I first fell for Poke in – where else – Hawaii and haven’t had it since our trip there several years ago. So I was pleased to see a story this week in the NYTimes about the new Poke places popping up in Manhattan. Some of the Poke is a little too orange and creamy for my taste – k raw salmon slathered with orange midwestern salad dressing (but is actually chile aoili and quite good. spicy too.)
The kind I really fell for in Hawaii is red chunks of raw ahi tuna in a sesame oil/ salty soy sauce (the japanese version, Shoyu) with maybe some shredded carrots or seaweed or avocado.)
I first spotted it in the Big Island (see photo above!) when a hipster surfer guy staying at our bed & breakfast was eating some from a plastic takeaway carton. Had to try it – and it was delicious. Then I found it in odd places, including a little hole-in-the-wall natural foods place (Ruffage) restaurant off Waikiki Beach in Honululu; a very upscale version at the elegant Alan Wong’s (Obama’s favorite Honolulu restaurant) and then on the side of a two-lane highway, being sold out of the back of a parked white pickup by a guy with two Styrofoam coolers full of the stuff. I lived to tell the tale (I was a little concerned about food poisoning but it was delicious.) Short of another trip to Hawaii (some day, I hope!), I’ll now look for it in NYC. – best spot according to the NYTimes is Sons of Thunder in Murray Hill.