The fugu: a dangerous delicacy

Torafugu, the tiger pufferfish, is the most prestigious fugu species, prized for its subtle taste and texture, and enjoyed in specialty restaurants in most major cities of Japan. It's also potentially the deadliest, containing high amounts of tetrodotoxin in its internal organs, eyes and skin. That's why only licensed chefs are allowed to handle and serve them.

Getting a license requires a two-year apprenticeship, and only a fraction of applicants pass the test. The handling of the fish is strictly controlled, from the parts which are allowed to be served down to the way the toxic organs are to be disposed of: stored in a special container secured with lock and key. Its high cost and dangerous profile create a certain mystique which heightens its appeal. Chefs have been known to secretly serve small amounts of the toxic liver to guests who demand it, creating a sensation likened to "a high." The practice has claimed lives, most famously that of Kabuki actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII in 1975.

Torafugu dissection puzzle from Megahouse

But you don't need to train under a master chef for two years and handle a deadly toxin to imagine what it's like to be a fugu chef. With a new 3D dissection puzzle from Megahouse, you can learn which parts of the fish are toxic and which ones aren't, and simulate the experience of carving and preparing the delicacy, then serving the meat in paper-thin slices of sashimi beautifully arranged in a chrysanthemum pattern on a plate.

Note: English translations and arrows in the images below are our additions.


There's a small replica of a fugu carving knife with which you can open the fish and dissect it. You can also display the completed puzzle on a stand.

The poisonous organs

Like any licensed fugu chef, you'll begin with the all-important task of removing the poisonous organs from the fish. In this toy, these are all easily identified in red:

The organ parts even have a skull mark on their backs in case you weren't sufficiently warned by the red color.

The edible parts

Now, you're left with the parts which are fit to eat and served in various fugu dishes. The most common way of eating fugu is sashimi, known as fugusashi or tessa, but you can also eat larger pieces from the body, collar and head, served in a stew called chirinabe or tecchiri, for example, and enjoy it in shabushabu, even fried in kara-age.

As for the other parts, kama or collar meat is sometimes grilled, the nakaochi meat on the backbone is sometimes scraped off but can also be served whole, and the collagen-rich beak and skin is also sometimes enjoyed in stews and side dishes. For the more adventurous, you can even have grilled shirako (soft roe, in other words, milt). Finally, a favorite among many fugu-lovers is hirezake, hot sake served with a grilled fugu fin.

As an extra surprise, the puzzle comes with a plate, upon which you can arrange pieces of tessa fugu sashimi. You'll find the slices embedded within each of the four parts representing the fugu's meat within the puzzle.

Your very own certificate

When you've successfully carved, dissected, disassembled, reassembled and identified all the parts, you can feel happy to own your very own certificate which states that "you are qualified by Megahouse Ltd. as a licensed fugu dissection puzzle chef."

Product information

  • Name (JP): 一尾買い!!トラフグ解体パズル
  • Transliteration: Ichibigai!! torafugu kaitai pazuru
  • Content: 34 puzzle parts (23 edible, 11 non-edible) + plate, knife, stand, certificate
  • Dimensions: W 110 mm x D 55 mm x H 50 mm
  • On sale from May 15th, 2020
  • Price: 1,580 JPY (excl. tax)

To find out more information, you can visit Megahouse's product page here.

By - Ben K.