The Twilight of Expertise (fugu liver removal)

Fugu is a puffer fish prized by Japanese fish connoisseurs. Its liver is poisonous, thus only specially-trained chefs can serve it. A episode of The Simpsons featured Homer poisoned by fugu.

Recently, however, researchers determined that fugu liver is poisonous because fugu eat poisonous food. When fugu is farmed, and given non-poisonous food, its liver is harmless, and the fish tastes almost as good. No more need for special processing. Unsurprisingly, the National Fugu Association wants to preserve the status quo. But you can now buy fugu liver in the town of Useki.

Masataka Kinashi, the head of the tourism association in Usuki and a fugu dealer himself, suddenly stared down at his desk when asked about the widespread sale of fugu liver.

“Officially, you can never eat it here,” Mr. Kinashi said. “Well, it’s not that you can’t eat it, but, no, you can’t eat it. That’s the only answer I can give you.”

One Reply to “The Twilight of Expertise (fugu liver removal)”

  1. I had Fugu in Tokyo in February. My tongue didn’t tingle even a little bit–contrary to what I’d been led to expect. I wonder if they used a farm-raised fugu with a non-poisonous liver. They didn’t serve the liver, but even other parts of the fish are supposed to impart a little bit of a tingling due to trace amounts of the toxin.

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