Dave the Diver is a game about making delicious sushi and other dishes using exotic sea life as ingredients. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously, but I feel compelled to point out that attempting to eat some of Bancho’s dishes might not be the most pleasant experience. Would Bancho Sushi pass a health inspection, or would it kill some of its patrons? Let’s take a look at some of the…interesting food items in Dave the Diver.
Let’s start with jellyfish. You can make sushi with several types of jellyfish, including the infamous box jellyfish. These things are among the most venomous living things on Earth, capable of killing swimmers in minutes if they get caught in their tentacles. And in Dave the Diver, Bancho serves them up raw with rice and nori. Strictly speaking, the bell portion of jellyfish should be safe to eat, since the stinging cells are only on the tentacles. But the in-game art features some tentacles served on the side. It’s unclear if they’ve been treated in some way to disable the stings (no, urine does not work), but I personally would push them to the far side of the plate.
Other jellyfish, like barrel jellyfish or fried-egg jellyfish, probably won’t kill you even if you touch their tentacles. Their venoms are much less potent than the box jelly’s, though getting stung still isn’t pleasant. Despite the danger, many cultures around the world regularly consume jellyfish. (Speaking from experience, it’s kind of crunchy.) It’s important to note that some species of jellyfish are poisonous if not prepared properly, so let’s hope Bancho knows what he’s doing.
Speaking of poisonous seafood, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention pufferfish. Almost all pufferfish are poisonous to varying degrees, and the two species in Dave the Diver are no exception. Preparation of pufferfish as food is heavily regulated in Japan and Korea. It appears that Bancho does indeed have a pufferfish license, so it should be safe to eat the pufferfish he serves. Still, if you start to feel a numbing or tingling sensation in your mouth while eating, it’s probably best to put down those chopsticks.
Many predatory reef fish like triggerfish, barracuda, and moray eels can be poisonous as well. Depending on what the fish have eaten, they can accumulate high levels of ciguatoxin in their flesh. The toxin doesn’t hurt the fish, but in humans, it can cause an illness called ciguatera. While you’re unlikely to die from ciguatera, it can lead to numbness, vomiting, diarrhea, and serious neurological issues. On top of this, the same chemical properties that made it hard for the fish to expel the toxin also apply to you. Once it’s in your system, ciguatoxin is difficult to get rid of, and symptoms can last for days to years depending on how much you ate.
Just plain gross
Food doesn’t have to be deadly in order to be unpleasant. Bancho serves a lot of shark dishes in various forms. Sharks have massive amounts of bitter-tasting urea in their flesh and blood. We humans excrete urea through our urine, but for sharks, the urea helps prevent them from dehydrating. When they die, the urea starts converting to ammonia, which has a foul odor on top of an acrid taste. There are ways to mitigate this, but in my experience, the smell and taste of ammonia can be so overpowering that the dish is nearly inedible. Shark meat isn’t something I recommend for the faint of heart.
Deep-sea fish in general have their own problems. Many of them, like the barreleye and snailfish, are uniquely adapted for extreme pressures. Bringing them to the surface causes the gases in their bodies to expand, damaging their internal structures and turning their flesh into gelatinous mush. I guess it would technically be edible, but it would be difficult to make sushi out of.
Interestingly, nautiluses are entirely edible. You do need to get them out of their shell though, and their meat doesn’t have the classic brown stripes that are on the shell. The in-game art for nautilus sushi is definitely striped though, so is Bancho serving you the shell too? I can’t imagine you’re supposed to crunch up and swallow the inedible shell. Maybe you’re meant to remove the shell before eating?
Is Bancho a star chef or a murderer?
So far, it doesn’t look like anyone’s died from eating Bancho’s food. Dining at Bancho Sushi is probably perfectly fine, especially given those high ratings in Cooksta.
Just exercise caution when eating seafood in the real world. Do your research before putting things in your mouth and make sure your food is prepared according to safety guidelines.