Welcome ladies and gentleman to the main event of the week! In the category of Culinary Boxing here at Chef’s Mandala, we have weighing in at 7.6 oz from mainland Japan, please welcome Mochi! His opponent, weighing in at 8 lbs from the Sea of Japan, please welcome Blowfish!
LET’S GET READY TO RRRRR…….HAVE A SPIRITED DEBATE ON FOOD!!!
In the Red Corner – MOCHI
Mochi rice cakes are famous throughout Japan as a traditional way to celebrate the New Year. But annually this silent killer takes the lives sometimes up to dozens of people! And when I say silent, I’m not kidding. This sweet but deadly assassin chokes its’ victims to death. Each New Years, between 50 to 100 people are hospitalized as this glutinous dessert prevents respiration.
In the Blue Corner – BLOWFISH
The Takifugu genus of puffer fish contains one of the deadliest poisons known to man. To deter predators, initially this fish will swell up to several times their normal size – a giant, floating ball of spikes. And if this isn’t enough, they’ll still kill you with tetrodotoxin if you eat them! This paralyzes the muscles of its’ killer, leading to asphyxiation. And even if you don’t cut or pierce the liver of the fish, just squeezing this guy even slightly can cause the liver to sweat poison. That is why Japanese chefs train for years before serving this dish. Yep, fugu (blowfish) use the same method of murder as Mochi, they both take your breath away! But who kills more people each year? The pufferfish is a tough opponent, not only deadly but mentally batshit crazy to boot! They are the only creature besides humans who make crop circles to try to get aliens from outer space to abduct them! But who is the deadlier killer?
- The Play-By-Play
The two opponents face each other. Blowfish utilizes a matawari technique often employed in sumo, a wide legged stance that involves a deep stretch. This is especially impressive as the pufferfish doesn’t have legs. Mochi is unimpressed. He counters with a Zen meditative technique known as Zazen. Motionless or just a teleological coincidence, either way his mind games are effective. Blowfish’s spikes and poison are of no avail in this match!
AND THE WINNER IS….
Mochi! In 2017 only 2 people in Japan died from New Year’s rice cakes, whereas no one died from blowfish poisoning. However don’t despair Blowfish san, there is hope! In January of 2018 a local store in Aichi prefecture accidentally sold several lethal blowfish. They forgot to remove the sacs of poison from the fish’s liver. Whoops! (Also note to readers, while the fish picture above is a pufferfish, it is not the specific breed “fugu”. It is the same type of fish with spikes and gets the idea across.)