The Hawaiian poké (pronounced 'poh-kay') craze has reached our shores and a number of places serving this simple dish have sprouted all over town. The Hawaiian staple is a kind of raw-fish salad that traditionally consists of seasoned ahi tuna tossed with sesame seeds, sweet onions and scallions and is often served over rice and salad. Not only is it delicious, it's also a very healthy meal. Whether you're new to this cuisine or it's your go-to lunchtime treat, here are eight places where you can enjoy this Hawaiian delight.
Opened by two couples who wanted to bring a taste of Hawaii to Singapore after enjoying it there a holiday there a few years ago, Aloha Poke was the one that started the poké craze on our island. It serves the dish in a bowl, as it's traditionally done, or as a 'pokeritto', with all the ingredients of a poké served in a lightly-toasted wrap. The unique thing about Aloha Poke is that it transforms into a Tiki Bar in the evenings. You'll feel like you're in the middle of a Hawaiian Luau (Hawaiian party/feast) as you sip your tiki cocktails and snack on your tiki treats.
Various locations, check website for details; www.alohapoke.com.sg.
This restaurant's founder was born and raised in Honolulu and has cooked professionally in kitchens in Hawaii and California. He decided to share the aloha spirit when he moved to Singapore and so began the story of Alakai. Create your own unique poké dish here as you pick your favourite ingredients to build your meal. If you're not in a creative mood – or just feeling lazy – choose one of their signature plates, such as house sesame salmon, coconut-lime prawns and K-mayo salmon. The poké here is not served in bowls but in plates instead, which is different from most other poké places in Singapore.
3 Everton Park #01-79; www.alakaicompany.com.
This eatery aims to give a modern twist to this traditional Hawaiian favourite. Go for one of their signature bowls like uahi duck, unagi avocado and niranda salmon, which lets you choose the base you prefer, be it rice, brown rice, mixed rice or spring mixed salad. Of course, you can customise your own poké bowl too and if you're not a fan of fish, you can enjoy this dish too, by choosing the mushrooms and tofu option. There's also a selection of sushi rolls, which aren't exactly Hawaiian but do go with the theme as there's unagi, salmon and tuna among the choices.
#01-20 Changi City Point; www.facebook.com/ohanapokesingapore/.
This was the first Hawaiian poké chain in Asia, which operates in Hong Kong, and is now in Singapore too – right in the heart of the CBD, in fact. While the food draws inspiration from traditional poké, it's also tailored to suit the Asian palette, which is why sambal is one of the flavours here too. Plus, the five flavours available each day change on a daily basis, making a meal here an even more exciting option no matter how many times you visit; the more interesting ones include Thai spicy tuna and Korean spicy taco.
51 Telok Ayer Street #01-06A; www.facebook.com/pololisg/.
A Poke Theory
With a tagline like 'life’s too short to eat bad food', you know you're going to get some pretty yummy goodness here. That's why this eatery serves only the freshest cuts of fish, with a mix of fresh and prepared ingredients that bring out the best flavour in its dishes. Try the signature sushi rice as a base – the rice is infused with garlic and chillies, seasoned with sushi vinegar – plus there's a gluten-free option too, lemon herb quinoa (quinoa tossed in fresh lemon & chopped cilantro). There's also a vegan poké option, the avocado poké, which is diced avocado and tomato chunks steeped in their original shoyu marinade, with a citrusy twist. While not actually Hawaiian, their superfood smoothie bowls are a must-try, with food that's too pretty to eat and definitely Insta-worthy. There are four to choose from – raspberry tropic, blackberry binge, maca nutter and cacaoholic.
27 Boon Tat Street; www.apoketheory.com.
Sweetfish takes the classic Hawaiian dish and gives it a Californian twist, resulting in its Californian signature poké bowls. The concept here is simple – choose one of three bases (Japanese rice, red brown rice mix or romaine lettuce), then pick one of its five signature bowls. There's the Hawaiian original (with salmon or tuna), wasabi mayo (with salmon), roasted sesame (with octopus or salmon), sweet yuzu cream (with salmon) and kimchi (with octopus or tuna). Wash it all down with their seasonal lemonades and you'll be refreshed to face the rest of the day.
#B2-30 Capitol Piazza; www.sweetfish-poke.com.
The fresh fish served here is sourced every day so you know you'll be getting only the best ingredients in your bowl. And if you like your poké with a kick, this is definitely the place for you as it has a couple of spicy marinade options. Spicy Almighty is an American-style spicy mayo, a fusion of Japanese mayo and hot sauce, topped with toasted sesame seeds and Togarashi spice. And What's Up Wasabi is a medley of Japanese horseradish and mayo, and also the eatery's best-selling marinade. And, in case you're wondering, yes, it's pronounced ‘po-kay do-kay’.
#01-95 Millenia Walk; http://pokedoke.sg.
Having fallen in love with poké after visiting Hawaii, the owners of Loloku decided to open an eatery that serves the dish, with inventive flavour combinations that showcase Singapore's international cuisine. Pick one of their signature bowls – there are five to choose from – or get creative by building your own poke bowl. Go for either salmon or tuna as your fish option or, if you're vegetarian, you can have tofu instead.
1 Keong Saik Road; www.loloku.sg.