Picture this: it’s a breezy morning on the Hilo Harbor and both Hawaiian locals and foreigners are coming back to shore after a few hours of fishing before dawn. As they store their fresh catch of ahi or yellowfin tuna in containers, some make their way to their homes to prepare a fresh bowl of poke, where the star of the meal is the raw ahi.
Locals pair the yellowfin tuna with Hawaiian salt, onions, seaweed, lime, soy sauce, and green onions. These are all topped with a dash of sesame oil and roasted kukui nut. Other times, locals opt to use raw salmon or shellfish in place of the tuna. This dish would eventually become a representation of Hawaii’s mishmash of cultural influences.
Poke (pronounced po-KAY) means “to slice into crosswise pieces”—and the original iteration of this dish started with only rice. But thanks to Japanese influence in the 1800s, the meal shifted to take the form of donburi bowls, which included freshly cooked rice with the cold, raw fish.
As poke continued to become famous, it went from a homemade dish to a commercial success in the 1970s. From there, the dish surfed the waves to continental America before eventually reaching our own.
Poke: The Customizable Dish
When poke bowls broke out in the mainland, they quickly gained attention and popularity since they’re made with healthy, pre-cut ingredients that are a source of vitamins and nutrients for most gym-goers. But the best part of poke is that they’re customizable.
Brown rice, sushi rice, quinoa, zucchini noodles, and cabbages are all great sources of fiber. Based on your nutritional needs and health goals, you may choose any of them in fixed portions. Of course, sushi rice would be the least healthy choice—but if you’re not trying to get fit, some sushi rice is a tasty choice.
For protein, you can choose between tuna, salmon, shrimp, or tofu—the latter being especially high in iron, zinc, vitamin B, and magnesium.
Having moved put up different food stalls in different parts of the metro, Ono Poke delves deeper into the poke bowl’s Japanese origins. Aside from their signature dishes found at their Pantree stall, diners visiting Ono poke can mix and match ingredients to create personalized poke bowls—just like how the dish first started.
Here is my verdict on their Miso Salmon.
Huge props to Ono Poke for keeping their raw salmon fresh and cold, but not frozen. As a big fan of raw seafood (and some great sashimi), I can proudly say that they receive my approval.
The sushi rice is as authentic as it can be—short-grained and cooked to the stickiness that is associated with good sushi. When paired with some salmon and a salty dash of miso, the taste isn’t overwhelming to the tongue. With bonito flakes, nori strips, sesame seeds, and tempura bits to mix up the texture, this is a meal that is worth your time and attention.
Not only does Ono Poke value their customers’ creativity, but they also give a special nod to the eco-conscious regulars by serving food in wooden bowls.
As for those of you who aren’t comfortable with the idea of raw seafood, you can always opt to have your fish or shrimp torched.
Overall, Ono Poke offers great choices if you want to try healthy alternatives in place of your usual fast-food meals.
Not in the mood to visit their place at The Pantree? That’s okay. You can always have it delivered to your doorstep courtesy of foodpanda