Cheap Eats at Bloglander

[ Currently Eating: Portagee Sausage ]

Hello. Howzit.

To be honest – and when am I not honest – I’ve had a hard time reverting back to non-Hawaiian-vacation mode. Sitting on a beach in a tropical paradise will do that to you.

To be completely honest – I was trying to think of what kind of post would take the least amount of effort and brainpower. I’m still on Hawaii-time and the old bastard brain is not really functionallying correctly.

To be completely, absolutely honest – I would like to end this post right now and run back to the islands. I would set up a shack selling Cheap Eats of Hawaii.

To tell you the absolute, unequivocal, daring, honest truthfully truth – I have run out of ideas. What, you no like?

So here are some words and pictures of fish from Hawaii, and their resulting crispification (this is probably not a word, but I honestly challenge you to refrain from googling it with your itchy trigger finger).

I’ve been a fisherman since birth, and come from a long line of ancient mariner fisherpeoples (Gramps was a well-known handline angler in Hawaii – picture Hemingway’s Old Farking Man and Da Sea). So when I say that catching your own fish for food qualifies as Cheap Eats material, you should believe me.

Honestly, would I tell one lie? Cherry trees, I goin chop ‘em.

There is a large, large issue with catching your own fish – and that is, in most states you’ll need an (expensive) license to fish. Then there are all sorts of boring regulations and limits and size requirements to follow. I’m not even going to tell you how much the California DFG regulation book weighs. Holy crap, I can’t believe the amount of restrictions there are.

And trust me, DO NOT take above the limit and please follow all the farking regulations. Speaking from experience, would you like to know how much the fine is for not having a license or taking more than your limit?

Let me tell you, it is quite a bit more than a speeding ticket.

But in Hawaii – there is no license (no marine license, that is – I believe you need a freshwater license). The limits and regulations are nowhere near as restrictive as the mainland. (By the way, a lot of residents moonlight as commercial fisherman – you just need a $50 commercial license, and you’re ready to go. Sign me up.) And there are obvious “pollution” aspects from chemical factories here in Cali that don’t really exist in Hawaii (well, ciguatera was an issue for awhile.)

It’s a farking fisherman’s paradise. No bulai.

And it makes “subsistence fishing” very, very attractive. My uncle in Hawaii, who is a retired semi-famous chef (no, not Sam Bok Choy), actually says that nowadays, he’ll just go down to the beach in the morning and catch a few fish for dinner. I think a lot of people do that, or if not, damn they should.

Everything is expensive in Hawaii, especially if you’re a tourist. But if you live there, you can get by just catching your dinner and picking fruit.

Trust me, would I lie or exaggerate greatly to da max?

We actually went down to the beach twice to fish – once to try catch some hagi (triggerfish), and the other time it was at night for delicious upapalu (a type of cardinalfish). No luck on the hagis, but we did catch some moana (goatfish) shown in the photo at top.

But then, our nice neighbor brought over some menpachi (u’u, or soldierfish) that were leftover from his commercial fishing venture. Nice guy. Menpachi are a pretty popular fish around here.

Menpachi have a distinct smell, so you really gotta fry ‘em. No boil or steam the buggahs. Also, try watch the bones. But ho, they ono.

We fried em up outside the house fo’ prevent da kine stink. Ono, with light beer and smiles all around. Uncles and aunts, all talking story.

[Editor's Note: This post was brought to you by honesty and Hawaii. Much Mahalo-ness to you. I am sure that I've over-simpified fishing in Hawaii versus fishing in California. I'm sure there are other ramifications and hidden cost of living issues. I'm sure the grass is always da kine greener. However, I just want to say that if you gave me a choice, I'd choose fishing in Hawaii. One of my fondest memories is handlining uku with dad and grandpa from a small boat off the Kona coast. I don't even know if that's possible any more.]

One Response to “Catch Your Own Fish”

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  1. lc Says:

    Ahhhh . . . the wonder of cheap-eats fresh fish! I missed out on some crucial fishing gene, but mother, father, aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends were fanatics. That was good because my fish-eating gene was extremely active. My memories are of weekends, helping my father clean fish, freshly caught in West Pearl River near Slidell, LA. We would sit on the back porch of our one-room houseboat, clean bream and freshwater catfish, and take them right in to my mother who had hot oil ready for frying. She applied a little salt, rolled them in cornmeal, shook them off and plopped them in the pot, a deep cast-iron skillet. The light and delicious feast that resulted was not the heavily battered, soggy, greasy institutionalized crimes against food commonly served as fried fish in many of today’s eateries.



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