I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to eating, I’ve had kangaroo, crocodile and rabbit but I’ve never had anything deadly. My resolve was tested when I was invited to try Fugu or Puffer fish at Kitsho Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Traders Hotel Manila. Executive Chef Masahiro Mizumoto is the only licensed “fugu” chef in the Philippines. Fugu is the 2nd most poisonous animal in the world so careful extraction of the Tetrodotoxins takes at least five years of training and a thorough examination before a license is granted.
The decor at Kitsho is unassuming, the ambiance is quiet with both taking a back seat to the prowess of Chef Masahiro Mizumoto. There’s a big glass window into the kitchen where you can observe the precise movements of his team.
I was still a bit apprehensive despite being assured that eating fugu is safe so we started with a couple of the regular sushi and sashimi dishes starting with Salmon and Tuna/Maguro (P320). The salmon is so nice and fatty, it give a silky ans smooth feeling in the mouth. One of the best salmon sashimi I’ve had in Manila.
Take Nigiri Sushi (P850), a lacquered container filled with 10 pieces of assorted sushi and a 6 piece roll. The fish slices are pretty thick and cover more than just the rice so you actually get a better deal. All the sushi pieces are as fresh as the sashimi while the rice had a nice vinegar taste.
We also got a pair of Hamachi Sushi. I’ve not really appreciated hamachi before until I had these. I put one into my mouth and as I bit into it, the fish just kinda melted. It was so good.
The Fugu set (P3800/4 courses, good for 3-4 people) followed next. The first course is a plate of thinly sliced fugu sashimi, skin and collagen was laid out on a beautiful plate. I think I was the first one in our group to sample this dangerous delicacy.
The right way to eat fugu sashimi is to get a piece of the meat, you can add skin or collagen if you prefer then add spring onion and then roll it up like the one in the picture. I skipped the lemon in this one so I could experience the flavors of the fugu.
You then dip that roll in their homemade Ponzu sauce that adds a tart and salty element. The texture of the fugu is unusual, it felt like a chewier fish somewhat similar to squid but not really. After my first bite and still not dying emboldened me to eat more. The taste and texture actually grows on you, for something a little different try the skin and collagen.
The 2nd course was Fugu Kara-age, deep fried meat and bone of the fugu. This time around the citrus flavors of the lemon served to heighten my enjoyment. Cooked really well, this could pass as a soft piece of chicken or a number of many other fishes. If no one told you this was fugu, you would not even be able to tell.
The 3rd course was Fugu Chirinabe (hotpot). Lesser cuts of the fugu, assorted vegetables and shirataki noodles are simmered in a light broth. The broth is sweet but a dash of the ponzu sauces livened it up a lot.
The last course was Fugu congee. The remaining broth from the previous course are kept and then spring onion, rice and eggs are added and then cooked to a boil. This is particularly good so you’d better leave space for this one. The rice just absorbs all the sweet flavors of the broth similar to cooking risotto. This actually reminded me of the suki from Coca Restaurant.
After the fugu courses, the other dishes just could not compare to the sense of danger consuming it elicited.
Kitsho Japanese Restaurant and Sushi BarG/F Traders Hotel Manila . 3001 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City Philippines Telephone No.: (63 2) 708-4888
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