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Monday, December 1, 2014

FALL CIRCLE PACIFIC ADVENTURE: Day #30--My Experience with the Deadly Fugu

I was planning to wait until I returned to Honolulu to post this report on my second fugu experience, but I have some time at Narita Airport, so at least you know by reading this that I'm alive.  It was 1991 when I had my first fugu meal, as did Homer Simpson that same year in the highest rated Fox network show for the week, One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish.  It was typical Homer, but here he is now in Season 26 and still going strong.  Happy to say that after my second experience, I found the ordeal exciting and enjoyable.  
Torafugu-Tei says:


Click on it to read the details.  The first course was boiled fugu skin salad, which I had with a beer.


By the way, the skin, which had a crunchy texture, is said to be poisonous, so they must have a way to extract out the tetrodotoxin.  You have to look closely, but next came the sashimi, very thinly sliced:


This is said to be the most popular fugu dish.  At this point, it might have been my imagination, but I felt a slight numbness in the back of my tongue.  They say that the mark of a great fugu chef is to leave just the right amount of toxin to slightly numb your lips and back of your head, but not kill you.  Next, tempura fugu:


Reminded me of frog's legs, both the texture and taste.  Then came the highlight, and you can call it Shirako, Milt, sperm sacs or "white children", but to be so crude, testicles.  Three of them:


Imagine a squashed golf ball, almost crisp on the outside and a high viscosity liquid inside.  Mine was grilled and, while you dip them in a soy/lime sauce, the interior remains almost scalding hot, and has the consistency of heavy cream with a salty taste...after all, this is mostly...gasp...sperms.  Three balls.  At this point I think the top of my mouth felt tingly.  Next was a hot pot, and the waitress did the cooking:


Interesting concept, actually.  A water-proofed paper pot sits in a wicker basket placed on an induction stove.  In a few short minutes the whole thing comes to a boil and she placed the fish, mushrooms and vegetables into the pot:


I then ladled the contents into a bowl, as above.  At the end, a large amount of rice and an egg are placed in the remaining broth:


The porridge is then spooned into a bowl, which you have with tsukemono (Japanese pickles):


By this point I had also ordered a sochu in soda.  See that basket?  It's made of bamboo or something similar and, amazingly enough, nothing gets burned.  When the meal was over, the waitress simply carried the whole assemblage out, with a bare hand at the bottom, which must have been somewhat warm, but apparently manageable.  The dessert, a kinako ice cream sandwich, was served with Japanese roasted tea:




Remember my mentioning that one gonad 23 years ago cost $75?  Well, the costs have dropped., significantly.  The whole meal with three of them (the white children in a sac, that is), plus beer and sochu, now cost only $85.  The drop has been a factor of five or so.  More so, two people could have shared my one meal.

Yes, you might be taking a risk, but the odds of a fugu death in a licensed restaurant these days must not be much different from driving some distance.  You might know that in your lifetime. there is a one in 98 chance you will die from an auto accident, but only one in 7,178 for air travel.  But, I guess there is more travel in cars than planes.

More importantly, if you order the Shirako (testicle) special, just maybe your creativity might get enhanced.  Follow my blog to detect any improvements and let me know what you think.

Back to the Tokyo Westin, I finished the night at Compass Rose with some 20-Year Old Yoichi scotch and a Ghurka cognac infused cigar while viewing Tokyo Tower.  My final night in Japan.  Tomorrow, back to Honolulu.  What a trip!

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