aloha to savor
WBM january 2019
Poké (pronounced poh-kay) bowls are
having a moment and this island-style
street food is popping up all over the place.
The traditional Hawaiian pupu, or appe-tizer,
of chopped, seasoned raw fish has
made it onto mainstream menus across the
country, beckoning diners to try a variety
of colorful flavors and crunchy topping
Poké bowls are, in essence, like
deconstructed sushi or ceviche bowls.
Traditionally the star is cubed sushi-grade
fresh fish, like salmon, tuna or snap-per.
This is seasoned with soy sauce,
ponzu sauce, limu (seaweed), rice vinegar,
Hawaiian sea salt, and salty furikake, a
Japanese seasoning consisting of dried
fish, sesame seeds, seaweed, sugar and salt.
This savory blend is mixed with crushed
kukui nuts, avocado and green onions, then
served over rice.
It’s not clear exactly when the poké bowl
originated but, in “The Food of Paradise:
Exploring Hawaii’s Culinary Heritage,”
author Rachel Laudan explains the history
of Hawaiian poké dates back to pre-colo-nial,
Polynesian times. Native Hawaiian
fisherman would prepare i‘a maka (raw
fish) and the word poké means to cut.
Fresh fish was the main form of sustenance
and was prepared by combining the trim-mings
and bones from their catch of ahi
tuna or octopus together with seaweed and
Descendants from the Japanese, Chinese
and Korean laborers who were brought
to work on Hawaii’s sugar and pineapple
plantations influenced poké with their own