Poke (Hawaiian dish)
|Place of origin||Ancient Hawaii|
|Region or state||Hawaii|
|Main ingredients||Yellowfin tuna, sea salt, soy sauce, inamona, sesame oil, limu seaweed, chili pepper|
Poke // (Hawaiian for "to slice" or "cut crosswise into pieces"; sometimes stylized Poké to aid pronunciation) is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or as a main course and is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine. Traditional forms are aku (an oily tuna) and heʻe (octopus). Heʻe (octopus) poke is usually called by its Japanese name Tako Poke, except in places like the island of Niʻihau where the Hawaiian language is spoken. Increasingly popular ahi poke is made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with the common poke seasonings.
According to the food historian Rachel Laudan, the present form of poke became popular around the 1970s. It used skinned, deboned, and filleted raw fish served with Hawaiian salt, seaweed, and roasted, ground kukui nut meat. This form of poke is still common in the Hawaiian islands.
Beginning around 2012, poke became increasingly popular in the mainland United States.  From 2014 to mid-2016, "the number of Hawaiian restaurants on Foursquare, which includes those that serve poke," doubled, going from 342 to 700. These restaurants serve both traditional and modern versions of the dish. Variations may include avocado, ponzu sauce, teriyaki sauce, mushrooms, crispy onions, pickled jalapeño, sriracha sauce, cilantro, pineapple or cucumber. Unlike traditional Hawaiian poke, the mainland style is typically not pre-marinated, but is instead prepared with sauces on demand. Contemporary poke restaurants are mostly—but not exclusively—fast casual style restaurants where the dish is fully customizable from the base to the marinade on the fish. They may use other seafood but ahi tuna is the most popular.
There is a three-day "I Love Poke" festival to celebrate the dish and its many variations.
Poke began with fishermen seasoning the cut-offs from their catch to serve as a snack. Traditional poke seasonings have been heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines. These include soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil. Others include furikake (mix of dried fish, sesame seeds, and dried seaweed), chopped dried or fresh chili pepper, limu (seaweed), sea salt, inamona (roasted crushed candlenut), fish eggs, wasabi, and Maui onions. Other variations of poke may include cured heʻe (octopus), other types of raw tuna, raw salmon and various kinds of shellfish.
Raw fish dishes similar to poke that are often served in Europe are fish carpaccio and fish tartare. Also similar to poke are Korean hoedeopbap, marinated raw tuna served over rice, and Peruvian ceviche. Japanese sashimi also consists of raw seafood; other similar Japanese dishes are zuke don, a donburi dish topped with cured fish (usually tuna or salmon) along with avocado topped with furikake, and kaisendon, a more elaborate version served with additional non-fish toppings.
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- Martha Cheng (24 January 2017). The Poke Cookbook: The Freshest Way to Eat Fish. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0-451-49807-6.
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- Laura Hayes, What Does a Hawaii-Born Chef Think of D.C.'s Poke Craze?, Washington City Paper (April 13, 2017).
- Jay Jones, Hawaii's endless poke craze, stoked by new twists and traditional dishes, Los Angeles Times (May 12, 2016).
- Hillary Dixler, Can Poke Be the Next Fast-Casual Trend? Why restaurateurs are building brands around the Hawaiian staple, Easter (January 22, 2016).
- Fabricant, Florence (2016-01-26). "Poké, a Hawaiian Specialty, Emerges in Chelsea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
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- Namkoong, Joan (2001-01-01). Go Home, Cook Rice: A Guide to Buying and Cooking the Fresh Foods of Hawaiʻi. Bess Press. ISBN 9780964335929.
- Grant, Ginny. "Ika mata recipe". Cuisine. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
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