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Dangerous Dining: Japan Edition

Updated: Oct 19, 2019

Food. It’s pretty great, right? It can be sweet, a little sour, pleasantly bitter, a bit salty, or even savory. Just thinking about some of the delicious dishes available around the world can make your mouth water. But what about the foods that aren’t so good? The ones that make you question how they made it to the table in the first place. These might simply look revolting while others could literally kill you. So, let’s take a moment to discover some dangerous dining.

In this first installment, we are going to be looking at a selection of dastardly delicacies from the island nation of Japan. This country is well known for its unique cuisine with many of my favorites originating from here. Sadly these three are not on my list of must tries.

Echizen Kurage – aka. Nomura’s Jellyfish

This large creature is less desirable compared to its smaller relatives, but that hasn’t stopped people from cooking them in various ways. From salads to soups, noodles to sushi, this jellyfish gets around. There are even specialty ice creams that rely on the Echizen Kurage as an ingredient. But if they aren’t properly cleaned and cooked, you could be heading straight to the hospital. Let’s just say this isn’t the kind of jelly you’d want on toast.

Natto – aka. Fermented Soybeans

A sticky, stringy mass of fermented soybeans, natto isn’t dangerous but it certainly is an acquired taste. The smell is often compared to that of a pungent cheese while the taste can be described as bitter and nutty. It’s usually served on a bed of rice and can be enhanced with the addition of soy sauce, karashi mustard, or even onions. Natto is considered rather nutritious, improving heart health, digestion, and boosting your immune system. A great way to start the day.

Fugu – aka. Pufferfish

The big one. Well known around the world, fugu is one of the most dangerous dishes you can eat. Due to their diet, pufferfish contain bacteria that create lethal amounts of tetrodotoxin. Ingesting this poison can lead to many symptoms including headaches, diarrhea, seizures, and ultimately paralysis, resulting in death by asphyxiation. It has been reported that roughly 50 people will suffer from fugu poisoning each year with some ending in fatalities. If you dare to try this persnickety pufferfish make sure it’s prepared by a trained professional. Cutting and cleaning fugu the correct way is essential to enjoy this dangerous dining option.

While they might not all be deadly, these dishes offer some unique tastes and challenges for the palate. So would you try any of these? Have you actually tasted one? What about another food item you’d like to share? Comment below!


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