I assume you all booked a trip to Japan a couple of days ago, after I told you about the cheap flight Brussels-Rome-Tokyo? Awesome timing! Apparently Tokyo just decided to loosen up on their very strict blowfish rules. For more than six decades, dicing fugu in Tokyo has been the preserve of a small group of strictly regulated and licensed chefs, usually in exclusive restaurants. But with their new law Tokyo is opening the lucrative trade to restaurants without a license. Which could get ugly! I mean, those licensed chefs with their incredible knife skills are pretty upset right now. And take it from me: you don’t want to upset Japanese dudes with sharp knifes!
You also don’t want a chef who has no idea what they’re doing handling your fugu. The poison, found in parts of the blowfish, including the liver, heart, intestines and eyes, is so intense that a tiny amount will kill. Every year there are reports of people dying after preparing blowfish at home. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says city laws covering the serving of blowfish should be changed to reflect changing times and hope that relaxing the rules will cut prices and bring Tokyo in line with the rest of the nation. Sounds like a plan! Makes eating fugu so much more of an adventure.
For me, even just watching a licensed fugu master is enough to make me nervous. This dude in Kyoto was nice enough to let me film him. While I was enjoying my tuna maki he scooped up this flat fish from the tank and it blew itself up right in front of me. Kaboom! The second Youtube-film is another way of cutting a blowfish. Notice how much alive and kicking the fish stay, long after the first cut of the knife.