Poké bowl ar­rives with de­li­cious re­sults

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS - Aoife McEl­wain

At the be­gin­ning of this year, food writ­ers rounded up the culi­nary trends that they thought would sweep our lo­cal food scene, and 2017 looked set to be the year of the Ir­ish poké bowl.

This raw fish salad is a tra­di­tional dish of the in­dige­nous cul­ture of the Hawai­ian is­lands. Its most clas­sic form is sim­ply chunks of raw fish mar­i­nated in an ahi or shoyu sauce served atop a bowl of hot rice.

Al­though poké bowls had crossed the sea from Hawaii to the US as early as the 1970s ac­cord­ing to food his­to­rian Lucy Long in her book Culi­nary

Tourism (1998), the last five years has seen a swell in its pop­u­lar­ity and ap­pro­pri­a­tion across the main­land states. A 2016 ar­ti­cle on Eater by Vince Dixon took a dive into poké data, cit­ing the Foursquare study that from 2014 the num­ber of Hawai­ian restau­rants on the site, in­clud­ing those that serve poke, went from 342 to 700 in just 18 months. At the start of the summer, Niall Sabongi opened Klaw Poké on Capel Street in Dublin and even be­fore that, back in 2016, the Fum­bally Cafe in Dublin 8 was do­ing poké bowls as a special.

It’s heartier than ce­viche, and more sub­stan­tial than fish carpaccio. Per­haps it’s no co­in­ci­dence that its pop­u­lar­ity has co­in­cided with the growth of In­sta­gram, see­ing as it is such an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing dish.

The poké that has reached us has picked up a few culi­nary quirks along the way, such as the ad­di­tion of edamame beans, pome­gran­ate seeds and lush av­o­ca­dos, as the tra­di­tional base of fish and rice lends it­self well to in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Poké is also ideal for quick and fuss-free assem­bly, and Shaka Poké Dublin are tak­ing ad­van­tage of its ver­sa­til­ity. This mar­ket stall was launched by Jamie Haughton and Dave McPar­land in May of this year. The pair were trav­el­ling around the US to­gether and came across poké for the first time in LA in late 2016. Af­ter a re­search trip to Lon­don, they de­cided a mar­ket stall was the way to go.

“Even be­fore I had tasted it, I thought the con­cept would work re­ally well in Dublin, be­cause it’s so quick to build up a bowl and it looks so good,” Haughton says. “Once I had a taste, I was sold.”

I get a taste of their poké bowl at The Beat­yard, a Dublin city mu­sic fes­ti­val in Dún Laoghaire Har­bour. A bowl of the Clas­sic Shaka (¤9 for a medium, and ¤12 for a large) goes a long way in sus­tain­ing my fes­ti­val ac­tiv­i­ties, as it’s packed with the good­ness of edamame, sliced of sweet pineap­ple, de­li­cious shred­ded sea­weed salad, fried shal­lots and a Shaka flair of pome­gran­ate, fresh co­rian­der and hot chilli slices. The fish is raw tuna, which they source from Wrights in Howth. Their fruit is from a mar­ket trader in the Peo­ple’s Park called Tutti Frutti, and they source other in­gre­di­ents such as the sea­weed salad and gluten-free soy sauce from the Asia Mar­ket on Drury Street in Dublin’s city centre.

They are cur­rently work­ing on an on­line delivery ser­vice, and the duo are avail­able for pri­vate hire for cor­po­rate events, wed­dings and big par­ties. They’re on the look­out for the right re­tail space to give Shaka Poké Dublin a per­ma­nent home. They can be found at the Ir­ish Vil­lage Mar­kets on Thurs­days in Fitzwilliam Square, on Fridays in Sandy­ford and on Sun­days at Peo­ple’s Park in Dublin.


Thurs­days: Me­spil Road 11.30am-2.30pm Fridays: Sandy­ford 11.30am-2.30pm Sun­days: Peo­ple’s Park 11am-4pm info@shakapoke.ie in­sta­gram.com/ ShakaPokeDublin

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