Thursday, March 29, 2012

My latest obsession: Poke

I've been completely obsessed with poke. I think it all started when I moved back home a year and a half ago. I was never super into it growing up, but after spending 7 years in China, I learned how to eat all sorts of things I never would've considered back in the day, so now naturally poke fits in on the easy end of that scale.

My two top spots without a doubt are Tanioka's and Tamura's. Tanioka's when I'm out on the west side (which unfortunately, isn't very often) and Tamura's when I'm in town (it's in Kaimuki) or driving back from the North Shore. Tanioka's might win overall, just because they have so much other ono grindz to choose from ... musubi, bentos, sushi, hawaiian plate, etc. Then again, Tamura's does have the full alcohol selection (it's also a wine shop, at least in Town).

Here's the poke selection:

My dream birthday celebration includes a poke cake from Taniokas:


 Tamura's poke bowl with kalua pig and lomi salmon
 Tamura's spicy crab poke
Best lunch ever: Tamura's spicy ahi and limu poke, with 2 musubi from Fort Ruger Market
Here's one I just checked our recently: Ono Seafood (not to be confused with Ono Hawaiian Food across the street on Kapahulu). Ono Seafood is so tiny; it's hard to find:
 Inside Ono Seafood
 Ono Seafood spicy ahi and shoyu limu

For a sit down lunch with friends, I choose Pa'ina Cafe at Ward. Inside Pa'ina Cafe - super cute upgrade compared to their old kiosk
 Pa'ina Cafe mix bowl
 When I'm downtown and craving poke, I go to Ahi & Veg. I didn't have such great luck with my spicy salmon bowl at the Fort Street mall location:
But the just-opened location off of Bishop St (corner of Queen or Merchant? Next to Cake Couture) and I had much better luck with the spicy kim chee poke...winnah.

All this poke was getting $$ on my wallet, so I gave a shot at making my own. I thought, how hard can it be? Chop up some raw fish, add some shoyu, green onions, salt,avocado, whatevahs. But I found out the freshness of the fish really matters: buying it at Don Quixote and taking it home just can't compete with the freshness the poke markets are getting. I'll just have to find a better source for fish! (Below, my attempt at salmon-avocado, spicy ahi, and ahi green onion pokes)

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