If you thought eating fugu was scary, just wait ’til you try its milt.

Even the most adventurous of foodies will draw a line at some point, and for our reporter Seiji Nakazawa, that line has always been pufferfish, or “fugu” as it’s known in Japan.

You see, Seiji has always been afraid of eating pufferfish, which, when you think about it, isn’t that unusual, given that you can die if the poisonous parts of the fish haven’t been properly removed by an experienced chef.

So Seiji found himself in an odd situation the other day, when he found himself with a plate of fugu in front of him. Only this time, it wasn’t the flesh of the fish staring him in the face, but its semen.

▼ Seiji’s fugu adventure took place at Kanazawa Maimon Sushi, on the restaurant floor of Parco_ya in Tokyo.

It was Seiji’s first time visiting Parco_ya, and when he decided to explore its restaurant floor, Kanazawa Maimon Sushi was the place that caught his eye. This restaurant chain, which hails from Ishikawa Prefecture, is like a gourmet conveyor belt sushi restaurant, where diners sit at the counter in front of the sushi chefs, and a conveyor belt sits between between the diners and the chefs.

While you’re able to pick up plates of sushi as they pass by in front of you, you can also place orders with staff as well. Prices are slightly higher than a lot of budget conveyor belt restaurants, but the quality of the food is higher as well.

Seiji had always wanted to eat at Kanazawa Maimon Sushi, but there aren’t many branches in Tokyo, so this was a bit of a thrill. Perhaps feeling emboldened by his excitement at having found a branch so near to his home in Tokyo, he did the unthinkable, and ordered the Fugu Shirako Gunkan for 570 yen (US$4.02).

Shirako (literally “white child”) is the Japanese word for milt, or fish semen, and Seiji actually likes cod milt, so his curiosity about fugu milt got the better of him. However, when it arrived in front of him, he began to rethink his life choices.

Was this really a wise decision? There were plenty of other tasty options on the menu, but for some reason, it felt like fate had brought Seiji and this plate together. Either way, there was no turning back now, and he had to admit, it didn’t look too bad, especially with the citrus peel topping.

He got out the soy sauce and splashed a good lashing of it over his gunkan (literally “battleship”, which is what seaweed-wrapped sushi like this is called due to its likeness to a battleship shape). Gathering his courage, he lifted one of the pieces to his mouth and took a bite. At that moment, something instantly gushed out of the mix and wet straight down his throat.

Seiji’s eyes widened in shock, and he felt strangely violated by the experience. It was a lot lumpier than cod milt too, making him wonder what the heck he was eating. What made the whole thing even more strange was the fact that after the gush, the volume of milt remained the same, leaving him wondering what it was.

Thinking it might’ve been a one-off, Seiji picked up the second piece, and lo and behold, he was hit again with that same gush of…something. It was as if the stuff was so fresh it was bursting with juices, and while he couldn’t say exactly what it was, he could say it was the most incomprehensible thing he’s ever tasted.

The best way he could describe it was “a creamy, salty sea taste that’s unique to blowfish milt”. It also had a lingering aftertaste, so he followed it up with some plump shrimp…

▼ …and some mackerel, both of which were delicious.

The food at Kanazawa Maimon Sushi is certainly a level above your regular kaitenzushi joint, so if you’ve ever wanted to try pufferfish milt, this is a good place to take the plunge. The fugu milt is only around for a limited time during summer though, until 20 August, and according to the company website, it’s only available at the following branches: Tama Plaza, Center Minami, Ueno, Shibuya Parco, Sangenjaya, Aeon Mall Makuhari Shintoshin, Yoshikawa Minami, and Mark Is Fukuoka Momochi.

If you’re keen to explore the other side of the mating pool, you can always order fugu ovaries.

Restaurant information
Kanazawa Maimon Sushi Ueno / 金沢まいもん寿司上野
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Uueno 3-24-6, Parco_ya 6F
東京都台東区上野3丁目24-6 パルコヤ6階
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (last order 9:30 p.m.)
Open every day (subject to the facility’s hours)

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