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Poke bowls: gotta catch ‘em all in Hong Kong
Date Published : 07 Jun 2017

So simple and easy, poké is a genius way for concrete-jungle busybodies to enjoy sushi (deconstructed, in a way) with the ease of the spoon (no need for any chopsticks or even concentration). 

What is poké? The traditional ahi tuna poké is made with sashimi-grade tuna cut into uniform bite-sized cubes and marinated with soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil. The poke mixture is then placed on a bed of rice or salad and sprinkled with other garnishes such as green onions to serve.

The poké trend is still relatively new outside the US (it’s just about growing in London and Paris) but for Hongkongers, it’s been a food trend for years. It’s now a lunch staple with several poké spots opening in the area. Here are some of our favourite poké places in Hong Kong along with our recommended poké bowls in each place (you gotta catch ‘em all).

Pololi
WOM recommends: Half & Half with Tuna and Traditional Spicy or Spicy Mayo

If you’re a poké lover, you’ve probably heard of pololi already. The word itself means “hungry” in Hawaiian, and it prides in being one of the first poké restaurants to hit the HK food scene. Choose whether you want rice or salad as your base (you can also get half-and-half). Then you pick your poké.  Pololi is unique ironically for the reason that it's possibly the most traditional one out of the many poké spots in town. They marinate their sashimi cubes readily, a way done in Hawaii, to concentrate the flavour. There are more than 15 flavours but you can choose to have two flavours in one bowl. Their most popular flavour is the traditional spicy tuna but our favourite was the wasabi mayo and spicy mayo. Kar Ho Building, 35-39 Graham St, Central, 2755 8099; pololikai.com

Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge
WOM recommends: Tahitian Poisson Cru Poke
Honi Honi Tiki Cocktail Lounge has poké as a bar snack in collaboration with Pololi. But don’t expect the original Pololi flavours, these are poké flavours that can’t be found in Pololi’s original shop. Their Thai Poké is a mix of tuna, lime leaves, lemongrass, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, coriander and green onions. The coriander is wonderful and makes one wonder why it isn’t an available add-on in Pololi’s own shop. But the really memorable poké is the Tahitian Poisson Cru Poke with tuna, coconut milk, jalapenos, lime, coriander, bell peppers, edamame and… ghost pepper. GHOST PEPPER. Whoever is behind the kitchen of Honi Honi really like it hot. 3/F Somptueux Central, 52 Wellington Street, Central, 2353 0885; honihonibar.com

The Poké Co.
WOM Recommends: Sushi rice with Salmon, Wasabi Mayo, Add-on toppings of extra wasabi, avocado, tobiko, cucumber (just go crazy)
There’s always that one friend that adds every possible add-on toppings on their burritos or on their salads. If you are that friend, you’re going to have a blast at The Poké Co. This place comes with seven different bases including plain rice, brown rice, quinoa or kale greens. You pick from five different proteins from the original tuna and salmon to shrimp and tofu. Eight different sauces are available, their original sauce is not the traditional poké. It does not contain any soy sauce and is focused on a more citrusy note. Their toppings are a little crazy…. with over 20 different add-on toppings and the option to add more protein or base, you start to feel like a child in a Las Vegas all-you-can-eat ice-cream counter, sprinkling all the little condiments you can find. What differs this place to others is that while there is the option to try the pre-designed poké combinations, the fun comes in the freedom to design your own, and most people seem to come here for that. Shop 2, G/F, Rialto Building, 2 Landale Street, Wan Chai, 3705 1782; thepokeco.asia


Poké  HK
Wom Recommends: California

Can you imagine a pizza place named Pizza? It’s hilarious but it works for Poké HK, who has continued great popularity since opening in Causeway Bay. They’re known for their more ‘salad’ like poké bowls, which come jam-packed with a variety of veggie toppings and sauces such as vinaigrette and yoghurt. Of course, you can build your own bowl with a variety of toppings such as tomatoes, pine nuts and shredded egg. While it seems odd to mix egg into poké, it surprisingly works. We liked the California with sushi rice, salmon poke, tobiko, cucumber, nutty-buddy sauce, Hawaiian sea salt and shredded egg. G/F, No. 124 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, 5986 6398; facebook.com/pokehk

Poké world
WOM Recommends: Pokirrito with salmon belly, spicy mayo and add-ons of Japanese tamago
, onions and daikon.
Pokéworld is a Hong Kong/Japanese twist to the Hawaiian poké. Firstly, their portions are pretty generous compared to other poké spots. Their sauces are pretty basic and they don’t mix onions in beforehand, but Pokeworld stands out in the freshness of their fish, and the uniqueness of their add-on ingredients. They have unique protein options of salmon belly, marlin and octopus and peculiar toppings such as seasoned conch and scallops. It’s also a place for pokérritos. It’s not the only place that makes pokérritos, but it's definitely one of the best places. Pokérritos are poke burritos, poke mix wrapped in rice, condiments and seaweed, essentially a kimbap or sushi roll. G/F, 8 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, 2811 2115; pokeworldhk.com

Elephas
WOM recommends: Tuna with original sauce and mango placed on curried quinoa.
For those who want to eat-in with their poké bowl, there are two trendy poké flavours in Elephas. With a choice of tuna or salmon, the original sauce comes with mango cubes and the sriracha mayo comes with avocado cubes. The poké is placed on a bed of sushi rice or a mushroom curried quinoa. Shop 118, 1/F, Hong Kong Plaza, 188 Connaught Road West, 2838 3979; theelephas.com

Teppei Syokudo
WOM recommends: Hotate Kaisen Don (Scallops, salmon and tuna)
This one’s not really packaged as poké. Awarded as the best Japanese restaurant in Singapore, they opened a tiny branch early this year in one of Wan Chai’s crowded lunch streets. It’s technically not a poké, but more like a chirashi-don. But because they marinate the fish in a soy sauce mix, cut it into cubes and serve it on a bowl of rice, it’s fair to add this one to the list. This one has (possibly the most) generous portions of very fresh fish, real wasabi and quality ikura (fish roe) that comes on every order of these bowls. There’s also an option for the salmon with wasabi mayonnaise, that sounds quite similar to poké. All in all, if you are a poké lover who focuses mostly on the seafood rather than the condiments, go for this place. It’s great quality and the price is still pretty similar to other poké places. 9, 3 Heard St, Wan Chai, 3706 5180; facebook.com/teppeihk

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