Fancy food ain’t safe food: Norovirus sickens 49 at glitzy Ginza eatery Bvlgari in Tokyo

A luxury restaurant in the posh Ginza district in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward has been hit by food poisoning caused by norovirus with 49 people showing symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Tuesday.

la-cuccina-di-luca-fantin-bvlgari-food-book9The affected people were among 138 participants in a stand-up party held at Bvlgari Il Ristorante Luca Fantin on Dec. 11, and their symptoms appeared on Dec. 12-13, according to the metropolitan government.

The ward ordered the restaurant to suspend its business for three days from Tuesday, though it has already been closed since Friday.

This was the second norovirus poisoning case at the restaurant after one in March 2010.

Not just a Brit thing: Tokyo’s ‘Naked restaurant’ will turn away fatties

A restaurant opening in Tokyo next month plans to offer a “naked” dining experience, but only if potential diners meet a weight requirement.

naked.lunchThe Amrita restaurant, will require diners to check in their clothes and put on paper undergarments provided by the restaurant, AFP reported.

The restaurant cautions would-be customers to avoid making a reservation or coming to the restaurant at all if they are “more than 15 kilos,” or 33 pounds over the average weight for their height.

If a guests looks like they are carrying a few extra pounds, they will be weighed and if they are overweight, entry will be denied. According to the restaurant, those who made reservations, but were refused because of a few extra pounds, will not get a refund, AFP reported.

Poop-flavored curry now available in new Tokyo restaurant; how did owner know what poo tastes like?

I don’t like curry.

Poop-flavored curry sounds worse.

poop.curryA new restaurant in Tokyo named Curry Shop Shimizu is unlike any other curry shop. They offer their signature dish in a toilet-shaped plate, and for good reason – the restaurant offers poo-flavored curry.

Apparently, Curry Shop Shimizu’s main reason for opening a shop which specializes in poo curry is originality. The restaurant reportedly wanted to be “the world’s first” something, and following some brainstorming, the creators came up with the idea thinking nobody else in the world would offer such a curry.

According to Kotaku, even Japanese site NariNari has called the poo-flavored curry “shocking” with the eatery being certainly a “first for mankind.”

The restaurant calls their poop curry “unko curry.” The name might sound disgusting, but the contents of the unko curry isn’t really inedible. The poop curry is reportedly made from “exceedingly healthy ingredients,” including green tea, cocoa powder and goya, to name a few.

Sounds like poop.

Tokyo chefs swell with anger over new blowfish laws

Blowfish chefs are upset that Japan, which just threatened to tighten regulations on serving raw meat to control disease, is proposing to loosen regs on potentially deadly blowfish.

Reuters reports that for more than six decades, dicing blowfish in Tokyo has been the preserve of a small band of strictly regulated and licensed chefs, usually in exclusive restaurants.

But new laws coming into effect from October are opening the lucrative trade to restaurants without a license, making chefs like Naohito Hashimoto see red.

"We have spent time and money in order to obtain and use the blowfish license, but with these new rules anybody can handle blowfish even without a license," said Hashimoto, a blowfish chef for some 30 years.

"They’re saying it’s now okay to serve blowfish. We licensed chefs feel this way of thinking is a bit strange."

The poison known as tetrododoxin is found in parts of the blowfish, including the liver, heart, intestines and eyes, and is so intense that a tiny amount will kill.

Every year there are reports of people dying after preparing blowfish at home.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says city laws covering the serving of blowfish should be changed to reflect changing times and hope that relaxing the rules will cut prices and bring Tokyo in line with the rest of the nation.

"Outside of Tokyo, the regulations for blowfish are even more relaxed and yet there are hardly any poison-related accidents," said Hironobu Kondo, an official at the city’s Food Control Department.

"There is the hope that the number of restaurants with unlicensed chefs serving blowfish will rise, and that blowfish as an ingredient will be used not only for traditional Japanese foods but also others such as Chinese and Western foods."

A full course meal of blowfish, known as fugu in Japanese, features delicacies such as blowfish tempura, slices of raw fish thin enough to see through fanned out across a plate like chrysanthemum petals, and toasted fins in cups of hot sake.

But the meal is far from cheap, as diners pay for the safety of a licensed chef. At Hashimoto’s restaurant, a meal costs at least 10,000 yen a person.

"I don’t want people to forget that you can actually die from eating blowfish," he said. "I feel the government’s awareness of this has diminished."

6 killed, 5 injured by New Year mochi rice cakes in Tokyo

Apparently it’s a choking thing.

Six people have choked to death and five others are in a serious condition after eating traditional glutinous "mochi" rice cakes to celebrate the New Year in Tokyo.

The victims, in their 70s or older, died of suffocation over the weekend after eating the New Year delicacy, fire department officials said today.

During the New Year period, one of Japan’s biggest holidays, families traditionally cook "ozouni" soup and put the sticky rice cakes in the vegetable broth.

"Please be aware that mochi, which is so sticky, may cause suffocation if you swallow mochi without chewing it well," the fire department said.

It is advising people, especially the elderly and infants – several of whom die each year from choking on mochi – to cut it into small pieces before eating it.