The blowfish is an expensive delicacy in Japan that has been eaten here for thousands of years, judging from the presence of blowfish bones in prehistoric remains. The flesh is firm with almost no fat and mostly ignored in other countries. The fish is also highly toxic and even a slight error in preparation can kill. The Japanese, though, have come to love the quintessential flavor of its white meat and also the aesthetic of dining so close to death.
Fugusashi - blowfish slices served raw - is a representative way to serve the fish. The chef slices the firm flesh extremely thin to obtain the perfect texture. The chefs of Shimonoseki City have developed special techniques for this through friendly rivalry with each other. Another is the Fugunabe hotpot. The collagen which makes the flesh so firm becomes tender with boiling in this highly savory repast. We examine the development of Japan's food culture through the lens of the quest for the most delicious preparation of this white fish.