A Glimpse at the Deadly Game of Serving Poisonous Pufferfish

By Mike Pomranz |

Pufferfish, also called fugu, is probably better known for it’s status as a potentially deadly delicacy more so than a delicious one – though it stands to reason that if people are willing to eat something that may kill them, it probably tastes at least as good as Chipotle.

But yes, many of the legends (or early Simpsons episodes) surrounding the poisonous pufferfish are based in truth: In Japan, only a skilled chef with many years of training is allowed to serve the dish. And though poisoning incidents at restaurants are rare, they do happen. One notable incident occurred last year with five men requiring hospitalization.

Related: The Freshest Fish Doesn't Always Make the Best Sushi

So the YouTube channel Great Big Store decided to do one of their two-minute delves into this “high-stakes dining,” talking with Tokyo-based chef Yutaka Sasaki, a lifelong chef who describes himself as “a fugu specialist for 45 years,” a skill that requires a 10-year apprenticeship to perfect.

“The authentic dish requires not only authentic ingredients but also authentic skills,” says Sasaki like a true badass. Later, he elaborates, “I serve this fishing knowing that your life is in my hands, so I have to do it with extreme care.”

If I was him, my next line would be, “Remember to tip the staff.”

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