It's the most dangerous critter swimming around Asian restaurants -- and now flopping around on our shores, too: Blowfish. Fugu, as it's called in Japan, is a delicacy that must be gingerly prepared in precisely the right way -- or it it's lethal. Death. By. Bloat! (You know, the puffer fish in Finding Nemo? Anyway.)
Now you can live dangerously and sample blowfish for yourself at a San Francisco restaurant, Ame. They're brewing cups of blowfish tea -- warm sake with a blowfish fin steeping inside. And I'm actually dying (oops, no, wrong word) longing to try it!
It's illegal to eat blowfish here -- probably because our government doesn't want to regulate the incredibly deadly fish. It can take an hour to cut up the fish in just the right way so you don't release the toxins. But you can buy the fins in Japan and hand-carry them here, which is how Ame gets blowfish fins for its tea.
So why is it worth the risk? NBC Bay Area says, "Even one sip reveals a rather tame yet complex collection of flavors and scents that are not overtly fishy." Okay, intriguing ... they also say it's more like a soup that intensifies in flavor as you drink it. "The minerals and salt from the fin have a muting effect on the taste of alcohol, so the deadliness is actually in sipping too quickly rather than from having the mark of a poisonous animal floating on it. The beverage is comforting, and certainly takes the sting out of cold weather." Did I mention that Ame has a Michelin star and its chef, Hiro Sone, is a James Beard Award winner? So it's not just a gimmick.
Okay, I admit -- I'm hooked. And heck, it's only $15 a pop and comes with a side of roasted blowfish fin for an extra thrill! The one enticement that would finally bring me to the table, though, is if they served it with a life insurance policy on the side.
Would you dare to try blowfish tea?
Image via rebeccaselah/Flickr