Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Cup Noodles Releases Poisonous Pufferfish-Flavored Instant Ramen

The pufferfish, known for its potentially fatal poison, is considered a luxury food ingredient in Japan. Depending on where you go, a meal featuring the fish can easily cost up to 20,000 yen (approximately $125USD) at a fine dining restaurant.

Now, however, adventurous foodies can get a taste of the pufferfish for just 298 yen.

Nissin Foods, one of the biggest manufacturers of instant noodles in Japan, recently released a new ‘fugu’ flavor on Monday, which features the ‘essence’ of the poisonous fish condensed into a small packet of flavoring, which is to be mixed with the soup base.

fugu cup noodles
Nissin released a new ‘fugu’ Cup Noodles that features the essence of the poisonous pufferfish in a pack of flavoring oil

The company, however, did not disclose how the small packet of flavoring is prepared.

According to a spokesperson for Nissin, the new ‘fugu’ flavored cup noodles will not be sold outside of Japan.

In a statement on its website, Nissin said each cup comes with spring onions, dried meatballs, and Japanese-style egg in a soup base that features hints of yuzu.

Nissin was originally founded by Momofuku Ando in 1958. While the company was originally launched to meet the demands for cheap, accessible food following the end of WWII, it has since grown to become an international household name with its Cup Noodles.

One individual, who tried the new ‘fugu’ cup noodles, said the broth tasted like seafood and yuzu, the latter of which is often added to Japanese dishes.

In Japan, pufferfish is typically served in hot pot or as sashimi, and is considered a prized item. While it’s known for its mild flavor, it can potentially cause death if not properly prepared due to the fish’s potent tetrodotoxins.

fugu
Fugu is considered a delicacy in Japan and is often served as sashimi

The deadly poison is present in the pufferfish’s skin, organs, bones, and blood, and can cause dizziness and tingling around the mouth, which may be followed by respiratory paralysis, convulsions, and death.

In fact, it’s the second most toxic vertebrate in the world, only after Colombia’s golden poison frog.

In Japan, chefs must undergo specific training for at least two years before being permitted to take an exam, after which they will be qualified to prepare and cook pufferfish.

In 2018, a supermarket in Aichi prefecture issued an alert after two individuals consumed potentially unsafe pufferfish products that they had purchased. Fortunately, they did not experience any health issues. Upon further investigation, it was determined that one of the employees had failed to remove the fish’s poisonous organs.

pufferfish
An elderly Malaysian couple died after eating a pufferfish that they unknowingly purchased from an online fishmonger

Outside of Japan, the pufferfish has also been gaining traction, though it has also led to several deaths.

In 2020, three people died after they consumed pufferfish that was sold at a barbecue stand in the Philippines.

Last year, an elderly couple in Malaysia also died after unknowingly cooking and preparing the poisonous fish. According to their daughter, the couple had purchased the fish from an online vendor and had began to experience shivers and breathing difficulties one hour after eating the dish.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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