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Cup Noodles serves up notoriously poisonous pufferfish

Tokyo CNN —

Pufferfish is regarded as a luxury in Japan and a meal featuring the potentially poisonous delicacy can easily cost up to 20,000 yen ($125) at high-end restaurants.

But now, adventurous foodies in Japan can get a taste of “fugu” for a fraction of the price, from a Cup Noodle.

Japanese instant noodle giant Nissin Foods released the new pufferfish flavor on Monday, expanding its massive lineup. The noodles sell for a recommended price of 298 yen ($1.90).

The “essence” of pufferfish is condensed into a small packet of oil to be added to the soup base, Nissin said in a statement on its website, though it did not divulge how the potentially deadly flavoring is prepared.

“In recent years … ramen shops specializing in fugu ramen have been popping up, grabbing the hearts of many ramen fans,” it said.

A Nissin spokesperson told CNN it has no plans to sell the fugu flavor outside Japan.

Each cup comes with dried chicken meatballs, spring onions and Japanese-style shredded egg in a soup base enriched by a dash of yuzu, according to the statement.

A CNN journalist who tried the instant noodles said it tasted of seafood broth and yuzu, a citrus fruit commonly used in Japanese cooking. Fugu generally has a mild flavor, which wasn’t prominent in the dish.

Nissin was founded in 1958 by Momofuku Ando, who saw a need for cheap, accessible food amid shortages following the end of World War II. The company has since expanded into an international household name synonymous with its signature Cup Noodles.

The company posted revenue of more than 732 billion yen ($4.59 billion) in the year to March 2024.

While pufferfish, served regularly as sashimi or in hot pot, is a prized item in the Japanese culinary world, almost all