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Five Japanese People Hospitalized After Eating Deadly Puffer Fish

Five Japanese People Hospitalized After Eating Deadly Puffer Fish


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Five men are recovering after eating puffer fish, also known as fugu, which can be toxic if not prepared correctly

It may be considered a delicacy, but is the risk of eating puffer fish worth the reward?

Japanese fugu, also known as the puffer fish, is a Japanese delicacy so dangerous that chefs must undergo years of training and an exam to learn how to prepare the potentially toxic fish. According to The Guardian, the victims reported breathing difficulties and vomiting. However, the men will live, despite their harrowing ordeal.

Most people who know better would stay away from the puffer fish. Multiple parts of the puffer fish, including the liver, roe, ovaries, and intestines, contain a strong neurotoxin that causes muscle paralysis. In this case, parts of the liver were found in the dish consumed by the five victims over the weekend.

Officials stated that the restaurant served the banned parts of the puffer fish at the diners’ request. We know that the customer is always right, but knowingly serving poisonous fish to adventurous eaters may be taking the sentiment a little bit too far. The restaurant was shut down by city officials soon after the incident.


The Deadly Fish

Imagine going out to eat with a group of friends, or your significant other, and you want to try something new. You want to be daring and try something that seems exotic to you, so you go to a Sushi restaurant and you try puffer fish for the first time. Before you are allowed to order puffer fish you must sign a consent form stating that you will not sue the restaurant if anything happens to you after you have eaten the fish. That right there, to me, would be a clue that I do not want to eat this fish. Many people are not highly observant to think twice about it, or they find it an extra thrill to have to sign a consent form. Sometimes, taking a risk is not always a good thing. About 60 per cent of people, who consume puffer fish, within 30 minutes, will be in the hospital suffering from weakness, dizziness, a tingling tongue and mouth, nausea, diarrhea, and sweating (Star, 01). The fish of death is puffer fish according to Shanghai Star, and many other Japanese chefs.

I found on the web Shanghai Star’s personal website for puffer fish and how deadly it can be. Shanghai is a trained sushi chef and she knows a lot about this deadly puffer fish. A little history about puffer fish and how such a deadly fish came into our society is in order. Fugu, which is the Japanese word for puffer fish, made its way into US restaurants in 1989 (Star, 01). This was the height of Japan’s bubble economy (Star, 01). Puffer fish is not as popular in the US anymore, because as the air went out of Japan’s economy in 1990, so did a large chunk of the market for puffer fish in the United States (Star, 01). Puffer fish was very popular within that short time because Japanese business men who were busy making big deals were flush with money and ready to spend it on lavish entertainment and fugu meals (Star, 01). Now fugu is sold mainly on a few square blocks of midtown Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle (Star, 01). I included a few pictures of puffer fish and what they look like when they become irritated.

I personally would rather not eat this fish and risk my life. The puffer fish does not even look appetizing to me when it is not puffed up and irritated.

Puffer fish does not only kill Americans who want to experiment with tasting it, but Japanese people as well. About 5 or 6 people a year die from fugu poisoning in Japan and they are almost always amateur chefs who try to cut the fish themselves without undergoing the extensive licensing process required for fugu chefs (Star, 01). Puffer fish is only a seasonal dish, served between December and January (Star, 01). A dish that is only served 2 months out of the year is very popular though. Sushi chefs from all over the world are willing to go through extensive training in order to be able to serve puffer fish the proper way. A sushi chef could go through 10 years of training in order to be certified to serve puffer fish the correct way (Star, 01). Puffer fish is often served raw in wafer thin slices, often arranged on an exquisite platter to resemble the petals of a chrysanthemum, the flower of death in Japan (Star, 01). I found it interesting that sushi chefs organized the deadly puffer fish in the shape of the flower of death on the customer’s plate. Having to sign a consent form, and receiving my meal shaped as a symbol of death in Japanese sounds like suicide to me. People willingly eat this fish and have to accept the consequences of a very painful death.

The part of the puffer fish that gets eaten is the ovaries. Inside the ovaries is tetrodotoxin (TTX), which is what makes the fish very dangerous to eat (Bears, Connors, & Paradiso, 2007). Once you have consumed the fish there is no going back. Once you have the symptoms of weakness, dizziness, tingling of the tongue and mouth, nausea, diarrhea, and sweating, paralysis will follow (Star, 01). Paralysis will spread through the body, while you are still conscious! A suffering victim of puffer fish will remain conscious the whole entire time. Paralysis happens to the victim’s diaphragm due to nerve and muscle block (Bear, Connors, & Paradiso, 2007). Eventually the victim will go into convulsions while their breathing becomes restricted (Star, 01). The victim can die of respiratory failure between 6 to 24 hours, depending on the amount of toxin consumed (Star, 01). If the fear of dying does not stray you away from eating puffer fish, the price may.

Fugu is an expensive fish. In New York, a complete puffer fish course meal runs about $150 to $200 per person (Star, 01). Even with the price of puffer fish being so expensive, people still purchase it. Sushi chef Takagi said he serves fugu to about 4 or 5 customers a week, most of whom are Japanese (Star, 01). One fact that I found interesting was that “fish lovers” try to achieve ecstasy through the numb feeling on the lips that comes from eating a small piece of ovary or liver containing TTX (Bear, Connors, & Paradiso, 2007). TTX and its deadly effects were discovered by a man named Toshio Narahashi.

Toshio Narahashi has a segment in our text book, on page 90, where he talks about his personal experience with tetrodotoxin and puffer fish. Narahashi was originally living in Tokyo, attending the University of Tokyo. He came across papers written by Hodgkin, Huxley, and Katz in which they were extensively utilizing the voltage clamp technique. The voltage clamp technique was the dawn of the ion channel theory of nerve excitation and it was originated by Cole (Bear, Connors, & Paradiso 2007). In 1959, Narahashi discovered that TTX blocked action potentials through selective inhibition of sodium channels without any changes in potassium channels. He discovered this by working on a frog and its skeletal muscles. In 1960 Narahashi reported his TTX study at the Japanese Pharmacology Society Meeting in Tokyo, and by 1961 he was headed to the United States. In late 1962, Narahashi wrote a manuscript and was asked for a sample of TTX and in 1964 he wrote a paper demonstrating TTX’s selective and potent block of sodium channels. This was the mark of a new era.

Now knowing all this information about puffer fish, would you still take the risk of eating it? Now that you know the likelihood of you dying within 6-24 hours of consumption is about 60%. Maybe this blog gave you more reason to go out and try puffer fish. People love eating puffer fish they just have to be careful of where they order it from and if there is a licensed sushi chef to prepare it for them.

I have included a video from YouTube that I found describing puffer fish. In this video it talks about puffer fish and TTX. It is like a documentary on puffer fish. One interesting thing I learned from this video is that TTX is not from the fish, but from bacteria in the algae (Smoked Video, 12).

Bear, M., Connors, B., & Paradiso, M. (2007). Neuroscience Exploring the Brain. (3rd ed., p. 90). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Chilling final words of assassinated brother of North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un after being sprayed with poison by death squad

THE murdered half-brother of despot Kim Jong-un uttered the words “very painful, very painful” after he was sprayed with poison by assassins, reports claim.

Kim-Jong-nam staggered around 15m to a service counter for help after he was targeted by a hit squad in a five-second attack at Kuala Lumpur Airport in Malaysia.

He had a pained expression on his face as he told the workers “very painful, very painful, I was sprayed with liquid”, police sources told China Press.

Jong-nam, 46, then groaned before collapsing and being taken to hospital – where he later died, according to reports.

His chilling last words emerged as it was sensationally claimed one of the assassins accused of slaying Jong-nam was a man dressed in drag.

Three people, including Siti Aisyah, 25, from Indonesia, and her Malaysian boyfriend have been arrested over the poison plot.

CCTV suggests a cross-dressing killer may have held Jong-nam from behind before he was sprayed with either ricin or deadly puffer fish toxins, according to the Mirror.

Another woman, who was captured on CCTV wearing a ‘LOL’ top, is understood to have told police she thought she was "playing a prank".

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FIGHT FOR OUR FREE PRESS

He loved Disneyland and casinos

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KIM'S KILLER WOMEN

POISONED PLAYBOY

STALKED TO DEATH

The woman, identified as Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam, reportedly told police she was on holiday in Malaysia with a group of friends.

Police sources said Doan told officers she was duped into spraying Jong-nam "with a liquid" by her friends as a "harmless joke".

"They told me it was a prank. I did not know it was meant to kill him,” Oriental Daily reported the suspect as saying.

A 25-year-old, who was holding an Indonesian passport, was taken into custody on Thursday on the basis of CCTV footage, police said.

Malaysian police have identified the woman as Siti Aishah, 25, from Serang in Banten.

Indonesian Immigration Office spokesman Agung Sampurno told AP that a passport ID page published by Indonesian media is "the same as the passport held by her".

It has been reported that Aishah was approached in the nightclub where she worked in the Malaysian capital and offered $100 (£80) to take part in the plot.

A man, who is believed to be her boyfriend, was also arrested on Thursday.

There is speculation Jong-nam was targeted under the orders of his younger brother, Kim Jong-un, after he discovered his plans to defect.

The autopsy report has revealed Jong-nam was either poisoned with ricin or puffer fish toxins 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide, according to reports.

Ricin, a lethal chemical found in the seeds of castor oil plants, is considered a prime candidate for the poison, the Malaysia Star reported.

An alternative is tetrodotoxin, a lethal compound found in the liver of the puffer fish that can be 1,200 times more lethal than cyanide.

No external injuries are believed to have been found on his body during the autopsy, Malaysia Star reported.

A North Korean official was pictured looking furious on Wednesday as a delegation failed to block the autopsy amid claims Jong-nam was trying to defect.

The secretive state's stooges had spent hours in a stand-off with Malaysian officials trying to block the tests on Jong-nam's body, sources revealed.

The official accompanied North Korea's ambassador to Malaysia, who was also pictured speaking to officials in the mortuary of Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.

Malaysian authorities reportedly refused the request although no decision has been taken on whether the body will eventually be handed over to North Korea.

The delegation argued for so long with officials that a meal from KFC was ordered, reporters at the hospital said.

South Korean newspaper, the Kyunghyang Shinmun, has claimed Kim Jong-nam was planning to defect at the time of his death.

The paper's anonymous source also suggested he had also made unsuccessful bids to defect to South Korea, the US and Europe in 2012.

KILLING WITH CHEMISTRY

From the courtiers of Ancient Greece to Soviet spies and maybe now North Korean agents, poison has a long history as a weapon of murder, favoured by assassins for its stealthy delivery of the fatal blow. A would-be poisoner can choose from a catalogue of deadly chemicals, some of which are relatively easy to obtain. Ricin - naturally occurring in castor oil plant seeds - and thallium (rat poison) are notorious for their murderous properties. Arsenic delivers a slow and miserable death, while strychnine induces extreme body spasms as the victim's respiratory system collapses. But "cyanide is the fastest killer and the easiest to detect, its pathology appears all over the body," said Porntip Rojanasunan a forensic expert and adviser to Thailand's Justice Ministry. She said the victim's "bright red blood" in post-mortem is the telltale sign of a potential cyanide poisoning. Other chemicals such as potassium can cause "an extreme heart arrhythmia.. and can lead to a heart attack very quickly." Slow-acting poisons may allow assailants to slink away from the crime scene undetected. But chemical compounds are not easy to store or handle and many carry a giveaway residue, smell or colour that makes them hard to conceal, Porntip added.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim told Malaysia's Star that officers are still looking for "several more" suspects.

There is speculation Kim Jong-nam was targeted on the orders of his younger brother, the North Korean dictator.

Malaysian police say the 45-year-old was ambushed while waiting for a flight to Macau.

Kim told medical workers that heɽ been sprayed with a chemical, similar to previous attacks with poison-tipped pens linked to North Korean assassins.

A US government source said America strongly believes North Korean agents carried out the killing.

CCTV camera shows the woman looks like Korean . She fled the scene with another woman by taxi : Sinchew reported quoting Salleh @yunsukCNA

&mdash Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) February 14, 2017

According to the dead man's travel document, he was 'Kim Chol' born June 10, 1970, but police confirmed he was actually Kim Jong-nam born May 10, 1971.

The playboy has been known to forge travel documents in the past.

In 2011, he was caught trying to enter Japan using a false passport, but he insisted he was planning to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

Spokesman of South Korea’s governing Liberty Korea Party, Kim Myung-yeon, said the killing of Kim Jong-nam was a "naked example of Kim Jong-un’s reign of terror".

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong-un has executed or purged a slew of high-level government officials.

Mark Tokola, vice president at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, said it would be surprising if Kim Jong-nam was not killed on the orders of his brother, given that North Korean agents have reportedly tried to assassinate Kim Jong-nam in the past.

"It seems probable that the motivation for the murder was a continuing sense of paranoia on the part of Kim Jong-un, which may be a well-placed paranoia," Tokola said.

Although there was scant evidence that Kim Jong-nam was plotting against the North Korean leader, he provided an alternative for North Koreans who would want to depose his brother.

There has long been speculation that China has been protecting Kim Jong-nam as a potential future North Korean leader if anything happened to Kim Jong-un.

He went into hiding in Malaysia after the execution of his uncle Jang Song-thaek in 2014.

He is the son of Song Hye-rim, an actress believed to have been a mistress of Kim Jong-il, who reportedly died in Moscow in 2012.

A source claimed a North Korean agent tried to assassinate Kim Jong-nam in Macau in 2011 but failed.

Afterwards he sent a letter to Jong-un saying "Please spare me and my family", according to Kim Byung-Kee, a member of the South Korean parliamentary intelligence committee, speaking at a press briefing.

He added: "It also said 'We have nowhere to go. we know that the only way to escape is suicide'."

In 2014 Kim Jong-nam, who hit the headlines for his gambling and playboy lifestyle, was seen eating spaghetti bolognese at an Italian restaurant in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.

His cousin, Lee Han-young, who defected to South Korea through Switzerland in 1982, was shot and killed by North Korean agents in Seoul in 1997, according to South Korea sources.

According to a book called My Father, Kim Jong Il, and Me by Japanese journalist Yoji Gomi, Kim Jong-Nam reportedly called the current regime "a joke to the outside world".

He added: "Without reforms, North Korea will collapse, and when such changes take place, the regime will collapse."

He is also quoted as saying: "My father was keeping highly secret the fact that he was living with my mother who was married, a famous movie actress, so I couldn't get out of the house or make friends.

"That solitude from childhood may have made me what I am now, preferring freedom."

Jong-Nam is known to have been a computer enthusiast, a fluent Japanese speaker and a student in both Russia and Switzerland. He lived in the capital Pyongyang after finishing his studies and oversaw North Korea's information technology policy.


Many TV shows and nature guides have been dedicated to educating the public on the most poisonous and venomous spiders, snakes and even frogs, but what about fish? Unlike spiders or snakes, we rarely hear about which fish are the most poisonous (or venomous). This week we are dedicating our blog post to these hazardous fish.


First though let’s clarify some terminology. Poisonous and venomous are terms often used interchangeably but they have different meanings. A venomous animal has a means of injecting their toxin into another animal, whereas a poisonous animal can only deliver their toxin in a more passive manner (by being touched or eaten). A common example given to clarify this difference is that frogs are poisonous while snakes are venomous. It is also important to note that the affects from a venomous fish sting can often be relieved by immersing the wound in hot water (

105–115F) because these toxins are heat labile (meaning they can be destroyed or altered by heat).

1. Pufferfish (some species are also called toadfish) have been given the title ‘Most Poisonous Fish’ and have also been labeled the second most poisonous vertebrate in the world. The toxin responsible for ranking this fish so high in the “danger zone” is called tetrodotoxin. Tetrodotoxin is neurotoxic and inhibits neural transmission leading to weakness, paralysis, and even death at relatively low concentrations (

2mg). This toxin is found in the fish’s liver, ovaries, intestines and skin, leaving muscle tissue with relatively low and somewhat safe levels to eat. However, only highly trained and certified chefs are allowed to prepare this fish for consumption a common practice in Japan where pufferfish are considered a delicacy.

2. Stonefish have usurped the title of ‘Most Venomous Fish’ in recent years. They often resemble encrusted stones (hence the name), blending into their natural environment with ease. They deliver their venom through a row of spines on their back that can be extended when threatened (or stepped on). Venom is involuntarily expelled when pressure is placed on the fish and the more pressure the more venom. They reside in the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australia. A sting from one of these fish can cause excruciating pain, rapid swelling, tissue death, muscle weakness, temporary paralysis, and in very rare cases death.

3. Lionfish were thought to be the most venomous fish until recent years when stonefish stole the title. These conspicuous fish have venomous dorsal, anal, and pelvic spines covered by a loose sheath that moves down and compresses venom glands when the spine punctures tissue. A sting from these fish can cause extreme pain, swelling, and in very severe cases, cardiovascular collapse. Most lionfish naturally reside in the Indo-Pacific but they have become an invasive species in recent years most notably along the Atlantic coast of the United States where they are having a major impact on Atlantic coral-reef communities. Lionfish were likely introduced along the Atlantic coast through aquarium releases.

4. Stingrays are one of the most common groups of fish responsible for human envenomations largely because many rays bury themselves on the seafloor where people unintentionally step on them. Stingray venom is generally cardiotoxic. The Bluespotted (native to the Indo-Pacific) and Southern (native to the southeastern US) stingrays are some of the most venomous of all stingrays. As a form of warning others, the Bluespotted stingray generally displays its bright blue colored spots as a warning to predators of its highly venomous sting.

5. Boxfish and trunkfish are closely related to pufferfish. While these fish are not nearly as poisonous as puffers, they do have an impressive way of defending themselves with poison. When threatened or stressed, they excrete a toxin from specialized skin cells into the water, poisoning marine life in their vicinity. The Hawaiian boxfish in particular excretes a toxin called ostracitoxin or pahutoxin that is known to breakdown or destroy red blood cells.

Some other venomous fish to check out are other scorpionfish (besides the stonefish and lionfish mentioned above), stargazers, which have two venomous spines in addition to organs near their eyes that cause electric shocks, and striped eel catfish.

If you know of any other venomous or poisonous fish not mentioned here or have experience with a species listed here please share your knowledge and experience below.

Be sure to like The Fisheries Blog on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@FisheriesBlog).

Auerbach PS. 2007. Marine envenomations. Adapted from the 5th edition of the textbook wilderness Medicine by Mosby-Elsevier.

Barss P. 1984. Wound necrosis caused by the venom of stingrays: pathological findings and surgical management. Med J Australia. 141: 854-855.

Boylan DB, Scheuer PJ. 1967. Pahutoxin: a fish poison. Science. 155:52-56.stingrays

Diaz JH. 2008. The evaluation, management, and prevention of stringray injuries in travelers.

Fenner PJ. 1998. Dangers in the Ocean: the traveler and marine envenomation. II. Marine Vertebrates. J Travel Med. 5:213-216.

Gwee MCE, Gopalakrishnakone P, Yuen R, Khoo HE, Low KSY. 1994. A review of stonefish venoms and toxins. Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 64:509-528.

Vetrano SJ, Lebowitz JB, Marcus S. 2002. Lionfish envenomation. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 23:379-382.

Yang CC, Liao SC, Deng JF. 1996. Tetrodotoxin poisoning in Taiwan: an analysis of poison center data. Vet Hum Toxicol 38:282-286


7.Rotten Cheese with Maggots

It's called 'Casu marzu' and it's quite a popular dish in the Italian island of Sardinia. It is made from sheep milk.

When the milk is made into cheese, the larvae of the Cheese fly are introduced into the mix. The cheese passes the stage of fermentation and almost decomposes.

Some people choose to clear the maggots before eating, while others simply eat the cheese with the maggots in them. Sometimes the maggots jump out of the cheese while it's being eaten.

This dish is said to leave an aftertaste that lasts for hours, and sure enough, why not? It's after all, rotten!

Rotten cheese with jumping maggots is considered a rare delicacy on the Italian island of Sardinia.


Video: 11 Family Members Hospitalized After Unknowingly Eating Deadly Pufferfish

Pufferfish, also known as blowfish contain a toxin called tetrodotoxin, just 1 to 2 milligrams of which can be lethal. Eleven individuals from the same family have been hospitalized after unknowingly eating the world’s deadliest fish for dinner.

Pufferfish, also known as blowfish contain a substance called tetrodotoxin, just a small consumption of which can be lethal. Eleven individuals from the same family have been hospitalized after unknowingly eating the world’s deadliest fish for dinner.

The relatives from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were gifted the pufferfish by a friend who had returned from a sea fishing outing. The blowfish was cooked and served.

Seconds after the victims tasted it, they all started to vomit. They also couldn’t feel their faces, legs and arms.

Most of the family members were paralyzed before they were transported to the hospital. Grandmother Maria do Carmo had watched everyone sample the meal, as she was waiting to see how it tasted.

She commented “We had no idea it was a pufferfish. They’re all in a critical condition. My grandson, my daughter, and my son-in-law, they are all in hospital. We’re praying for a miracle.”

The victims reportedly include four children, aged between three and five years old. There is no official cure for those who ingest the paralyzing toxin, but patients are often put on life support and given charcoal to bind the poison.

Pufferfish is considered a delicacy in Japan, but it must be prepared by chefs who trained for three years.


Japanese Street Food Tour in Osaka, Japan – DEADLY PUFFERFISH Sashimi (FUGU) + Noodle Tour of Osaka!

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Japanese Street Food Tour in Osaka, Japan – DEADLY Pufferfish Sashimi and a Street Food Tour of Osaka – including the best noodles and RAMEN!

Pufferfish is a famous poisonous seafood in Japan, commonly known as Fugu. It is a potentially deadly seafood dish that is eaten as sashimi or in a hot pot. Today, we’re visiting Osaka, Japan, eating puffer fish 2 different ways, and going for a FULL ON street food tour of Osaka!

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In todays street food video, I (Trevor James, The Food Ranger) am bringing you in DEEP for 4 amazing Osaka Street Food specialties. Make sure to watch until the end to enjoy them all!

First up, we’re trying the deadly and poisonous puffer fish at the Kuromon morning market in Osaka. Found at Minami Shop, it’s cooked 2 ways. The first is pufferfish sashimi style, cut and served with a ponzu sauce that is slightly salty and citrusy. The other way is in a shabu shabu hot pot of mushrooms and it’s own fish stock. Both were very delicious!

After this, we’re continuing our Japanese street food tour through Osaka to go for a Japanese noodle tour and enjoy a couple street snacks as well.

First, we’re going to try yakisoba and Okonomiyaki, 2 famous japanese street foods in Osaka. We visited Okonomiyaki Mizuno in Dotonbori for this. Both dishes were delicious! Yakisoba is a famous Japanese street food found all over Japan. We had the Yakisoba served with squid, assorted seafood, seaweed flakes, and a sweet soy sauce. The Okonomiyaki is also a famous Japanese food.

And after this, we’re visiting a regular Tempura shop in the Namba region of Osaka. Found at Ichimizen in Osaka, this is a small family style Tempura restaurant serving up HEAVY and satisfying fish and shrimp tempura covered in a sweet soy sauce. Delicious!

And to finish up our Japanese street food tour of Osaka, we’re bringing you to the best rated ramen restaurant in Osaka, Human Beings Everybody Noodles! Here, a light shoyu ramen is perfected and served with the softest chasiu pork in the world! It melts in your mouth! Incredibly delicious!

Thanks a lot for watching these street food tour videos!

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RELATED ARTICLES

Bachner pleaded guilty last year to knowingly possessing the toxin for use as a weapon, wire fraud and filing a false tax claim. The allegations that he wanted to killed his wife were not part of his guilty plea.

He was sentenced him on Monday to 92 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Frederick Kapala.

FBI agents arrested the 39-year-old in June 2008 after picking up a package containing the toxins, which are derived from the puffer fish and can be deadly if ingested.

A Guineafowl Pufferfish inflated in defense display: Toxins derived from the puffer fish can be deadly if ingested

As little as four milligrams can kill a human and Bachner had ordered 98 milligrams, enough to kill as many 24 people. Agents who searched Bachner's home also found syringes, needles and a book on how to poison people, prosecutors said.

The judge said acquiring the toxin was not equivalent to attempted murder and that he has 'rarely seen such support' for a criminal defendant.

Bachner apologized in an emotional statement to Kapala, saying he fought his 'dragon' and looks forward to being reunited with his wife.

Bachner will get credit for time served and could be out in less than three years.

Bachner allegedly posed as a doctor when ordering the poison known as tetrodotoxin.

He was arrested in July 2008 when he met an undercover federal agent who delivered the toxin to him in Algonquin, near Chicago.

A Guineafowl Pufferfish: Called fugu in Japan, it can be consumed by thrill-seeking gourmets once the poison is removed

Bachner ordered the poison, which is usually used in research, from a New Jersey chemical supply company, the FBI said.

It's an unusual amount,' said FBI Special Agent Robert Holley, head of the Chicago office's counterterrorism unit. 'That's a lot. It doesn't take much to kill.'

Bachner allegedly posed as Dr. Edmond Backer to buy the toxin over the Internet.

All of the toxin was recovered and there was no danger to the pubic.

Possessing the toxin, commonly known as TTX, without the proper federal approval is a felony.

Tetrodotoxin- a nerve toxin isolated from pufferfish or made synthetically - is typically used by researchers at universities or pharmaceutical companies.

Authorities were alerted to Bachner's alleged purchase of the TTX when an employee at the New Jersey chemical supply company contacted the FBI's Newark office.

Agents from that office then contacted Chicago FBI officials.

Authorities said that when agents determined there was no Dr. Edmond Backer and found out the company Bachner claimed to represent, EB Strategic Research, did not exist, they set up a 'controlled buy'.

Neighbors who know Bachner and his wife said they were taken aback by his arrest.

Tetrodotoxin is so potent the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it can 'produce rapid and violent death'.

It is 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Puffer fish, called fugu in Japan, is consumed by thrill-seeking gourmets once the poison is removed.


Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a very interesting, yet dramatizing disease not only for the patients, but for their families as well. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks (“Aricept”). The patient starts to get frightened because they may forget who their family and friends are. They may even think that their loved ones are trying to harm them. This is very hard for families to watch because they know this person as a strong independent individual, who has raised them their whole lives and now they have to watch them back track and start acting like a child again. Many children of these patients try to take care of their family members, but times may get to tough or they cannot handle it anymore so they send their family members into a nursing home with a dementia unit. In 2010, an estimated 14.9 million family members and friends provided unpaid care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia (“Aricept”). There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there are medications to help slow down the process. One medication that is popular right now is called Aricept. Aricept can come in dosages of five, ten, or twenty-three milligrams and uses acetylcholine (“Aricept”). Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in many neurological functions, including memory and learning (“Aricept”). Alzheimer’s disease has three stages, which are mild, moderate, and severe (“Aricept”). During the mild, or early stage of Alzheimer’s, people may begin having trouble with memory or learning. In the moderate, or mid stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people may become more confused and forgetful and begin to need help with daily routine activities and self-care. During the severe, or late stage in Alzheimer’s disease, people may lose the ability to speak coherently and experience a decline in physical abilities (“Aricept”). If anyone would like more information on Aricept or just Alzheimer’s disease in general the website is listed below.

I personally find Alzheimer’s disease to be sad and fascinating at the same time. I work in a nursing home in the dementia unit from time to time and I have respect for the patients because it is strange to think that they were just like us years ago. They really cannot remember anything for longer than a couple minutes, if that. They wake up every morning confused and questioning everything about their surroundings, just like they did the day before. The hardest thing to cope with when working with Alzheimer’s patients is being able to forgive them when they have hit you, punched you, kicked you, or even tried to come at you sexually because they do not mean to. Within the next hour they are probably going to be giving you hugs and kisses on the cheek telling you how much they love you and are thankful for you. It is a hard balance but being there for the good times usual outweighs the bad times.

One crazy aspect that I have noticed about Alzheimer’s diseases is that these people do not remember anything general about their childhood. They tend to remember specific events. Alzheimer’s patients do not remember what jobs they had when they were younger, but they act as though they are working still. One resident in our home used to be a secretary at West Chester University so she is always organizing and writing things down that nobody else seems to understand. Another woman used to be a housekeeper and she cleans ALL DAY EVERYDAY! She is always asking if I need help cleaning anything up and she gives the housekeeper a headache every day. Another woman used to be a boss in a factory and she is still very bossy. She bosses everyone around no matter who they are. She means business.

I found an interesting and factual video on Alzheimer’s disease on YouTube that I would like to share with everyone. One fact that really stuck out to me was that Alzheimer’s disease has about 5.3 million patients and another patient is being diagnosed every 70 seconds (JNJ, 09). Also, the second man in the video who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s says that if he could remember more things than he would be out of college by now. This is interesting because a little later in the video he says that his father still bosses him around and he is 93 years old (JNJ, 09). This is just an example of how a patient with Alzheimer’s disease thinking pattern works. They are always skipping generations of their life or back tracking and not even knowing that they are doing it. This video also gives good information for families who may think that one of their loved ones is starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

The reason I decided to write my first blog about Alzheimer’s disease was because when I was reading our class book, Neuroscience Exploring the Brain by Bears, Connors, and Paradiso, I came across a little segment discussing Alzheimer’s disease and the neuronal cytoskeleton. There is a short article in our book on page 36 called Alzheimer’s Disease and the Neuronal Cytoskeleton. In the short story it talks about a fifty-one year old woman who is starting to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The woman starts to show jealousy towards her husband, but then she starts to show signs of an impaired memory. The short story also talks about how the woman was institutionalized, but she was found helpless. Eventually her doctor could not even come and visit her because some days would be so much worse than others. The woman was starting to move into the severe, or late stage of Alzheimer’s disease. The woman eventually died confined to her bed in fetal position (Bear, Connors & Paradiso, 2001). The second section of the short story Alzheimer’s Disease and the Neuronal Cytoskeleton talked about how the cell of a person without Alzheimer’s and the cell of a person with Alzheimer’s disease looks different. The cell starts out looking normal but once the Alzheimer’s disease has advanced to the severe, or late stage, the cytoplasm and nucleus have disappeared, leaving only a tangled bundle of fibrils, where the neuron once was located (Bear, Connor, & Paradiso, 2001). If anyone would like to read this short story it is on page thirty-six of our class textbook.

I was struggling with what I wanted to write my first blog about because I wanted to write about something that interests me as well as something I have a background in. Once I get my psychology degree, I want to work with the elderly. I have been working with the elderly for a little over five years now and I absolutely love it! The enjoyment of seeing them almost every day and knowing that they enjoy your company is satisfying. Also, knowing that someone needs you, whether socially, just talking, and doing their hair or nails, or needs you physically, to help feed them or transport them around in their wheel chair, is a satisfying feeling as well. When your loved one develops Alzheimer’s disease, it can feel like your whole world is slowly crashing down around you. I have worked with plenty of patients and their families to know how they feel, but at the same time, it can also be a new stepping stone for your life and your loved ones as well. Staying positive is what people with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia needs in their lives.

Bear, M., Connors, B., & Paradiso, M. (2001).Neuroscience exploring the brain. (3rd ed., p. 36). Philadelphia, PA 19106: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies

In our never-ending exploration of ethnic foods from cultures all over the world, occasionally you come across some foods that people eat that just, well … make you shake your head in wonder. These 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies did just that to me. While I might be daring enough to try a few of them, I still have to wonder what possessed the first people in history who thought to even try these!

(Photo Attributed to Author: Istolethetv)

Of course, over the many thousands of years people have been on this planet, they have tried eating any and everything available. Some of the more absurd sounding (and looking!) foods become “delicacies” to certain cultures while, to others, they seem absolutely strange – even disgusting.

But it takes all kinds to make a world, so let’s now get into the list of:

7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies

#1 – Balut, Phillipines

Balut (Photo Attributed to Author: Marshall Astor from San Pedro, United States)

Many cultures like to eat boiled eggs, but not very many eat them like this. These eggs are fertilized and allowed to mature until they are nearly ready to hatch. When you crack open the hard-boiled Balut chicken (or duck) egg, you will see something like the image to the left.

Balut eggs are cooked when the fetus is anywhere from 17 days to 21 days old – depending on your preference. Traditionally, they are preferred as old and mature as possible, when the developing fetus has started forming its claws, bones, feathers, and beak.

Balut is almost as popular to the Filipino people as the hot dog is to Americans. It is a favorite “fast food” served up by street vendors, who you will hear yelling out, “Baluuuuuuut” as they push their carts along the streets in the marketplace.

According to cultural folklore, Balut are believed to boost the libido. Whether that is true or not, the other reason they are so popular is certainly factual: they are a very hearty snack that is chocked full of protein.

Filipinos typically take their Balut with beer, and the eggs are most often seasoned with a dash of lemon juice, a pinch of salt, black pepper, and sometimes a sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro. Some Balut eaters, however, prefer to season it with hot chili peppers and vinegar.

#2 – Bird’s Nest Soup, China

Birds Nest Soup (Photo Attributed to Author: Tzahy Lerner)

Often considered as the “Caviar of the East”, Bird’s Nest Soup probably conjures up images in your mind of a nest made of twigs, leaves, fragments of vegetation matter, etc. Not so … this soup is made with the nest of the Swiftlet bird, which uses predominantly its own saliva to build its nest.

Swiftlets in Nest (Photo Attributed to Author: Bernard DuPont from France)

This uniquely gelatinous, rubbery texture of the Swiftlet bird’s saliva is what is so treasured by the Chinese. It is such a valued item that it is among the most expensive animal food products on the planet. The expensive nature of this saliva is due to simple supply and demand marketing principles.

The birds build their nests during breeding season over a period of 35 days, and there are only around three times a year when this happens. Also, collecting the nests is often a dangerous process, involving skillful climbing through treacherous conditions in caves along the coastal regions where they nests are typically built.

All of this adds up to a very hefty price tag!

In recent times, the “Caviar of the East” has become popular in other regions of the world as well – including the USA. To meet with this increased demand, commercial nesting sites have been established. Whether commercially obtained or from the wild, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 (the wild nests are the most pricey, considered to have the best taste) per kilo. A bowl of Bird’s Nest Soup, served in a restaurant? Plan on shelling out anywhere from $30 to $100 per bowl.

This soup has been a Chinese tradition for many centuries. It is very nutritious, high in protein content, and folklore claims it has aphrodisiac qualities.

#3 – Puffer fish, Japan

(Photo Attributed to Author: Uploader1977)

This Japanese delicacy is one you definitely do not want to try at home, unless you are a trained chef who is licensed to do so. You could wind up dead, very quickly.

The deadly Puffer fish, or fugu, has a poisonous toxin in its skin and parts of its insides as well. This toxin is 1,250 times more potent than cyanide!

Small wonder, then, that in Japan only expertly trained, specialized

Fugu official license (Photo Attributed to Author: Nesnad)

chefs in restaurants are given license to prepare it. The poison, if ingested, will cause the person to become paralyzed while still conscious. Eventually death from asphyxiation will occur, because there is no known antidote.

In spite of all this, the Puffer Fish is considered such a rare and treasured delicacy, it is a highly popular and high priced meal throughout Japan.

We are now almost half way through our list of 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies – still want more? Read on …

#4 – Fried tarantulas, Cambodia

Fried Turantulas Street Vendor (Photo Attributed to Author: Thomas Schoch)

Anyone suffering from arachnophobia most likely will not want to try this one – sautéed 8-legged “monsters” – the world infamous tarantulas.

These are not your little “house spiders” either. No, these are the giant tarantulas found in Cambodia.

You can buy them as street food in the marketplaces of Cambodian cities like Skuon. They’re fried whole: fangs, legs, everything. This food was first discovered of necessity by starving Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge rule, with its brutal, oppressive and bloody reign.

Better times have returned to the country, and imperial savagery and

(Photo Attributed to Author: Istolethetv)

genocide have departed. But the culinary practice of eating fried tarantulas has stayed, having become more than just a vital source of sustenance. It is now a much vaunted delicacy, and has even gotten international attention and popularity. The dish draws tourists from all over the world to come and try some. Tourists can sit down in a fine restaurant and be served a gourmet meal with fried tarantulas with condiments as a main entree.

The region has also benefited economically from the discovery and proliferation of eating these black, hairy arachnids. They are found in the jungle around the market town of Skuon, and regularly scheduled buses loaded with paying tourists will go on tours to see them.

In the marketplace, as a street food, they cost a mere few pennies. The word is they are really delicious. Usually they are simply pan fried with a bit of salt and minced garlic. People say they have a taste similar to lean chicken or crickets. The outside is crispy and crunchy, and the inside is kind of gooey.

#5 – Casu Marzu, Sardinia

Casu Marzu (Photo Attributed to Author: Shardan)

This next member on our 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies list is one that I have to admit is to me, just … disgusting. Nevertheless, this Sardinian cheese is considered by the natives as a treasured delicacy. Casu Marzu is a cheese with a distinct difference from any other. It is riddled through and through with insect larvae.

Casu Marzu, more commonly known as “maggot cheese”, translates into English as “rotten cheese”.

Some grave health concerns have arisen regarding eating Casu Marzu. There are reports of severe allergic reactions in some people, as well as the danger of consuming cheese that has advanced to a state of toxicity. Also there is some risk of intestinal larval infection. For these reasons, Casu Marzu has, in recent times, become banned, even in Sardinia. But you can still get it on the black market in Italy and Sardinia, and people still love and eat it.

The sheep’s milk cheese used to make it is basically a Pecorino. The larvae of the cheese fly, Piophila Casei, is introduced to the cheese as fermentation starts to occur. The larvae digest the cheese fats, producing a texture which is very soft and has some liquid oozing out.

And get this, folks: The cheese must be eaten while the maggots are still alive …this is because, when they die, the cheese is considered to be toxic.

Wait – it gets even better (worse?): Because cheese fly maggots can jump when disturbed, when you eat Casu Marzu you have to shield your eyes – or you can put the cheese in a sealed paper bag and wait until the maggots are dead, due to starvation of oxygen.

#6 – Sannakji (Live Octopus), Korea

Sannakji (Photo Attributed to Author: Rusif Huseynov)

Koreans enjoy Sannakji, which is basically eating a raw, live octopus. The octopus is sliced into pieces while still alive, sprinkled with a little sesame oil, maybe also some soy sauce, and served immediately while the tentacles are still writhing and squirming on the plate.

Now, just the idea of eating a live octopus is challenging enough – but it is also physically a challenge. You have a fight on your hands!

The tentacles will stick to any surface they come in contact with. Before you can enjoy the taste and satisfaction of chewing and swallowing your octopus, you are going to have to become the victor in a battle going on inside your mouth.

The tentacles will cling to your chopsticks, on the way up to the mouth. After you bite and yank them off the chopsticks, they will wiggle around and cling to your teeth, gums, tongue, mouth roof, whatever. It is still fighting for its life – even when in a dismembered state.

To the Koreans, this all part of the fun, and good sport in eating Sannakji.

In fact, some more adventurous Koreans like to take their Sannakji while still whole. As shown in the picture below, two (or more) people will suspend the fighting-for-its-survival octopus between them, and eat their way into the center of the doomed sea creature.

(Photo Attributed to Author: Edgrana97723)

Whether eaten in cut up portions or whole, however, special care must be taken to chew thoroughly. If you swallow a still-living, clinging suction cup, it can cling onto the back of your tongue and/or wall of your throat and present a dangerous choking hazard.

Okay, we are now coming to the last (but certainly not least!) in our list of 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies. And, as an added bonus, this one comes with a gourmet recipe, too … enjoy!

#7 – Paniki Manado (Bat Soup), Micronesia

Paniki Manado (Photo Attributed to Author: Mattjlc)

If you want to try this one out, be sure you trap bats that are disease-free – something that is not very common in many regions of the world. Nevertheless, all throughout the Indonesian and general Southeast Asian region, bats are caught and eaten regularly. They are sometimes boiled, whole, and pulverized into a paste that is eaten by itself, or as a spread and/or condiment.

Another, also very popular way to eat them is in this soup, Paniki Manado. It is made with flying mouse, fruit, or fox bats. Feeling courageous? Here is how you make it:

First, you have to get some fresh bats, and lots of them, and bats that

(Photo Attributed to Author: Edwin S)

are not disease-ridden. For most people, that means you must travel to a remote village in Southeast Asia, and get some local native help in netting a dozen or so of flying mouse, fruit, or fox bats. Have the local medicine man inspect the bats and give the approval that they are fit for consumption. If need be, net some more, but as soon as you have 6 to 8 disease-free bats, proceed with the following recipe on how to prepare one of the 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies:

Paniki Manado Recipe-

Ingredients:
  • 6-8 fruit, fox, or flying mouse bats, well washed but not skinned or eviscerated
  • fresh water
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 large white or yellow onions, peeled and rough chopped
  • 12 to 16 large cloves garlic, peeled and rough chopped
  • freshly ground coarse sea salt and black peppercorns, to taste
  • soy sauce , for accompaniment
  • 8 green onions, trimmed and rough chopped, for garnish
Directions:
  1. Place the bats in a large cooking pot cover with water plus a depth of 1″ more, and then add in the ginger, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a vigorous, rolling boil, and cook for 1 full hour.
  3. Strain the mixture through a colander into a second pot, retaining the broth.
  4. Skin the bats, and discard the skins.
  5. De-bone the bat meat, and remove any other parts you prefer. Lots of people prefer to remove the heads and tails, and the wings are basically meatless, anyway. But it is a matter of personal preference. Whatever parts you use, chop the meat into small bite-sized chunks.
  6. Return the bat meat to the broth and reheat add in soy sauce and coconut milk to taste. Boil the soup, uncovered, until your preferred consistency is achieved – the longer you cook, the thicker the liquid will become.
  7. Serve your Paniki Manado while nice and hot, garnished with a generous sprinkling of chopped green onions. Also have more soy sauce and coconut milk on the table for people to season additionally to their tastes.

So there you have it, 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies from around the world. Please, if you have tried any of these, leave a comment to share your experience. And any other comments are welcome too. Would you eat any or all of these 7 Bizarre Ethnic Food Delicacies? Why, or why not?

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Japanese expats' favourite food haunts

We can't seem to get enough of Japanese food. Even though Singapore is filled with Japanese restaurants, long queues can be seen at many of these outlets. But which of these eateries are frequented by the Japanese themselves? Cuppage Plaza and Robertson Quay, for instance, are popular haunts for Japanese salarymen having a good meal after work, or a sake or two, while Liang Court is filled with Japanese families on weekends. And the options are growing with the number of new outlets springing up at ION Orchard and Orchard Central. inSing.com speaks to the Japanese community in Singapore to find out their favourite Japanese restaurants here and what their expectations are of these eateries.

What Japanese expats want
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel sales manager Kiyomi Tsuge enjoys going to restaurants such as Nanjya Monjya and Nagae near her workplace. "I seek authenticity and value for money. This applies across the various types of Japanese cuisines. I personally prefer those that are run by Japanese as it makes me feel more at home, allowing me to speak my own language."

Genta Yamashita, restaurant manager of Saint Pierre an award-winning modern French restaurant says that the Japanese restaurant he goes to is Mimigar (Okinawan cuisine restaurant) located at Gallery Hotel. "I also like to go to Chankonada, a kind of Izakaya-style restaurant, which serves 'Chanko' (the steamboat that Sumo wrestlers eat) at Orchard Plaza as well as Shabuhana, a shabu shabu restaurant at Mohamed Sultan Road." He adds, "Honestly speaking, I don't eat out so often in Japanese restaurants as they are quite expensive and I also don't have the time. But these restaurants are my favourites."

As for Kiyoshi Yoshizawa, photographer of Jambu Studio, he likes to check out new Japanese restaurants - such as Botejyu and Ootoya at Orchard Central. "I like to sample different dishes and try out home-style Japanese food especially after work or on weekends. These places are also quite affordable for me."

Japanese food standards
When asked what she thinks of the standard of Japanese food in Singapore, Kiyomi says in her six years here, the standard keeps getting better. "Even those run by Singaporeans have very high standards. Although it's not the same as what we get in Japan, there are so many Japanese restaurants, one gets spoilt for choices," she says.

Genta only has praises for the standard of Japanese food in Singapore. "Compared with Japanese food in other countries, Singapore's Japanese food standard is top class. I think one of the biggest reasons is because Singapore is quite a comfortable place to live for the Japanese. Most of them say that they can have mostly the same lifestyle as in Japan. It also means it is a good environment to bring in Japanese chefs to Singapore (even if they cannot speak English)."

Where the authenticity of food is concerned, Genta says that most of the Japanese chefs here find it is difficult to create the same taste as in Japan, even if the restaurants get the same ingredients air flown from Japan. He says the travelling time affects the freshness - especially for raw food. The other reason is the difference in the water. "One of the chefs I've worked with said he needs two times the bonito flakes to make a same dashi stock while in Singapore. They said the water here is 'hard'. But I can say Singapore serves some of the highest quality Japanese fare outside of Japan. And many restaurants in Japan are venturing to Singapore to open up new businesses."

Kiyoshi who has lived in Singapore for more than 10 years visits a lot of Japanese chain restaurants around the island. But sometimes, he doesn't feel that the standard is as good as what he can get back home. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped him from trying out the food. "The value is decent and the variety is good," he says.

Corporate dining
Apart from the places where expats go to after work, there are also fine dining restaurants that draw in the corporate crowd, for instance Inagiku at Fairmont, Singapore. Nobuhiko Sano, general manager, comments on its popularity, "The ambience at Inagiku is ideal for business meetings and discussions. Items on the menu are carefully conceived by our chefs to cater to the myriad preferences of our Japanese guests. Corporate guests also appreciate efficiency in our service and our provision of consistent high quality food, which we offer at reasonable prices."

Over at Chijmes is Japanese Dining Sun, another restaurant that appeals to businessmen. "We serve traditional Japanese cuisine with a modern touch created by our Japanese executive chef Toshio Sawai and we are glad that the taste and quality we deliver is accepted by our Japanese guests.

If you're only going to one Japanese restaurant this month, make it one of these outlets recommended by expats for their food and authenticity.

Japanese Dining Sun @ Chijmes
Address:
#02-01 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street
Tel: 6336-3166
Opening hours:
Mon to Thurs, Sun: 12pm to 3pm, 6.30pm to 11pm, Fri to Sat: 6.30pm to 12am

This restaurant at Chijmes is popular among Japanese businessmen thanks to its interesting food promotions. Executive chef Toshio Sawai says, "The main issue of Japanese food in Singapore lies in the ingredients. In Japan, ingredients are swimmingly fresh and this is a little challenging to recreate in Singapore. Though we try to import from Japan as much as we can, especially for our special Japanese-themed promotions, some ingredients (mainly meats items) cannot be imported from Japan or are simply too pricey and we have to look for alternative sources such as USA or Australia. That said, we are glad that wagyu beef from Japan can now be brought in."

The restaurant is planning to feature wagyu beef in its upcoming Kyushu Gourmet Experience from 25 August to 5 October alongside other ingredients from Kyushu. In the regular menu, the chef recommends sushi and sashimi (seasonal price) and beef foie gras grill (from $35.80).

Inagiku
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 12pm - 2.30pm, 6.30pm - 10.30pm

Inagiku is frequented by Japanese businessmen who appreciate the well-executed creations featuring premium seasonal ingredients air-flown from Japan. Head chef Yoshiyuki Nobukawa combines traditional and contemporary techniques and focuses on the freshest ingredients. The chef is one of the few in Singapore who has the license to prepare fugu, the deadly puffer fish.

His signatures include hirame sashimi - live flounder sashimi with sea urchin and caviar, sesame sauce and fresh lime ($45), grilled hairtail fish, prawn, shiitake mushroom flavoured with miso paste and wrapped with hoba leaf and thinly-sliced wagyu beef on stone grill with wasabi mustard and Japanese cress ($120). Other signatures include grilled scallops with egg yolk sauce ($35), and deep-fried Kagoshima Kurobuta pork cutlet ($38) - this sweet and mild pork is specially flown in from Kyushu.

"Some ingredients are hard to get in Singapore but generally I am satisfied with the quality which is the same as in Japan. However, some ingredients are not allowed here, such as whole live fugu (puffer fish) and Japanese beef tongue," says the chef. "As for Singapore's dining scene, there are many casual Japanese restaurants opened here which are quite nice. Although not very authentic, they have many varieties available," he adds.

Torisho
Opening hours:
Mon to Sat:11.30 am - 2 pm, 6.30 pm - 10.30 pm

Torisho Taka by Aoki is the first fine-dining yakitori restaurant in Singapore. It draws a good Japanese crowd who enjoy the top quality ingredients used by executive chef Takao Aoki.

Chicken (free-range) is the most widely used ingredient in his range of yakitori items (mostly between $4 and $6). The menu also features beef, vegetables, fish and foie gras with balsamic vinegar sauce at $18 per piece and Wagyu sirloin at $15 per piece.

The chef says he uses dried fish flown in from the Iwaki-shi Fukushima prefecture as well as indigenous Japanese vegetables, such as shironegi (Japanese leek), ginnan (Gingko nut) and shiitake mushroom. To preserve the authentic traditional yakitori flavours, the chef shipped Binjo charcoal from Japan. He believes that only wood from the Kochi prefecture imparts the best flavours to the ingredients when grilling.

En Dining
Opening hours: 6pm-12am, Sun-Thur, 6pm-3am, Fri-Sat

En Dining is usually filled with Japanese businessmen and ladies who enjoy the well-executed Okinawan cuisine. Typical dishes created by a chef from Okinawa include stir-fried bitter gourd with pork, tofu and egg ($9) as well as stewed pork belly and radish ($9.80).

Recommended items (great for sharing) include the refreshing daikon salad with bacon and soy sauce dressing ($9.50), wafu steak - cubed sirloin steak with special soy sauce ($17.50), tatami iwashi - crispy pressed small dry sardines ($9.80) and softshell crab maki ($15).

You can also share the kushi mori ($17.50) - grilled chicken, Japanese green pepper, pork belly with enoki, chicken meatball, grilled chicken soft bone, and mushrooms. And end with the luscious matcha panna cotta with red bean ($6.50).

Nagae
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm

This small restaurant is packed with Japanese expats during lunch. The Japanese chef prepares sashimi at the counter which displays a wide range of fresh fish that is flown in twice a week.

The manager of the restaurant says their specialty is sushi and sashimi as well as grilled seasonal fish. There is a huge range of fish to choose from. If you feel like treating yourself, try the tuna belly ($40 - two pieces), or yellow jack ($14 - two pieces). Otherwise, zero in on the assorted sashimi ($38) or sample the grilled fillet of mackerel with salt ($16).

The set lunches are value for money and highly satisfying. Try the perfectly grilled salmon set lunch ($18) which comes with rice, chawanmushi, fruits, coffee or tea.

Kura No Naka Japanese Restaurant
Opening hours: 11.30am- 2.30pm, 6pm-11pm, daily

This spacious restaurant run by three Japanese ladies has a faithful following since it opened. The dining crowd consists of mostly Japanese people who come here after work for a meal and drinks.

Feast on refreshing appetisers such as tofu salad ($8), tomato ebi salad - whole tomato and prawn mayo salad ($15) and daikon salad - white radish with tuna salad ($8). Then aim for the juicy deep-fried oyster coated with breadcrumbs ($18) and dragon maki (deep-fried prawn roll) ($16). One of the signatures and top sellers is the hearty tofu mentaiko cheese - baked tofu with salted cod roe and cheese ($14) or the succulent saikoro steak - tenderloin cube steak with garlic ($20).

Ootoya
Opening hours: Mon to Sun: 12pm - 9.30pm

This famous Japanese chain has 240 outlets in Japan and abroad. Started in 1958, Ootoya serves home-style fare. Japanese families love to come here for a dose of casual comfort food prepared by a team of Japanese chefs.

Try the Ootoya special dish ($11) which is a combination of homemade croquette and deep-fried chicken with a sunny side up egg. Or dig into the crispy fried chicken with sweet and sour kurozo sauce (Ootoya's black vinegar sauce fused with apple juice), priced at $12.

Others to sample include deep-fried chicken and potatoes with leek sauce and vegetables ($12) as well as charcoal grilled atka mackerel ($13). The chef says that he uses bincho charcoal to sear the meat evenly and this process seals in the juices.

Menya Shinchan Japanese Noodle Restaurant
Address: 30 Robertson Quay, #01-05 Riverside View
Tel:
6732 0114
Opening hours: Mon to Fri: 11.30am - 3pm, 6.30pm-10pm, Sat to Sun: 6pm-10pm

This small, modest ramen eatery is a favourite haunt for Japanese expats during lunch and dinner. The owner Tajimi Eiji (president of Ramen Society) says that he wanted to introduce good ramen to Singapore.


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