Where to find it: Japan
What it is: Fugu, or pufferfish, is one of the cutest fish on the planet. If Disney were to design a fish it might look something like a large-eyed fugu in its puffed up form. That’s ironic‡ since fugu is also the world’s most poisonous fish.
Why it’s lethal: Don’t blame the poor pufferfish. It isn’t it’s fault that it has deadly concentrations of the poison tetrodotoxin in it’s ovaries, liver and skin. That’s the work of bacteria that’s found in the Pacific (but not Atlantic) pufferfish. The same bacteria lives in other sea creatures including triggerfish and blue-ringed octopuses.
How to eat it: While some markets in Japan sell fugu for shoppers to cook at home, might we suggest going to a restaurant instead? And maybe this isn’t the time to look for the cheapest restaurant either. A chef must go to school of years (usually two or three) and pass a series of tests to obtain a license to prepare fugu for the public. The fish is available at local restaurants throughout Japan. The most delicious (and also most poisonous) variety, tora fugu, should run you about ¥10,000 (roughly US$120) per entrée.
Where to find it: Jamaica primarily, but also Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and most countries in western Africa.
What it is: The fruit of a tree of the same name. Ackee is an evergreen tree. In Africa ackee fruit is also used to make soap and the bark in component in herbal medicines.
Why it’s lethal: You’ve got two things to worry about: One is the seeds, the other is fruit that isn’t ripe. Removing the seeds is easy enough. Selecting only ripe fruit requires a bit more care, one reason why some countries have strict rules on the importation of ackee products. Eating unripe ackee will cause an unfortunate dinner to contract Jamaican Vomiting Sickness (yes, that’s the clinical term). In addition to the obvious symptom the afflicted are prone to seizures, comas and possibly death.
How to eat it: Dishes with ackee can easily be found at local restaurants around Jamaica. We’re partial to ackee and saltfish, the combination of which is arguably Jamaica’s national meal. For what it is worth: Spot Cool Stuff has consumed dishes with ackee numerous times in Jamaica without any (apparent) negative effects.
Check Out what else can kill you (if not eaten right) @ SPOTCoolStuff