Questions You Might Have Before Trying Poke For The First Time

Poke is a Hawaiian dish that is becoming quite popular in North America. Generally, it consists of chopped, raw fish marinated in sauces and served over either rice or a fresh salad. Some people love poke, others like poke, and a few find that it's not for them. You won't know if you like it until you try it. But you may be seeking answers to a few of these questions before you dig in.

How do you say it?

Some people pronounce "poke" like the word that means to touch something with your finger. But when it refers to the food or dish, the word "poke" actually is pronounced "Poh-kay." Don't be embarrassed if you mispronounced it in the past; it's a common mistake.

Is all poke tuna?

You will see a lot of poke made with tuna. In fact, in Hawaii, you can assume this is the fish they used in the poke if they don't say otherwise. However, most poke restaurants branch out a little and offer other types of fish in their poke, too. You may see poke bowls made with salmon, yellowfin tuna, ahi tuna, and even mahi mahi.

What is poke sauce?

Some poke restaurants give you your choice of sauces, but it's pretty common to see something called "poke sauce" as an option. This is the most traditional sauce that is usually used in real, Hawaiian poke shops. It has a bit of an Asian flair as it is made with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sometimes a little hoisin sauce. Some versions have a hint of spice from red chili flakes. If you're trying poke for the first time and want the most authentic experience, order a bowl with poke sauce.

What's better — rice or veggies?

It all depends on your taste and dietary goals! Some people love their poke over rice, as they find it really filling. It's a higher-carb option that could be perfect before or after a workout. Others prefer their poke served over veggies because it's less calorie dense and has more of a crunch. Most places will give you some of each if you ask.

With these questions answered, you should be better prepared to order and enjoy your first poke bowl. In time, you'll get a better sense of which fish, sauce, and ingredients you prefer, and you can order those combos again and again.

Contact a restaurant that serves poke bowls to learn more.