If there’s one particular trend that’s managed to make the entire world lose its collective mind, it’s Pokémon GO. Everyone and their dog seems to be out wandering the streets while staring at their phones like shy, technophilic zombies. But amid all this furore, you might have heard the term “poke” in a completely different context.
Yes, because as well as referring to anything relating to the little video game critters, poke is a food craze all on its own – a delicious form of raw fish salad that comes from Hawaii. It’s healthy, refreshing, cheap to make and buy, and it looks absolutely delicious. What’s not to love?
Poke bars and cafés have been cropping up all over America in recent months, and are a really convenient lunch for those busy worker bees without much time to waste on a bigger, more time-consuming meal.
New York in particular has lapped up this new seafood snack; the with number of Poke outlets appearing in the Yellow Pages, such as Wisefish Poke, Sons of Thunder, Pokeworks and East Coast Poke, The Hawaiian word “poke” (pronounced po-kay, to rhyme with okay) refers to something “cut” or “sliced,” and it has been a staple foodstuff on the volcanic pacific islands for as long as they’ve been inhabited by man.
Poke is a dish traditionally made up of raw fish, such as ahi (or yellowfin) tuna, or salmon, but often far more outlandish submarine creatures are used to mix things up, such as octopus, shellfish or even lobster. The raw meat is then gratuitously seasoned with Hawaiian rock salt, seaweed, shaved spring onions and ground kukui nuts – also known as the candlenut in the west.
This traditionalist’s repast has seen a lot of innovation and transformation among aficionados in the 21st century. Although die-hard Hawaiian salad-munchers might scoff at the idea, modern Poke in deeply indebted to the better-known Japanese art of Sushi, and often features soy sauce or is served on a bed of rice mixed with chilli peppers, ginger and sesame seed oil.
A number of Western restaurants now serve the dish as a menu option in a variety of guises. From vegetarian to white fish, topping and sauce options include mayonnaise, sesame seeds, jalapeños, edamame, avocado, hijiki, scallions, watermelon, radish, and everything in between. All of the above sound absolutely mouthwatering to us: and that’s the raw truth!