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In case you didn’t know, tetrodotoxin is the lethal poison found in the internal organs (the liver, gonads, and ovaries, specifically) of that great Japanese delicacy called fugu, or blowfish. Tetrodotoxin causes a pleasant tingling on the tongue in small amounts, but if you have too much of it, your muscles freeze and you die. Our favorite venue for a little fugu fix is Morimoto, where the dish appears during the winter months (October to March being prime fugu season) on the omakase menu. The fugu is cleaned in Tokyo by trained chefs (the gizzards are disposed of in hazardous-waste containers), so it’s theoretically safe by the time it arrives on your plate. It’s served in sashimi form, or delicately fried in little strips of what the Iron Chef calls “Kentucky Fried Fugu.” How does it taste? Like a cross between flounder and the freshest cuttlefish. Will it kill you? It hasn’t claimed a life yet, but the possibility, of course, is part of the fun.
From the 2007 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine