While the fishing seasons here in Canada are giving way to the cold and soon ice, our good friend Adam Guy, has brought us another great featured article all the way from Japan. Again, Adam does a great job of taking us from the past, to the present, to the dinner table in exploration of theFugu.
Eating Fugu is certainly not something you hear about everyday in North America, but surely everyone should recall the fish that almost killed Homer Simpson (One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish), a great pop-culture tidbit that cannot escape even Adams article.
Nearly a year has passed since my last article for Fishing Fury, entitled ‘A Different Kind of Fishing’, where I described fishing for gobies in Tokyo Bay. Here I would like to introduce another traditional Japanese fishing technique, quite unrelated but probably as obscure to most Western anglers, known in Japanese as kattō, which is a method, or rather a specific type of tackle, for catching Fugu (the fish known variously in English as pufferfish, globefish or blowfish) for human consumption.
“To be poisoned by Fugu is to be shot with a musket: both are deadly”.
So goes the old Japanese saying, revealing how even in the age of black powder the potency of the poison of the Fugu was known to the natives of these shores. In the West too, Fugu poison has been known for many years; Captain Cook documented its effects (and those of Ciguatera poisoning) in his second voyage of discovery in the 1770s. However, the flesh of the Fugu is not poisonous and is a highly prized and very expensive delicacy in Japan. In purely culinary terms, Fugu is quite a versatile ingredient that possesses a unique texture, lending it to a number of different methods of preparation. The very high prices paid for Fugu meals give it a rather hallowed status and is considered quite the indulgence, whilst the apparent danger associated with such a poisonous fish imbues the diner with a sense of daring or adventure. In fact, the gourmand’s name for raw Fugu, tessa, is an ironic term derived from the phrase teppō sashimi, or ‘musket sashimi’. However, with the correct preparation Fugu can be enjoyed quite safely and here in Japan, especially in the eastern Kantō region, the hungry fisherman can indulge himself in Fugu dishes that normally command prohibitively high prices in exclusive restaurants.
As it turns out another of Adams great contributions, the best photos I’ve seen of the tounge eating fish parasite, was recently linked from the Science Made Cool blog.
Great job Adam!