What is Poke you ask?
Literally meaning "to section" or "to slice and cut" in Hawaiian, Poke consists of cubed raw fish, typically ahi tuna. Other varieties such as octopus, salmon, and hamachi can also be found. It's then seasoned in various ways, usually featuring a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, ponzu sauce, green onions, and more. It's often served with rice and depending on the restaurant, there may be options to customize it with different toppings, vegetables, and sauces.
This past June I got to visit Oahu and Kauai islands in Hawaii. During the Oahu portion of my trip, I feasted on way too many servings of Poke, below are some of my favorites.
Located in downtown Honolulu, Aloha Poke Shop serves up customizable bowls, Musubi, Sashimi, and more. I went with their "Aloha Special" featuring Ahi tuna, salmon, and hamachi. I added cucumbers, green onions, wasabi, furikake, and a few other things. The fish in this bowl melted in my mouth, everything was so fresh and the flavor well balanced. This was my favorite bowl the whole trip!
On my third day in Honolulu, I told myself I was going to eat something different...then my Uber driver recommended Ono Seafood and I thought...fate wants me to eat more Poke. It's a small shop, as I made my way up Kapahulu Ave from Waikiki Beach, I almost didn't see it, but the big red overhang caught my eye!
Walking in, you find a small deli counter and drink cooler, just enough room for the line. Don't let the lack of ambiance fool you, the bowls are a delicious and affordable meal, full of flavor and generously portioned. You can get a combo of 2 flavors, rice, and a drink for around $9. There are various flavors of ahi tuna or tako (octopus) to choose from. There are a few picnic tables outside, but if you're going during the lunch rush, consider taking it back to the beach to enjoy.
I sampled the miso, but it was a little salty for me. The wasabi ahi and Hawaiian ahi ended up being my two choices for the day. This was a close second for my favorite poke during my trip, especially the Hawaiian tuna.
Hawaiian grocery stores are among one of the many places to offer Poke. You can choose from a wide variety of flavors and order with or without rice. My friend and I got some spicy ahi and soy sauce ahi at her local Foodland, then took it to their in-house wine bar to consume. Great welcome to Hawaii. For a such a quick grab, the quality is definitely not lacking.
While there are more posts to come, especially about food, I felt like Poke, as my favorite food experience in Hawaii, deserved its own post. What's your favorite Poke place? Best topping combination?
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