giving them time to escape from a predator. That unusual behavior has made them one of the most well known fish in the world, despite being not that in comparison to other species.

Puffer fish are also incredibly poisonous. Bacteria in their stomach and abdomen create a poison known as “Tetrodotoxin” which is so deadly that it is estimated that a single puffer fish has enough poison to kill 30 humans, and is 100 times more poisonous than cyanide. Puffer fish do need to be exposed to the bacteria to have the poison, so it is possible that puffer fish raised in captivity are not poisonous.

The Fugu

The Fugu is the name of a specific type of puffer fish that is found off the coast of Japan and in certain areas around China and in the Pacific Ocean.

The Fish

It is about 70 centimeters in length. It is incredibly toxic, filled with a great deal of the tetrodotoxin that the puffer fish are known for. The Species’ actual name is “Rubripes.”

The Food

The Fugu has a very light flavor, which some people do not appreciate. Due to its toxicity, you must be licensed if you hope to prepare the food. Though some food connoisseurs think that the flavor is delicious, most people only enjoy eating the food because of the inherent risk.

The cost of a Fugu dish starts at 2000 yen but can be as much as 20000 yen or more depending on the degree of preparation and the restaurant. The fins are often fried and served with Sake, while the rest is simmered with vegetables or served with salad.

It is not uncommon for some chefs to leave a very tiny amount of the poison so that the lips and tongue tingle, but be wary that it does not take very much for the poison to take effect, so one should only eat that type of meal from a chef without a long history of success cooking the dish.

Fugu is sold in other areas of the world including Egypt and South Korea. It is banned in the European Union and only 17 places are licensed to use the fish in the United States.

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