Fugu Eaters - I Need You!
I need people who have eaten the Japanese Fugu Fish. I'm looking for good and bad experiences - What did it taste like? Why did you try it? Were you aware of the potential danger of eating the fish? Where did you eat it? And any other details that are interesting would be great.
Also let me know if you are in the LA area - thanks so much for taking the time to read my post!
It's usually just called fugu or tora-fugu (tiger fugu), not Japanese Fugu Fish. If you do a search, you will find many threads on the topic as someone usually brings it up once or twice a year. Fugu seems to be overly mystified in the U.S. The poison sacs are removed by very skilled, licensed chefs. In cooked form the flesh is white and delicate, really almost bland, in taste . It's fried or served in hot pot with a light broth. It's better as thinly shaved sashimi (usuzukuri) where the flesh is translucent. Appeal is not in the flavor of the fish, but in the toothsome feel of chewing it. It's usually served with chopped green onions and a ponzu dipping sauce. Again, do a search here and you will find plenty of discussion and other's experience. You should be post on the LA board if you are looking for specific location based restaurant recs.
You can get a very similar experience to Fugu Sashi by having Kawahagi, a non-poisonous tough-skinned fish that's used just like Fugu. For Sashimi it's done in the Usuzukuri style (http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... ), and the fins are roasted and steeped in Sake for a pleasant Hirezake (http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam... ).
Only the rare Sushi bar will carry it, though my regular Sushi bar, Kaito Sushi in North San Diego County, has featured it several times this season, including this weekend! (http://sushikaito.com/SushiBlog.aspx)
As for myself I never had Fugu as part of the classical Fugu meal, but had it either as a soup or porridge, I can't recall which, while travelling with family in Japan.
Although I've lived in ny for 20 yrs. I'm from Japan and still go back there. Yes, I've eaten fugu many times. It'll probably taste very blunt for Americans. Also, what Americans don't seem to know or understand is that as long as you don't eat liver of fugu and eat fugu which is cooked by licensed chef, you'll NOT die or it's SAFE. However, liver is the best part of fugu(many things) and some stupid people try to it and every year a few people die.
I had my first experience with fugu in NYC at Morimot's restauraunt. It was part of the omakase that night. The dish consisted of the flesh, sliced very thin, and a small pile of chopped "pieces" of the fish. The pieces in my opinion, were the best part. It included some cartiledge, and skin, and some other unidentifiable things. Neither the flesh or the pieces had a significant taste. Pretty bland as a matter of fact. But it was the texture. The flesh was "toothsome" as described in previous post. The pieces were a bit chewier and more satisfying to sink your teeth into, in my opinion. The dish was served in the traditional style, with sliced green onions and ponzu sauce. It was nice to try it, but to be honest, it was pretty expensive, I'm not sure that I would do it again. However, the overall meal at Morimotos was probably one of the best I have ever had!