Potentially deadly delicacy: try fugu at this southern Japanese fish market
The seaside town of Shimonoseki in southern Japan has a sought-after specialty in the culinary world: fugu, a potentially deadly delicacy.
Also known as pufferfish or pufferfish, fugu is available year-round in Shimonoseki, about 90 miles west of Marine Corps Air’s Iwakuni station. Fugu is so prevalent in the city that it can be bought ready-to-eat at the local fish market for under $ 10.
Karato Beachfront Market offers a wide variety of fresh seafood ready to eat on weekends and holidays. On weekdays it’s a wholesale market where commercial buyers bid on the catch.
Finding a market stall that sells fugu is not difficult; many will have a decorative sign of the puffer fish displayed with the platters of sliced fugu sushi ready to be served.
Good thing too, because only registered chefs with a special license can prepare fugu dishes. If improperly cut, the toxin in the fish can be fatal.
Walk around to look at all the stalls. Once you’ve stocked up on what you want to eat, just outside the market area next to the river, you’ll find plenty of seating to enjoy your food with great views.
With the strict regulation of fugu brewing licenses, the risk of fugu poisoning is extremely low, but it is never zero.
Parts of the fugu contain tetrodotoxin, a “fast and violent” poison, according to a BBC report in 2012. This report indicated that 23 people, mostly anglers who had tried to prepare their catch for the house, had died after eating fugu for the previous eight years. . A 2018 article on Nippon.com cited the Department of Health and Welfare and said that half of all poisoning deaths in Japan each year are attributable to fugu. The same article said that about 50 people are poisoned each year, some fatally.
After looking around for about 30 minutes, I bought a small plate of fugu sushi for about $ 9. The thinly sliced white flesh tasted delicate.
If you plan on stocking up and taking food home, I recommend bringing a cooler with ice in it for the ride home.
I parked in a 572-space garage next to the fish market for a little over five hours, which cost me almost $ 12.
It was a pleasant trip and I am happy that I was able to live to tell the story.
instructions: Approximately 90 miles from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. 5-50 Karatocho, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi 750-0005
Times: 5 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday to Saturday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Costs: Entrance to the fish market is free.
Food: There is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant on the top floor.
Information: In line: karatoichiba.com