08 Jun 11 Eating the world’s most deadly fish
A new dining experience, bringing Japan’s most notorious and deadliest fish delicacy, the tiger blowfish, to the UK launches at the end of this month.
The torafugu is one of the most toxic marine creatures, it is extremely difficult to safely prepare, and consequently among the priciest dishes on Japanese restaurant menus.
The delicacy is not permitted for sale in the European Union, but a new venture, Fugu Supper Club, aims to circumvent the rules by serving it to private diners, who can register their interest on its website. They will subsequently be informed by email of the time and location of their sitting. Two chefs are involved in the venture but, at least until the first supper club meeting at the end of this month, their identity remains a secret.
In Japan only licensed chefs are permitted to prepare fugu. The examinations and practical tests required take two years to pass at the basic level.
The Fugu Supper Club chefs are, diners are assured, fully qualified. Those who sign up will find out their identity, but for the moment, no one else. The Supper Club meetings will take place in as yet undisclosed London locations, ranging from a grand mansion to an unoccupied gallery space. Those who attend can expect a champagne reception and six courses, most of which will feature the iconic ingredient, as well as wine, sake, Japanese beer and Japanese whiskey, for a club “donation” of £250.
The price tag is far from the most frightening aspect. Fugu can be lethally poisonous due to its tetrodotoxin. One fish contains enough poison to kill 30 adults, and it has to be carefully prepared to remove toxic parts of the anatomy and to avoid contaminating edible flesh. So is it worth the risk? As with all delicacies, fugu is said to be something of an acquired taste; rather subtle, and when prepared by the finest chef, leaves a tingling sensation – remnants of the toxins that make it so dangerous.
Your chances of survival, from a fugu meal, are reassuringly high….