Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Different Between Stonefish and Japanese Fugu

Stonefish (left) and Japanese fugu (right)

At my previous article (Stonefish: Venomous Spikes, but Delicious Meat), some friends confused between two venomous fishes, stonefish and Japanese fugu. Sure, they have different scientific names, organs source of poisonous and the way of handling their poisonous.

Scientific genus for stonefish is Synanceia, while famous genus of Japanese fugu is Takifugu. The most poisonous and prestigious fugu called torafugu translated to tiger blowfish in English.

Spikes, 13 spikes are venomous parts of stonefish; thus, sting is the way of poison to penetrate human body. Japanese fugu has a liver as the most poisonous organ, and there are some other venomous parts as well, include skin, ovaries and eyes.  

Certificate to sell and buy of Japanese fugu, credit to Natrainner

Toxic for Stonefish is Verrucotoxin, whereas Tetrodotoxin is poison for Japanese fugu. Tetrodotoxin is more dangerous than cyanide, measured by 1200 times deadly compared to cyanide. Exposure to Tetrodotoxin by “a pinhead” could kill an adult in hours.

Handling of both stonefish and Japanese fugu needs the special chef. Since the most dangerous, it is tough to get license to sell and buy Japanese fugu. Like going to college, training is rigorous and could be 4 years. Long hours of training, but not everybody will pass and get certificate.

In term of price, stonefish price is US$30 per-kg (US$15 per-pound) in the American grocery. I don’t know any restaurants offer stonefish dishes. As far as I remember, Japanese fugu dish is 5 thousand yen (US$45). 

However, through Google searching, the price of Japanese fugu dishes could range as cheap as US$9 to as expensive as US$200.

I love many Japanese foods such as Sushi, Onigiri, Okonomiyaki, Kare raisu, Ramen, Yakitori and Udon. But not fan of poisonous Puffer fish or Stonefish, and not raw fish. 

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stonefish: Venomous Spikes, but Delicious Meat

Stone fish sold in an ethnic grocery

I saw Stonefish, an ugly and venomous creature in an ethnic grocery several days ago. Stonefish’s spikes are most deadly spikes compared to other fish. The venom called as verrucotoxin is a neurotoxic venom which could kill an adult by an hour. 

At least, the venom results in extreme pain to the people. Body reaction may in forms of heart failure and severe shocks. Wounded can’t be healed for long time, goes months, and even years for some cases. 

Sashimi of Stonefish, credit to Shaira Luna

I ask to the grocery employees, why they sell the Stonefish. One clerk said that it is because of deliciousness. The answer was quite surprising me, I never expected that venomous fish is a good food for eating.

I am googling, the outcomes: wow, the fish is one of favorites menus in several Asian countries. The people over there either fry or boil the fish, then mixed with special seasoning. Look very delicious.

Japanese is eating raw Stonefish as sashimi, namely “Okoze.” Special chef needed to prepare this kind of sashimi. In case you don’t know, sashimi is a slice of raw fish eaten with special “seasoning,” usually wasabi paste and sauces.

I love sushi, sushi with salmon or fish eggs, but never eat sashimi when I was in Japan long time ago. I just know that Okoze sushi also sold here in America. 

In nature, the fish lives in Pacific and Indian oceans. There are 5 species, namely Synanceia alula, S. horrida, S. nana, S. platyrhyncha and S. verrucose. The size very much depends on species, the range of weigh is 1 to 5 pound (0.5 to 2.5 kg) and length size is around 14 to 20 inches. 

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Small Size of Coconut Tree

Young green coconut attached on a dwarf tree

Naturally, coconut trees (Cocus nucifera) could reach 60 ft (20 meter). Not only difficult to harvest, but also dangerous of falling the fruits. Hundreds of people dead every year due to falling of coconuts. Higher compared to be killed by lightning and shark.  

Biologists have successfully created hybrids by crossing tall and dwarf varieties with result of shorter trees. In addition to small size (less than 2 meter height) that the fruits could be picked easily, and the trees produce quicker. 

Water and flesh of young coconut

Shorter plant takes 2 to 4 years for producing, whereas the taller varieties need 5 to 9 years to produce fruits after planting. The advantage of dwarf trees that they have more coconuts per year than taller ones. However, shorter trees have life span around 25 years only, while taller ones up to 100 years. 

Here, in the USA, the ethic groceries sell brown and green outer skin coconuts. The green is young coconut for fresh consumption. People drink the water and eat the flesh (meat) of young coconuts.

Brown refer to mature coconut. People used older fruit for many purposes, include for source of cooking oil, beauty products (skin moisturizer and softener, prevent wrinkle and improve skin elasticity) and source of medicine (treats skin burns and blisters, and prevent infections).  

Coconut contains good medium chain triglyceride of saturated fat (raising good cholesterol), magnesium, protein, highly potassium, iron and number of vitamins (K, B-6, E and C). It is believed that consume coconut water and flesh may promote good functions of muscle, digestive system and heart contractions.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

When Will Cashiers Extinct?

Counter without cashier

Many jobs have disappeared in recently and many more in next 10 years in America. If they are existing, they might be in different fashions. There are many reasons, some of them are cheap labor costs elsewhere, immigration and consumer tastes. 

However, the most reason is automation or high technology to conduct service and produce consumer goods. Several jobs are predicted to be extinct soon include postal workers, jewelers, telemarketers, cashiers, manufacturing workers and even farmers. 

A digital receipt, credit to Walmart

Since last years, we saw more than 80% counters are without cashiers in Walmart, the biggest grocery store in the USA. It is mean that we must check out by ourselves. The system made difficult for us at first, but we are getting familiar now.

We not only pay electronically for groceries, but also could get digital copy of purchase receipt by registration at Walmart Supercenter. No receipt paper and might save tropical trees for future generations. In this sense, automation is good for us.  


Friday, November 30, 2018

PJ’S, the Local Coffee to Compete with Starbuck

Black coffee

Starbuck coffee known as one of American symbols, has 28,218 coffee houses worldwide, even no corner without Starbucks in the USA. More than 2 thousand stores are opened each year which contribute to sales and share prices increasing in recent years. 

Since coffee is one of promising business, many states create their own brand to compete with Starbuck. We easily find grounded coffee beans as a gift or a souvenirs in tourist destination areas across America.

Cappuccino and regular coffee 

I stop by in one of coffee houses when I visited New Orleans, Louisiana last week. The PJ’s is a local coffee shop, founded by Phyllis Jordan (PJ’s) in Carrollton neighborhood, New Orleans in 1978. Since then PJ’S expanded its business to 150 locations across USA.

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Open hours

PJ’S plans to open new 100 franchise in several countries include Vietnam, Kuwait and Malaysia. Coffee business is booming in the South East Asia countries. Now, they have many choices in addition to Starbuck coffee.

PJ’s seems to compete with Starbuck in term of product variations, room convenient and even open hours. Surprisingly, the shop opens very early morning at 5.00 AM weekdays. Hopefully, the competition would bring up quality, variation of drink products and down the price.    




Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sweet Tangerine Fruit in My backyard

Sweet tangerines

Tangerine is varieties of citrus, come from place called Tangier, Morocco. Tangerine with scientific name Citrus tangerina is hybrid of Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), well known fruit of China's origin. The fruit first time come to Florida, USA is a quite long time ago, around 1800s.

Florida once to be center of Tangerine production in the USA. However, diseases created great loss to tangerine farmers, especially in the last 11 years. Bacteria spread by insects, psyllid caused wrinkling fruits, then trees died slowly.

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Branches bear a lot of fruits

California replaces Florida as center for Tangerine production in the USA currently. California has produced 41 percent of citrus, include Tangerine, Valencia and Navel. Tangerine is growing popular right now. 

We planted a Tangerine tree in the backyard and harvest the fruits in November every year. The citrus has thin and loose skin; thus, we could pull away the skin from the fruit easily. The orange is sweet, even as one of the sweetest fruits I ever eat. 

In the southern parts of USA (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas), Tangerine grows well, and the fruits ripe from October to January. Many people said that Tangerines sweeter and stronger flavor than other oranges. 

Why not Just try it? 



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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Limousine and Motorcade in Funeral Procession

Polices blocked my way

I was frightening when police motorbike and cars stop me suddenly while green light turn on. I ask myself:” what wrong with me?” Then, I saw at least two Limousines and many other types of cars pass through from another road (my right). 

It was first time for me to see funeral procession in the America. Funeral processions have the rights to continue their driving even when red traffic light, and we must stop to allow procession pass though while our traffic light is green. Never cut in a funeral procession.

We may resume our traffic after the last vehicle of procession pass through by looking the flags. The last vehicle usually has at least two flags and it has light flashing sometimes.    

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