How many food items do you know of that could lead to immediate death? Fugu is one of the most fascinating and notorious dishes in the world. Prized in Japan as a delicacy, it is prepared from the flesh of the pufferfish (Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish). The flesh itself is edible, but the skin, liver and ovaries contain lethal amounts of the poison tetrododoxin. If these any of these elements are consumed, then the effects are often deadly. Japanese chefs who prepare Fugu endure as much training as American doctors to prepare it. The chefs must memorize the exact layout of the fish and where every drop of poison is, before they are allowed to serve and prepare it. In Tokyo, which has one of the most rigorous programs, training takes from five to seven years, and includes an apprenticeship and an exam. Fugu is the only food in which the emperor was not allowed to eat. Those who eat Fugu report a sensation of novacaine as if they were just injected by a dentist. Tetrodotoxin is allegedly 160,000 more potent than cocaine, and 1250 times deadlier than cyanide.
The taste is described by many as “heavenly,” a mild white meat, like chicken, with a unique crunchy texture.