Aichi Fugu: a Taste to Die for If you consider yourself an adventurous eater, and have tried all manner of sushi and sashimi now idely available throughout North America, perhaps a trip to Aichi prefecture is just what you need for your next culinary challenge. From late October and throughout the winter, the region is one of Japan’s premier spots for fugu, or poisonous blowfish.
Many North Americans gained familiarity with fugu when Homer Simpson partook of a poorly prepared puffer in a Springfield eatery and barely escaped death. You canbe sure that Homer’s chef, however, was not from Aichi, where experts train for years to ensure that none of the deadly poison reaches your plate, although some diners claim to feel a suspicious tongue tingling when eating the fish. There is little real danger in eating blowfish as restaurants are required to hold a strictly distributed license to serve it. A small
number of deaths that occur yearly throughout the country, however, usually among fishermen trying to prepare the fish at home, guarantee an ever-present sense of danger that somehow enhances fugu’s taste.
Careful! The white one is poisonous. The versatile fish can be enjoyed as sashimi, deep fried, or simmered with seasonal vegetables. A warm glass of fuguhirezake, a light sake heated along with a fragrant blowfish fin and set aflame before drinking, is a great way to round out your wintertime fugu feast. Aichi’s auspicious geography provides an ideal environment for blowfish to grow nice and fat, and fugu thrive in the Ise and Mikawa Bays and the Enshu Sea that make up the prefecture’s southern coastline. The region’s best fugu dishes can be found on the Chita Peninsula, just minutes from Centrair, or in several of Nagoya’s many restaurants.
In Nagoya, Mifune, Hakata Honten, Maneki and Sanraku are just a few of the restaurants offering set style blowfish dinners.
On the Chita Peninsula, Uomasa and Ichibe are two of several establishments that proudly serve the locally-caught fish with all the trimmings.