Fugu, known in America as blowfish, is overly mystified in the United States, says Silverjay. The fish does have sacs of deadly poison, but these are removed by skilled, licensed chefs before the fugu becomes sashimi. “In cooked form, the flesh is white and delicate, really almost bland in taste,” says Silverjay. “It’s fried or served in hot pot with a light broth. It’s better as thinly shaved sashimi (usuzukuri) where the flesh is translucent.”

The appeal of fugu (other than the flirtation with danger it entails) is not in the flavor of the fish, says Silverjay, but in “the toothsome feel of chewing it.” It’s usually served with chopped green onions and a ponzu dipping sauce, fugu sashi. If you’re curious to try it, but can’t find it (or don’t see the appeal in the danger), you “can get a very similar experience … by having kawahagi, a non-poisonous tough-skinned fish that’s used just like fugu,” says cgfan.

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