Sake Gumi

I love Dead Poets Society. When I first saw the movie in Japan, I bought a duffle coat just like them, and begged my mama to change the liner to red satin. No wonder she said no, since that sounds so fucking gay.

I live a couple of blocks from Ethan Hawke, and see him pretty often. Every time I do, I want to tell him he WAS very good looking when he was younger. He is not aging so well.

This has nothing to do with today's post, however. Dead Poets Society... Dead Porgy Society... get it?! No, not porgies gathering in a cave, or committing suicide.

One rainy Sunday afternoon, I received a call from a friend of mine with panic in her voice.

Me: Hello?

Friend: I need your help!! I went fishing, and we fished so many porgies. Like 40 of them.

Me: Ok, I will come over with my knife.

They went to Montauk (on the tip of Long Island), got on a boat and went fishing. Got up at 3am on a Sunday morning, drove all the way out there, fished till the afternoon. They are crazy. I think I was still at a bar at 3am.

Did you know there are a lot of fish locally off the New York coast? Apparently you can fish mackerel right in Brooklyn, flounders and sea bass are abundant in Long Island. Pollution is a big word in recent years, but we can still get good, fresh fish from the ocean nearby, which is great.

So I arrived at her apartment exactly when they returned from the trip. One cooler of fish, and the other cooler of beers.


Nicely chilled.


Apparently there's a guy on the boat who helps you before and after you catch the fish. We can call him the Fishing Butler. To me, fishing involves touching fish, killing fish, taking care of fish, but nowadays, the Butler will even put bait on the hook, so no need for you to dirty your hands. My image of fishing is apparently old school. And the butler will even gut, scale, skin, fillet, and DE-BONE individual pieces.

They asked the butler to fillet half of the porgies.


The other half are just gutted and scaled.


I hate how it feels when you touch fish. Plus, just like humans, after the fish dies, rigor mortis happens. It gets weirdly bent, and the meat feels very hard. Pretty gross.


Immediately, I started the night's dinner prep. First item was porgie carpaccio, slicing the meat ever so thinly.



Since I filleted a fish a few of weeks ago, I wasn't freaking out too much. Also, there were so many of them, so screwing up was ok. All the bones and heads were to be used to make fish stock so more meat on the bone meant better stock anyway.


The whole kitchen counter was filled with different parts of the fish.


Fish in my mouth.


I made two kinds of sashimi, one without skin, the other with skin. Fish skin has a lot of good flavor. Though I didn't take pictures, when you use skin on your sashimi, you pour (ever so gently) boiling water on the skin, and it curls up cutely, then immediately dump them into an ice bath. This process is called yubiki (湯引き).


When using the whole fish, you must take its mouth out, which I had no idea about. Taking the mouth out was very disgusting. I had no idea how sharp their teeth were either.


Again, this action is very bone chilling.  Another surgery experience, which I don't care for.


Kitchen sink filled with fish mouth.


I imagine this looks similar to a sink in a morgue.


Here is an interesting and disgusting part. The fish eyeball. We extracted the eye, then inside the eye, there was the eye ball.


The center red dot is the retina? Then most horrible thing happened. My friend ate it. Yeah, she fucking ate the raw fish eyeball. Apparently there's no taste, just gelatin texture. I gagged when she did it.


Fish heads and bones for the stock.


Enough of the gross fish murder scene, and let's move on to celebrate all the dead porgies by eating them, without leaving any waste (well, except for the mouths).

Here are all the dishes we made with the porgies.

Rice with porgy (鯛めし). Sprinkle salt on the fish, and broil until the skin is nicely crisp and browned. Place the fish on top of rice. We used some soy sauce, sake, and konbu to flavor the rice.


Boiled porgie in soy/sugar/dashi.


Porgies to be deep fried. Coat the fish with flour or corn starch, then deep fry them.



Porgie rice looks quite amazing.


Two kinds of porgie sashimi as I explained above. The kind with skin on the meat was definitely better.


Porgie carpaccio with soy sauce, sesame oil, yuzu pepper, sake, oil and vinegar. A lot of shiso on top.


Deep-fried porgie.


Simply broiled porgie with salt.


Boiled porgie.


These dishes were all awesome. Eight of us finished them all. As Gaga says on the Telephone video, "Once you kill a cow, you gotta make a burger." When you kill fish, you gotta make tasty dinner party!

My friend gave me two fish to take home.  I made another batch of sashimi the next day for my mother's arrival. Did you know fish taste sbetter the second day? Everyone thinks fresh caught fish is the best way to eat, but by leaving it for another day, the fish grows inocinic acid (UMAMI!). This is basically the same as aging cheese. Of course you don't want to leave it for too long.

I learned that fishing is pricey. It's $100 per person, so $300, 40 fish = $7.50 per fish. Whole porgy is about $6 at fish market, so it's actually cost inefficient. However, they apparently enjoyed themselves a lot, so counting the fun factor in, I guess it is worthwhile. I am happy to help with the cooking part, but definitely no thanks to the actual fishing.

Actually... does Gucci make a fishing outfit?
Column: ReCPY


  • woah the fried porgie and sashimi look SO good. you are amazing.

    yoko on

  • Porgie Orgy sounds as good as Dead Porgie Society! Maybe I should alternate these two titles. Thanks Sakura.

    Yamahomo on

  • Wow, porgie orgy! That is so impressive. The fishy rice must have been tasty.

    Sakura on

  • Anders, come to NYC, and we can stalk him in front of his house!

    Yamahomo on

  • I can not tell you how much I was in love with Ethan Hawke in that movie! It was a real shock/eye opener to watch it in such a young age and realise all you wanted to do was to snuggle with all those poets in their dorm rooms. And not the girls.

    You know, duffle coats are very much back in vogue.
    Unlike those lavender Crocs.

    Anders on

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