AARP, The Girlfriend, Poke Papa, Poke Bowls, Hawaiian food, raw fish, tuna, ahi

Jeff Elkins

The Girlfriend’s Guide To Poke

Whether poke bowl restaurants are sprouting up in your town or you’ve just read about it, here’s what you need to know.

Whether poke bowl restaurants are sprouting up in your town like weeds or you’ve just read about it in cooking magazines, here’s what you need to know about this hot dish.

You might have eaten it on your honeymoon.
The hottest Hawaiian export since Bruno Mars, poke (it rhymes with “okay”) is a classic island fish preparation. Sold in beachside huts, grocery stores, even food courts, it’s practically the Aloha State dish.

But these days you’ll find it on mainland menus from sea to shining sea.
Why the sudden love for a dish that Hawaiians have eaten for decades? Trend experts suspect that Americans love poke because it’s similar to two other popular dishes: sushi (which you can find in pretty much any town and city these days) and grain bowls.

If you like spicy tuna rolls, you’ll probably like poke.
It’s no surprise that poke is winning over sushi fans. Traditional poke bowls consist of marinated chunks of fresh raw tuna served over sticky white rice—similar to a deconstructed sushi roll.

It’s easy to customize your poke bowl.
Since poke made the leap from local tradition to super-popular “it” food, chefs have gotten a little creative with the way it’s prepared. Instead of sushi rice, try it over shredded veggies, quinoa or vermicelli noodles. Sub in salmon or octopus for tuna—or go vegetarian with cubes of tofu. Top it with ponzu sauce, kimchi, Sriracha, spicy mayo or any other favorite condiment.

Photograph by Jeff Elkins / Poke bowls by Poke Papa in Washington, DC