10 Most Dangerous Foods to Avoid in Japan

Most Dangerous Foods to Avoid in Japan

Japan is a food lover’s paradise, but some dishes come with serious risks.

From the deadly poison in fugu to the bacteria in raw chicken, knowing what to avoid is crucial for a safe dining experience.

Discover the 10 most dangerous foods to steer clear of in Japan and why they’re worth the caution. 😊

1. Fugu (Pufferfish)

Delectable yet deadly Pufferfish
Delectable yet deadly Pufferfish

In Japan, Fugu is a famous delicacy that may also be deadly.

Only trained chefs with solid experience can prepare the food. The reason is that one faulty cut and this pufferfish becomes toxic.

A wrong cut releases a fatal neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. While the distinct taste of fugu appeals to adventurous foodies, it’s not worth the risk.

If you’re still up for the challenge, you may try but make sure to choose a reputable restaurant. Never compromise your health with the thrill of trying new things.

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2. Sashimi from River Fish

Freshwater fish with soy sauce
Freshwater fish with soy sauce

Sashimi is a delectable treat among locals and even tourists.

However, sashimi made from river fish is something you need to avoid. In general, freshwater fish is more prone to parasites that can be harmful to your body.

The risk of parasitic infection is high, especially for river fish sashimi. So, even if food safety standards in Japan are strict, it’s best to skip freshwater delicacies.

Opt for ocean fish sashimi instead for tastier and safer food. Always remember that your health is your priority. Take extra caution when trying new food.

3. Ikizukuri (Live Fish)

Ikizukuri, which translates to live fish
Ikizukuri, which translates to live fish

Eating live fish can be an exciting dining experience for some. Many love to indulge in the freshness of the Ikizukuri while also appreciating the chef’s artistic skills.

However, seeing the live fish, ready to be eaten, can be disturbing. Some people raise ethical issues with food preparation. Plus, this type of delicacy is risky due to possible bacterial infection.

So, if you have a sensitive stomach, forego this local food. If you’re still interested in trying the live fish, choose a reputable restaurant with strict hygiene regulations.

4. Basashi (Raw Horse Meat)

A platter of Basashi or raw horse meat
A platter of Basashi or raw horse meat

Certain regions in the country consider raw horse meat as a local delicacy. Basashi is known for its tender and palatable meat that’s best paired with soy sauce and garlic.

Although eating raw meat is interesting, it poses a series of bacterial infections. Basashi may cause health problems like salmonella and E. coli.

If you’re keen on trying something new, it’s always recommended to choose high-quality restaurants. Renowned establishments follow strict food preparation standards to minimize the risk.

5. Shark Fin

A delightful presentation of Shark fin soup
A delightful presentation of Shark fin soup

In terms of luxurious delicacy, shark fin is always part of the list. However, this luxury delicacy poses health risks. The shark fin may have high mercury levels that can be dangerous.

In addition, the usage of the main ingredient poses ethical concerns. Finning is something that is considered an unsustainable practice, affecting the deteriorating shark population.

So, if given the opportunity to try this food, you might as well revisit the potential health risks. Plus, reflect on the environmental impact.

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6. Shirako

A bowl of Shirako or soft cod roe
A bowl of Shirako or soft cod roe

Have you ever tried to eat a raw cod milt? Shirako is another delicacy that’s quite appealing for its distinct appearance and taste.

But just like other raw foods, bacterial infections may occur when eating Shirako. In addition, cod roe comes with significantly high cholesterol content.

You may give this a try, but prepare yourself with possible risks. If it’s your first time, just opt for the grilled or hot pot option. These cooking preparations are recommended to minimize risks.

7. Raw Liver

Unsettling appearance of a raw liver
Unsettling appearance of a raw liver

As you explore the local gastronomic scene of Japan, you might come across raw liver dishes.

These are often sourced from beef or chicken. Many locals devour this unique delicacy because of the richness of vitamins.

However, eating raw liver can be risky. The freshness can foster parasites and bacteria, resulting in foodborne diseases.

So, try to avoid eating raw liver during your food escapade in Japan. Or better yet, indulge in cooked liver cuisines for a palatable experience with nutritional value.

8. Raw Chicken

Raw chicken and some side dishes
Raw chicken and some side dishes

Another unique delicacy of Japan is the toriwasa. This raw chicken is often prepared in high-end restaurants. However, the risk of bacterial infection is prominent when eating this food.

It may cause salmonella or Campylobacter infection or severe gastrointestinal problems. Undesirable symptoms include diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Since no method is foolproof, especially when preparing raw chicken, it’s best to avoid them fully.

Or if you’re really interested, go to a top-rated restaurant. Lessen the health risks by dining from a renowned food spot that follows stringent hygiene practices.

9. Raw Eggs

Raw eggs on top of rice
Raw eggs on top of rice

When in Japan, raw eggs are popular in many cuisines. Locals love eating rice with raw eggs, which is known as tamago kake gohan.

Although Japan is stringent with its farming practices, there’s still a risk of bacterial infection.

Salmonella is a common aftermath when eating raw eggs. And for vulnerable groups, this may lead to food poisoning.

So, if this is something you want to try, be sure that the eggs are fresh. Proper storage is a key factor when eating raw eggs.

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10. Kusaya

A package of dried fishes
A package of dried fishes

When it comes to local delicacies, the list would not be complete without the kusaya. This dried fish exudes a pungent odor and distinct taste that may appeal to some.

Kusaya follows a fermentation process, which can be risky if not done appropriately. Incorrect fermentation of the fish breeds harmful bacteria.

So, always be careful when purchasing this traditional food. Buy from trusted shops to make sure that it’s safe to eat.

And since this is an extreme delicacy, remember to eat with caution. Or you may skip this at all if you have a weak stomach.

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