• From blowfish to stonefish

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    Executive Japanese Chef Masahiro Mizumoto with his daring specialty

    Japanese Chef Masahiro Mizumoto’s extreme delicacies
    Executive Chef Masahiro Mizumoto takes his expertise to the extreme to excite the diners at Kitsho, the Japanese restaurant of Traders Hotel Manila.

    In 2012, food adventurers were delighted as the Japanese chef introduced the exquisite fugu (blowfish) menu. For the uninformed, fugu is the second most poisonous fish in the world. Back in Chef Mizumoto’s home country, chefs have to pass a very strict licensure examination before they can prepare and cook fugu. Chef Mizumoto, of course, is a proud passer and license holder.

    This year, Chef Mizumoto goes even more daring as he again highlights a poisonous fish—and now he picked the most poisonous of them all—the stonefish.

    The stonefish has 13 poisonous spines on its back, which can be fatal to human beings with just a mere contact. A master of camouflage, it resembles a rock and can live out of the sea for 24 hours. Once stepped on, it can cause excruciating pain, shock, paralysis and even death unless immediate medical attention is received.

    But with the expert hands of Chef Mizumoto, there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Kitsho’s executive chef will be serving okoze (stonefish) sashimi until September 30.

    Though this author is braver the second time around, Chef Mizumoto assured that the stonefish is actually “less dangerous” to prepare than fugu. He said, “Stonefish only has poison on its back spines. If you remove these, the poison is gone unlike the fugu which has poison in the eyes, brain, veins, blood and all over its outer skin.”

    Chef Mizumoto adds that even if he didn’t have to take a licensure exam to cook stonefish, he removes the poisonous fins very carefully so that the poison will not spread to its edible parts.

    After the meticulous preparation, he then creates a beautiful stonefish sashimi platter with thin slices of fish meat, stomach, inner skin and liver with raw fish itself—all served on a small wooden boat.

    The meat, stomach and skin are chewy with a very fresh and light taste, while the liver is tastier and saltier. The plate is then garnished with ponzu sauce and ground radish. Eating the dish is actually refreshing to the taste buds and at the same time feels like an achievement.

    But what makes Traders’ version of okoze sashimi really special is that Chef Mizumoto handles the fish from start to finish.

    Chef Mizumoto explained, “I personally go to the public markets to get the stonefish catch of the day. Though it is less expensive than Japan’s okoze, what is important is that the stonefish here is always fresh.”

    Asked what public markets he goes to, the ever-cheerful Chef revealed, “My favorite markets here are the ones in Cartimar and Baclaran.”

    For more information, call Kitsho Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar at 708-4888 Three days prior reservation is required for okoze dishes.

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