If you’re reading this in North America, chances are you’ve become quite familiar with poke over the last decade or so. If you’re reading this in Hawaii, chances are poke’s been your jam for a lot longer. For those unfamiliar, poke’s a Hawaiian dish consisting of marinated raw fish and other mix-ins. Just like much of modern Hawaiian food, it’s influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines as evidenced by its usage of sesame oil, seaweed, rice, and more. As poke’s popularity has spread from Hawaii to the mainland, so have its varieties expanded. For example, while traditionally poke’s seafood is tuna or octopus common to Hawaiian waters, salmon has become popular in the PNW as have other kinds of tuna.
While poke’s now quite common in mainland North America, it’s worth noting the common “poke bowl” we often find here has strayed from its traditional Hawaiian form. This typically manifests in seafood that’s not pre-marinated plus other ingredients that aren’t historically in poke. That’s also why you’ll sometimes see it spelled “poké” in North American restaurants, which is a mainland pronunciation cheat code that’s often considered incorrect by Hawaiian standards.
If you find yourself craving poke while at Uwajimaya’s, come through to the seafood department for freshly made poke daily.