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Sep 4th 2007 1:06AM Interesting post on fugu. As a foreigner, I have brought up the issue of fugu with my Japanese colleagues and the hysteria and fear of eating fugu is a western thing, not Japanese. I’ve asked every single Japanese person I know the following question, “When you eat fugu, do you think you might die?” The overwhelming response is no, esp. if you eat at a licensed restaurant. It is a different response if you ask them if they would eat it if it were prepared at home, but most people will never prepare it themselves. I would suspect more people die from tainted ground beef served at fast food restaurants in America than fugu in Japan.
The main issue people bring up is cost because it is not cheap to eat fugu. Many people never eat fugu because it is expensive and/or there aren’t any licensed restaurants in their area, not because it can kill you… For the adventurous traveler, I would highly recommend trying it in Japan. There is a chain of fugu restaurants in Tokyo that serves reasonably priced fugu course meals starting at 5,000 yen and up. You’ll get a great sampling of the entire fish from sashimi, grilled, deep-fried, and hot pot. Matt forgot to mention that some places serve the fugu sperm sack.