Fugu: Delightful, Delectable, Pufferfish Skin

Parboiled fugu skin, ready to be eaten sashimi style.

Parboiled fugu skin, ready to be eaten sashimi style.

You’re probably familiar with fugu, the poisonous puffer fish that, if prepared by unskilled hands can be detrimental to your existence. However, what you may not realize is just how many ways there are to eat this fish. Be it raw, boiled, or fried, the method and accoutrements make for distinctive flavor sensations. Most often, fugu is served at specialty restaurants that will put together dining courses, allowing guests to experience fugu in many different ways, and in a logical progression of flavors and consistencies.

One of the best ways to start off a fugu course is with “yubiki,” which, sadly, is much more verbose when translated into English, often written on menus as “parboiled puffer fish skin sashimi.”  It’s much more delicious than it sounds.

Preparation is simple: Bite-size pieces of fugu skin is boiled for a mere matter of seconds before being chilled down in an ice bath.Excess water is removed, and the fugu skin is placed in a small dish for serving. The skin itself it naturally loaded with flavor, but it is the accompaniments that bring this dish to the next level. Alongside your fugu skin you will usually find a dish with ponzu sauce, and then some goodies like ever-so-slightly spicy, momiji oroshi, green onions, and a citrus elements of some sort. Salty, spicy, tart, sweet — you name it, that taste will probably be represented somewhere in the accoutrements.

The pieces of fugu skin should be savored one by one, which also allows you to dress them up in different combinations using the ponzu and other goodies. Which flavor combination will be your favorite?

Looking to try yubiki in Tokyo?
Japan Gourmetpedia recommends using our sister site, Tokyo Dinner Ticket, to find the perfect restaurant.


Yubiki at restaurant Fuguichiro in Shinjuku





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