Japan has one of the best cuisines in the world. Just the fact that Tokyo has the highest density of Micheline stars restaurants says it all. From special beef, noodles in all possible variations to amazing sea food –they have it all – so forget the stereotype Japan = Sushi; yes, it’s true, they have the best sushi I have ever tasted, but they have sooo much more.
And one of the most famous dishes is definitely Fugu. Known also as blow fish in the western world, it’s a delicacy to be enjoyed with caution – the internal organs are highly toxic and can causes paralysis and death. The chef has to complete a special class and get a certificate, only so he’s allowed to serve it to customers.
Before we arrived to Japan, we made a small »must do« list and Fugu was on it. Although you can get it in different parts of the country, Fugu’s home is Shimonoseki, and the best quality is in the colder months.
We stayed in the newly opened JYH Shimonoseki (official name Shimonoseki city Hinoyama Youth Hostel Kaikyo-no-kaze), where the manager is also a Fugu chef – bingo – we knew where our dinner adventure will be. 🙂
The dinner had many courses and all meals were based on Fugu, except the dessert.
– warm sake with Fugu fin
– Fugu sashimi with soy sauce, Japanese spring onions and chili paste
– deep fried Fugu
– rice cooked with Fugu
– Japanese pudding (not sweet) with Fugu and mushrooms
– grilled Fugu filet
– Fugu soup with mushrooms, cabbage, carrots and noodles with a dipping sauce of soy sauce
– Rice soup with Fugu
– Aisukurin with Japanese lemon skin
It was an amazing Fugu journey, where we learned to know different tastes this fish has. We tried different fish, because not only one species is good for the plate.
First we had the typical sashimi – thin slices were on the plate like sunrays and the skin (which is btw. full of collagen) was sliced like spaghetti.
Before we were finished, deep fried Fugu was served. This was special and Jure’s favourite dish this evening. The meat was pure white and almost melted in our mouths. Beer goes really well with deep fried Fugu – Asahi, come to our table. 🙂
We drank Fugu sake – warm sake with Fugu´s fin in it. Interesting but not for everyone´s taste. 😉 And the pudding (not sweet) with Fugu´s fin was also different and not comparable with anything else we had before, but we liked it.
Then the grilled Fugu followed – again white meat, but this time lightly spiced and salted. All these dishes were accompanied by rice with Fugu.
In the mean time we had a cooker on the table, where we boiled some water into which we put raw Fugu (still on bones, which are by the way hard as stone) and a lot of different vegetables and of course noodles.
This soup was being cooked while we were eating all the other Fugu dishes. When it was ready, we poured some into our bowls with soy sauce and just enjoyed. We ate all the meat and vegetable, so only the soup basis was left (ok and the bones on our plates). It is usual that in this plain soup, rice is cooked, so we did that too. After a bowl of this Fugu rice soup we were full.
But one dish was still waiting – the only one not related to Fugu whatsoever. The Aisukurin, a Japanese dessert somewhere between ice cream and sorbet, but it was refreshing, yet soooo delicious!
The last surprise of the dinner wasn’t food – we got handmade Fugu souvenirs. Aren’t they cute?!
We are happy, we survived 😀 , and we definitely will have more Fugu next time when in Japan. We were invited to this amazing food-experience by JYH Inc., for which we want to say “Arigato Go-Zai-Mas”.