Hawaiian Poke Salad (What Exactly is it?)

You see all the trendy new pop up shops and market stalls selling it for 12 euro a bowl.. but what exactly is the Hawaiian poke salad? (Ahi Poke)

It all started off from humble beginnings when fishermen would season their fresh fish offcuts with Hawaiian salt, seaweed, and roasted, ground kukui nut meat (or anything else they had around). Poke became popular and mainstream in the Hawaiian Islands around 1970.

The word Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is a Hawaiian verb meaning ‘to slice or cut’. This refers to the fish, no matter where you get poke the fresh fish has been cut or sliced into bite sized morsels. When selecting poke it is very important to know where the fish used came from, since you are eating raw seafood you want to know that it is as fresh as possible, otherwise, you can get very sick from the parasites and other microorganisms that live inside the fish.

The original name Ahi Poke comes from the Yellowfin ‘Ahi’ Tuna that was originally used for the dish.

Tips For Making Poke Salad At Home

  • Poke is a simple dish so like every simple dish having fresh ingredients is key.

  • You want to head to your local fish monger, market or local harbor and source the freshest Yellow Fin Tuna possible. Ideally, you want to be getting sushi/sashimi grad tuna.

  • Get a sharp knife – you don’t want to butcher the fish. Clean cuts are key.

  • Be experimental – there is no right or wrong. Chilli, red onion, scallion, avocado, shrimp ginger, lime or seaweed everyone’s pallet is different, tailor your poke salad to what you like.

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The Best Places To Get Poke Salad In Hawaii

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Hawaii, here are some must go places for any poke salad bowl enthusiast.

Fresh Catch

With two locations and over 30 items on the weekly menu you can not beat Fresh Catch for fresh ‘Island Sytle’ cooking. Owner Reno Henriques prides himself on providing the authentic Hawaiian experience. WIth an outstanding range of platters for up to 10 people, dine in or take away, a catering menu for 50 people plus and even an online order form Reno has you covered for every occasion.

3109 Waialae Ave, Honolulu – (808) 735-7653

45-1118 Kamehameha Hwy
Kaneohe – (808) 235-7653

10 am – 7:30 pm Monday – Saturday 10 am – 5pm Sunday

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Da Hawaiian Poke Co.

With arguably the best logo in the poke game Da Hawaiian Poke Co is defiantly a contender for the best poke around. Their fast service and super fresh ingredients will have you in poke salad heaven in a flash. With the almost limitless topping options and even a Maine Lobster California bowl you are sure to find the perfect combination for everyone. If not you can always construct your own!

Safeway Kapahulu Center, 870 Kapahulu Avenue, Honolulu

Monday – Saturday 10am – 8pm Sunday 10am – 7pm

Phone – (808) 425-4954

Ono Seafood

We had to save the best for last.. now be sure to take notes about this gem. This little hole in the wall is life changing. You will find Ono Seafood tucked away on Kapahulu Ave with the amazing sea themed graffiti wall. Boasting ‘The best Poke in Honolulu since 1995’ on the front window they are not wrong!

Let the Poke speak for itself.

747 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu

Wednesday – Monday 7am – 6pm

(808) 732-4806

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