Japanese Fish Species 21: Tiger Puffer-Torafugu-虎河豚

Torafugu/虎河豚 or Tiger Puffer is one of more than a 100 hundred varieties of edible Puffer Fish or Globe Fish, but Tiger Puffer is by a great distance the most popular variety in Japan!

It is also known in Japanese as Honfugu/本河豚 or Oofugu/大河豚.
The main season is Winter and a little later for other regions.
It is caught on both sides of Japan especially in Central and East Japan.
It is a specialty in Hamamatsu City in our Shizuoka Prefecture.

11,000 tonnes are caught yearly around Japan.
It is bred in Japan to the tune of 4,700 tonnes.
13,000 tonnes are mainly imported from China and South Korea.

In Japan, although it can be bought already dressed, one needs a special license to cut it, serve it, or sell it as the innards contain a violently lethal poison, although cheap fugu (not torafugu) does not always contain such toxin!

Cheap fugu can be eaten raw as sashimi all over Japan.

But more expensive torafugu sashimi is served as a piece of art!

As sashimi, it is best avoured with leeks, lemon, momijioroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper and ponzu!

As sushi, it can be served fairly plain.

Or aburi/炙り, lightly seared on one side!

Or more artistically with sansho and herbs!

Or even with its skin as the latter is edible!

It can also be served as gunkan seasoned with its own liver: a true delicacy!

Shirako/白子 or male spem sacs are also a delicay!

Torafugu can anturally be cooked, especially the bony parts full of meat but difficult to cut. My favourite is karaage/唐揚, deep-fried!

It is also very popular in cold weather a nabe/鍋 in Japan,

and in South Korea!


Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

6 thoughts on “Japanese Fish Species 21: Tiger Puffer-Torafugu-虎河豚”

  1. I never knew this was served in nabe, I always thought of fugu as sashimi. I think I would try it in Japan, just because chefs are very experienced and meticulous there. I’m not sure I would anywhere else though!

    I agree with Elin about your fashion posts, they’re wonderful. It’s always nice to hear the perspective of a man on fashion.


  2. Fugu is often talked about in the media as THE poisonous fish that the Japanese take the risk to eat 😉 Accidentally yesterday I saw one on French tv. It was a kind of fugu celebration because they were distributing free fugu soup in the street. They asked one of the women (she was about 60 I think) if she wasn’t scared of being poisoned (the French journalists… /sigh/) and she first said “I don’t think there is a risk” and then she added “Anyway, it’s so delicious and, you know, at my age…” I loved her answer.
    I hope I can afford to taste this fish one day.


  3. You are so lucky to have the opportunity to savor all species of fishes in Japan. We have limited species here in our market..so I cn only drool over them. Thanks for the write out on this fish. I dont get to eat but at least I know of them :))) Thank you Professor Robert. By the way, love reading your post on ladies fashion in Japan 🙂 Have a nice day,


    1. Dear Elin!
      I have almost finished the fish and I still have to tackle a few other seafoods!
      I will concentrate a bit more on the recipes then.
      And the ladies fashion gives me a good break!
      Thank you so much foe all your kind comments!


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