Poke bowls are a customisable culinary art. - Art Chen/ The Star.
KUALA LUMPUR: A poke shop may soon open near you faster than you can say “sashimi”. So what is this poke (pronounced poh-kay) thingy?
A centuries-old Hawaiian dish, poke are cubes of marinated hand-cut raw fish that top a typical poke bowl. The word “poke” means to cut or slice crosswise.
In Hawaii, the poke is as ubiquitous as the hamburger.
The most common poke is made with ahi or yellowfin tuna, but poke can be made with just about any seafood or even meat.
Riding on the global wave of the bowl food trend, shops offering poke bowls are popping up in the Klang Valley.
In Bandar Sunway, there are Poke Bear and The Fish Bowl. Publika in Hartamas has Fin.
Others, like Eatomo in Taman Danau Desa and Sushi + Rotary Sushi Bar in Puchong decided to add poke bowls to their menu, poke being a natural fit to Japanese cuisine.
A marriage of usually raw protein and mostly raw salad ingredients, it is healthier than the average greasy Asian meal. And with rice as a base, it’s right up there as comfort food.
Most shops allow customisation – you can decide what goes into your poke bowl.
The rice: Start with a base layer of rice, usually Japanese shortgrain but some shops also offer brown, red or jasmine rice, or even quinoa.
The fish: Usually raw tuna or salmon cubes, marinated or naked, but also barely cooked shrimp, crabsticks and roasted chicken.
The sauce: Usually a mayonnaise-based sauce flavoured with anything from shoyu, sesame oil and ginger to wasabi and kimchi.
The seasoning: Adding another layer of flavour to the sauce is the dry seasoning, which can range from fried shallots, garlic chips and toasted sesame seeds to furikake (mixture of ground dried fish, sesame seeds and chopped seaweed).
The garnishes: This can vary wildly, from cucumber cubes and seaweed to avocado, salad leaves, edamame, beans, tofu, egg, salmon roe, ebiko, nuts, fried salmon skin and much more.
Expect to pay between RM16 and RM25 for a typical poke bowl. And if you are still burning to ask “where’s the pokemon?” – read our full story in today’s Star2 Taste pages.