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Our Top 5: Poke

Chuggy Bear names his top five poke preparations in Hawaii


Posted June 25, 2013 by Grant Shindo

Nonstop Honolulu’s new series, Our Top 5, kicks off today with Grant Shindo’s five favorite poke. His picks may be surprising, but one thing’s for sure, Grant does his research. A hard-core poke eater, he’s sampled varieties from all ends of the island, and he’s standing by his picks. Over the next several weeks, other Nonstop contributors will offer their Top 5 lists for everything from burgers to fried chicken to cocktails. We’re not saying these are the Top 5 choices for everyone; they’re just personal picks of foods we can’t get enough of. We’d love it if you joined in the conversation and told us your Top 5s.

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I’ve been researching the art of poke for the last two decades of my life. Never settling on an all-time favorite, I continually try new preparations from different supermarkets, convenience stores and specialty seafood eateries.

After sampling dozens of variations, here are my five personal favorites.

Our Top 5: Poke (1 of 7)

Our Top 5: Poke

I'm a poke purist and love the use of ahi over any other fish. My Top 5 list has been compiled after years of intense poke research both in the field and in the lab. My criteria is pretty straightforward. I seek poke made with fresh auction fish, and I prefer cubes cut into pieces that offer the ideal ratio of sauce to fish (too large chunks can be bland, while too small pieces get mushy). But most importantly, I want poke that pops with flavor. Good texture is important (crunch, for instance, is really appealing), and the flavor of the sauce must stand out.

Comments


  1. bigcountry
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Big Country Bar and Grill in Waimanalo always has the freshest fish!! The poke and lomi ahi are the bomb.

  2. DianeSeo
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 7:11 am

    My favorite is the ahi limu from Yama’s Fish Market. I get a half-pound then drizzle some Adoboloco Bangkok hot sauce on top. But I have to try Da Pokeman, one of these days when I’m in that area.

  3. russkar
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Nice Blog and a lot of fine choices but none of these places feature #1 Sashimi Grade Ahi, but rather #2 or below. 
    The only places that use the highest level of fish are Kyung’s, Keeaumoku Seafood and Ono’s on Kapahulu.

  4. Melissa808
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I like Alicia’s because of its “old school” poke flavor. Not sure how to describe it beyond that….but before there were all these fancy variations (which, don’t get me wrong, I love), there was this classic style that you’d find at all the family luaus.

  5. WillL
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Tamura’s, Tamashiro’s, Ono Seafood, Nico’s Pier 39 (poke at the deli, not from the restaurant), and Pa`ina Cafe are also contenders.  Also, I will never reject a pound of simple shoyu ahi poke from Foodland ever.  Yum.

  6. WillL
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Tamura’s, Tamashiro’s, Ono Seafood, Nico’s Pier 39 (poke at the deli, not from the restaurant), and Pa`ina Cafe are also contenders.  Also, I will never reject a pound of simple shoyu ahi poke from Foodland ever.  Yum.

  7. WillL
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Whoops Pier 38.  I guess I was thinking SF.

  8. chant808
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Tamura’s and Yama’s Fish Market are my go-to places, since I rarely make it out of town.

  9. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    CB:  Guud review.  Thanks.  My go to spot when time permits and I think about it is where russkar mentioned, Ono’s on Kapahulu near American Savings.  That is the only place I know where the poke is not displayed.  You have to tell them what ingredients you want and they put it together while you wait.

  10. Grant Shindo
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    @russkar you gotta try the kim chee poke, it is unreal!

  11. Grant Shindo
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    @bigcountry hmm never been there. i live on the other side of the island!

  12. Grant Shindo
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    @Annoddah_Dave they are definitely an honorable mention in my book!

  13. Grant Shindo
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @chant808 might be time to take a trip out west and hit up taniokas for ahi limu, golden mart for wasabi masago and da pokeman for kim chee poke.

  14. russkar
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    @Grant Shindo  @russkar : I have at Da Pokeman next to Lahaina Chicken in Wahiawa

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About Grant Shindo

Who is that you spot at your local restaurant, bar, food truck or pop-up? Grant "Chuggy Bear" Shindo is always on the hunt for the tastiest grub this island has to offer. Chuggy Bear not only has a passion for food, but also a desire to share his experiences through colorful and honest storytelling. Next time you're at a farmer’s market, say “hi” to Grant and find out what the next plate has to offer. You can find his favorite spots at chuggybear.com

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