From the “Sakana” series
It is said that Fugu (puffer fish) is sometimes consumed by those willing to take their own life. Because strict regulations require fugu chefs to receive proper training and pass exams, and the serving of Fugu’s liver is now prohibited in restaurants, the number of accidents at licensed places is close to none nowadays. A potent poisonous neurotoxin, Tetrodotoxin, is produced by certain bacteria that live in red algae consumed by the Fugu. They infect the fish immune to it. Amongst the various organs, the liver and ovaries (Ransou) are said to contain large amounts of poison. There we were yesterday, eating that special “treat” kindly offered by the restaurant’s owner, and specially recommended for a pairing with nihonshu : Fugu Ransou … The “sakana” (nibbling paired with sake) had been marinated in salt for 3 years though, enough to remove all the risks of poisoning (destruction of the poison and bacteries?). The verdict: very salty, it calls for more sake indeed, its nature becomes a good conversation topic as well, however I fail to appreciate its delicacy compared to so many other Sakana.