Poke (fish salad)

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Shoyu and onion poke.jpg
Ahi poke made with tuna, soy sauce, sea salt, green onions, maui onions and limu
Type Salad
Course Appetizer
Place of origin United States
Region or state Hawaii
Main ingredients Yellowfin tuna, sea salt, soy sauce, inamona, sesame oil, limu seaweed, chili pepper
Cookbook: Poke  Media: Poke
He'e (octopus) poke with kimchi, sesame seed oil, crushed chili and sea salt.
Ahi poke made with yellowfin tuna, green onions, chili peppers, sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, roasted kukui nut (candlenut), and limu, served on a bed of red cabbage.

Poke /pˈk/ (Hawaiian for "to section" or "to slice or cut"[1]) is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as a main course. Traditional forms are aku (an oily tuna) and he'e (octopus). He'e (octopus) poke is usually called by its Japanese name "Tako" Poke, except in places like the island of Ni'ihau where the Hawaiian language is spoken. Increasingly popular ahi poke is generally made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with the common "poke" seasonings.[2]


Poke began with fishermen seasoning the cut-offs from their catch to serve as a snack.[3] 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.[2]

Traditional Hawaiian poke may consist of cubed raw fish, maui onions, Inamona (a condiment made of roasted, salted candlenut), Limu (algae), soy sauce, green onions, or sesame oil.[4] Some of the more contemporary variations can also include seaweed, Roe (fish eggs) wasabi, dried or fresh chilli, toasted macadamia nut, Furikake and can be served alone or on top of a bed of white rice, pineapple, Sushi-meshi (seasoned rice) or red cabbage. The possibilities for variation are endless, however, what gives Ahi Poke its name is the yellowfin "Ahi" tuna used.[5]

He'e (octopus) poke with tomatoes, green onion, maui onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, sea salt, and chili pepper


The traditional Hawaiian poke consists of fish that has been gutted, skinned, and deboned. It is sliced across the backbone as fillet, then served with traditional condiments such as sea salt, candlenut, seaweed, and limu.[3]

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.[6]

Beginning around 2012, poke became increasingly popular in the mainland United States.[7] A number of poke restaurants—mostly but not exclusively fast casual restaurants—became popular.[8] [9] From 2014 to mid-2016, "the number of Hawaiian restaurants on Foursquare, which includes those that serve poke," doubled, going from 342 to 700.[7] These restaurants have been creating traditional as well as unique, modern versions of the dish. These variations can include avocado, ponzu sauce, teriyaki sauce, mushrooms, crispy onions, pickled jalapeno, Sriracha sauce, cilantro, pineapple or cucumber. The contemporary poke restaurants are mainly fast casual style places 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.[10]

Similar dishes[edit]

Raw fish dishes similar to poke, often served in Europe, are fish carpaccio and fish tartare. See also Korean Hoedeopbap, marinated raw tuna served over rice, or Peruvian ceviche. Japanese sashimi also consists of raw seafood.

See also[edit]


  • Titcomb, Margaret. The Native Use of Fish in America'i, University of Hawai'i Press, 1972
  1. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of poke". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. 
  2. ^ a b "Make Hawaii-style ahi poke wherever you are. Here's a recipe.". Hawaii Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  3. ^ a b "Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poke Recipe and History, How To Make Poke, Whats Cooking America". whatscookingamerica.net. Retrieved 2015-11-24. 
  4. ^ Namkoong, Joan (2001-01-01). Go Home, Cook Rice: A Guide to Buying and Cooking the Fresh Foods of Hawaiʻi. Bess Press. ISBN 9780964335929. 
  5. ^ "Hawaiian Dictionaries". wehewehe.org. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  6. ^ Laudan, Rachel (1996). The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii's Culinary Heritage. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 37–38. ISBN 9780824817787. Retrieved 2017-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b Vince Dixon, Data Dive: Tracking the Poke Trend: Proof that the Hawaiian dish is here to stay, Eater (September 14, 2016).
  8. ^
  9. ^ Fabricant, Florence (2016-01-26). "Poké, a Hawaiian Specialty, Emerges in Chelsea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  10. ^ Stradley, Linda (2015-05-16). "Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poke Recipe, Whats Cooking America". What's Cooking America. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 

External links[edit]