Pronounced POH-kay, the Hawaiian word “poke” literally means “to slice or cut crosswise into pieces” and at its roots that’s what this dish is: simply cut raw fish – most often tuna or salmon. This trend can be traced centuries back to Hawaiian fish markets where shoppers could choose a freshly caught fish to be dressed with sesame oil and soy sauce and tossed with scallions and seaweed.
Once poke hit the mainland, it began its transformation from plate to bowl. Now poke is served in a bowl atop a bed of white rice, greens (or noodles), often completely customizable with anything from edamame to avocado. And no longer is the poke bowl confined to raw fish, at many of these local Long Island eateries, customers can choose from tofu, shrimp, and sometimes even chicken or beef.
Like many recent food trends, the poke bowl is being driven by environmentally aware millennials who enjoy customizing quick and healthy fusion-flavored meals. Poke bowl restaurant-goers can customize their meal choosing a base (rice, noodles or greens), proteins (fish, meat, tofu), and a wide variety of toppings. Giving people options is what’s super appealing about these bowls, allowing you to be as healthy (or indulgent) as you’d like. The poke bowl is also aesthetically pleasing and usually will score you a picture perfect Instagram post!
Many entrepreneurs have already brought this rapidly growing restaurant concept to Long Island, however, we’d like to think many more are on the rise to open in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. A few poke restaurants gracing Long Island are: Iron Poke in Stony Brook, Kai Poke with two locations in Huntington and Massapequa, Shiny Coffee Healthy Poke in Hicksville, Mr. Poke in Great Neck, Poketo in Merrick, and Island Poke in Garden City and the newly open Pokeworks in Woodbury. It’s safe to say that the poke demand is on the rise on the island. Let us know in the comments where you get your favorite local poke bowls.