Poke is (more than) okay
Metro reporter tries trendy Hawaiian fish salad
Despite being from the Maritimes, where fish is everywhere, and to the surprise of all three people I know in Edmonton, I’ve never tried poke.
But the traditional Hawaiian fish salad has become popular in landlocked Edmonton, with two locations recently opening back to back.
To see what the fuss was about, I hit up the city’s two new poke joints, Splash Poke on 109 Street and Ono Poke Co. on 104 Street.
Turns out, it’s not like any- thing I’ve eaten before, but definitely delicious.
The word poke (pronounced like “okay” with a “P”) means “to cut” or “to slice” which refers to the way the fish is sliced. It’s usually served salad-style, on top of vegetables and grains.
It was like eating sushi, but fussier, requiring chopsticks to gather all the ingredients together. And it was kind of like eating a salad but not really because I don’t like salads and I liked this.
It was definitely refreshing, filling and felt healthy.
In Hawaiian culture, poke is traditionally served as an appetizer and occasionally as a main dish. It started popping up in the mainland United States in about 2012, although like everything American it was served in a casual fast-food style, with options to customize.
Edmonton’s two new poke places have a similar vibe, and boast poke with modern ingredients.
My “classic” poke from Splash had rice topped with seaweed, corn, cubed salmon with bits of garlic and came with an array of sauces of which the tangy sesame was my favourite.
The bowl was a mix of flavours and textures. It was slippery and chewy (because of the salmon and seaweed) but also crunchy (from all the veggies and roasted garlic). There was a lot going on in one bowl, but it wasn’t overwhelming.
At Ono, I decided to switch things up and get quinoa instead of rice. This dish, called Uncle Tom’s Surf Poke, came with ahi tuna, edamame beans, cucumber, bits of pasta, all topped with caviar. It was a lot more greens and a lot crunchier than the first one.
Both poke were delicious and a much better option for fast food than burgers and fries.
Ten out of 10, would recommend to anyone who isn’t grossed out by raw fish
Metro reporter Kashmala Fida tries out some Poke at Splash Poke