Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Horrifying Wednesday : Blowfish (Fugu)

We've all heard of the legendary Fugu pufferfish, one of the world's most poisonous fish that people actually consume without being severely beaten and threaten first. Why's that? Because almost the entire fish is toxic and will murder you horribly. Now, without further ado, I present you the Fugu.

"I do not respect you." - Fugu

In Japanese, "Fugu" literally means "river pig" and is commonly used to refer to the "pufferfish" in general. This fish is well known for it's lethal neurotoxins that can kill you in the worst way possible. So if neurotoxin didn't quite scare you off yet, hopefully death by asphyxiation will. If digested, the toxin will paralyze muscles, and muscles only. What this means is that you'll remain perfectly conscious throughout the entire process before you die. The method in which you will die is simply put, suffocating in air.

When I said that the toxin will paralyze you, I wasn't talking about that awesome buzz you get from drinking, I'm talking about every single muscle in your entire body, including your lungs and heart. Eventually, your body will be unable to provide enough oxygen to the body from both inadequate oxygen intake by your lungs, and inefficient oxygen distribution via. heart. So while you won't feel a thing, you'll practically fall into a motionless, immovable sack of flesh as you slowly black out as you watch everyone scream in panic and point at you. For this same reason, Fugu is the only food that is officially forbidden for the Emperor of Japan for his own safety and was banned in multiple time periods in Japan and currently banned in the European Union.

Such deliciousness!

There is no known antidote and the only treatment is emptying the stomach as soon as possible to stop toxin intake, feeding the victim activated charcoal to absorb remaining toxins in your stomach, and putting the person into life support until the toxin wears off. So unless you decide to eat Fugu with a bunch of life support machines, charcoal, and tongue suppressors, maybe you should reconsider that bet with Uncle John.

Why don't you play something you have a better chance at winning? Like the lottery?

If you ever decide to eat this food however, you can thank society for the strict regulations that they put in both fishing and preparing the food. Every chef that works with Fugu must have a specific license to prepare and sell fugu to the public. In order to get it, they must join a 2-3 year apprenticeship and eventually take an examination that involves a written test, a fish-identification test, and an actual practical test in which they must prepare and eat the fish. Just so you know, not your average Joe can get these licenses, only about 35% of the applications pass and get their license. Think of fugu as ten landmines strapped together with a bit of crab meat twisted around in the center.

If you ever decide to eat fugu, be prepared to dish out the big bucks. You can easily pay from $20 to $200 for a single dish.