Our Poison Fish Dinner in Osaka
Puffer Fish or Ballooon fish (also known as the “Poisonous Fish” – Fugu) is a dangerous delicacy. If not processed properly, you could die almost instantly after you eat it. Within walking distance from the Namba station of Osaka, we arrvied at this restaurant just about dinner time. You could see the fugu “aquarium”…
just outside of the restaurant.
Also this – examples of what you can order in this restaurant.
I think we had a course (meal set). The first to show up on the table was the sashimi dishes. The white slices to the left is the fugu sashimi. Very tasty and nothing like other fish sashimi you ever had before! The green bowl in the middle contains the fish skin cut in strips. It was very crispy; like the texture of konjac.
The next interesting thing is the Hirezake (Japanese rice wine with burnt fugu fin). The waiter will “burn” the fin of the fugu in front of you and drop it into the sake then put the lid on. When you open it again, there’ll be a pungent smell of a BBQ’ed fish in the sake. It’s very special and one of those you either like it or don’t like it thingy. Then you can take the fin out after some time if you want to.
This is not any ordinary tempura. The one to the right is actually the milt of a fish (probably fugu’s?!)
Then it was time for our do-it-ourself hotpot! On our table we had a basket with special paper and semi-clear broth in there for us to cook these (see below). The trasnparent slices are the fugu skin and the meat is the fugu meat! You could actually find quite a bit of those balloon fish thick “spikes” when you eat it so need to be careful.
After we were done with the shabu shabu (hotpot), the waiteress came with a big tray of cooking ingredients to prepare The following dish. Basically she uses the broth that was used to cook all the veggies and fugu meat earlier as the base. Then poured steamed rice and eggs and some spring onions into it.
Then the waitress will ask you to taste it to see if it’s ok (salty enough or needs other adjustments).
Then this completes the set!
From the restaurant’s website you can get some insight on the history of Torafugu (tiger puffer fish) Cuisine:
Pufferfish (“fugu”) has a long history in Japan as food, dating back to the Jomon era about 10,000 years ago from which fugu bones have been unearthed. During the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1598 – 1600), a significant number of samurai lost their lives eating fugu, which resulted in Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a feudal warlord, issuing a law prohibiting fugu consumption in order to prevent death by fugu poison.
Later, with the invention of miso paste and soy sauce during the Edo period (1603 – 1867) and the general development of Japanese food culture, fugu became increasingly popular and eventually, in the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the prime minister at the time lobbied to lift the ban on fugu, having been so impressed by the delicacy. Since the 1940’s, upscale fugu cuisine has gained a place in the national cuisine, with the center of fugu culture being Yamaguchi and Osaka prefectures. Full fugu course meals spread and became popular across the country.
The restaurant is actually a chain so you don’t necessarily need to be in Osaka to have this. You can check out a list of their locations on the restaurant’s website.
玄品ふぐ Genpin Fugu Puffer Fish Restaurant
A: 阪府大阪市中央区難波1-1-13 (Namba, Osaka)