Now, what is a poké and how do you build one?
According to Anthony Theodosiou of Joburg’s first stand-alone establishment, ONO, poké means to slice, section or cut in Hawaiian. It was meal born out of the islands fisherman catching fish, cutting it up and eating it fresh right there on their boats.
Locals would go on to combine the diced fresh reef fish with edible seaweed, sea plants and local Kukui nuts. Then came the influence of flavours by close by Japanese neighbours and the introduction of the now traditional ahi tuna. And eventually evolve into the “pick n mix” plastic bowled convenience of Los Angeles we know today.
“Only 5 years ago did people in LA cotton on to how healthy the food trend was and created what you see behind me, which how you make your own bowl/salad,” says Theodosiou as he points to his countertop of different types of rice, veg, marinades and meats.
You essentially pick a protein, traditionally raw fish but now days you can get anything from beef, tofu or crispy squid. You then pick a base of grains, noodles or different coloured rice and then add a myriad of fresh cut veg along with a lather of soy or marinade. You are left with something that some have attributed it to either a salad or a glorified bowl of sushi but it is essentially both and neither, which is where it gets interesting.
“What I like about the Asia influence is the variety of fresh healthy flavours; soy, pickled gingers, nuts fresh flavours associated with classic Hawaiian poké,” says head chef and menu designer Brendon Newport of Durban’s resident poké spot, Surf Riders Café. “Sushi menus in Durban are very limited to standard basics, that have been round for years. Pacific rim meets Hawaiian island style is a bigger influence of multiple flavours.”
It’s these fresh flavours that make each of the owners believe that this trend is worth the investment and is not a one trick trend pony. As more and more people become hyper conscious of what they put in their body the poké sits comfortably in what is quickly moving away from being a health trend to a much needed shift in lifestyle.
“It’s power food, full of flavour and if it’s done right, there is no reason people should get sick of it. The combinations and room for creativity within the food is also endless,” enthuses Botha.
I have to say that I felt virtuous and fresh when I tried my first ever bowl at ONO. It’s also a bonus that it tastes so very good and feels like the perfect addition to my summer meal plans (although I maintain that the beach will get whatever body I give it.)
“If pizza could become as big of a staple as it is today then why can’t this? It’s a far healthier, far easier and far fresher way to eat and to live,” insists Theodosiou.
I mean, nothing will ever be pizza but poké doesn’t need to be, it’s fantastic as is and I have a feeling will be around for a long time.
Here is where to grab the best bowls:
- THE POKÉ CO, Order online onlyAndrew Flanagan was the original heralder of the poké trend in SA with his delivery service and occasional pop up restaurant. His locally sourced produced coupled with his sustainably sourced fish is delicious fixture for any healthy homebody and will help you get closer to that summer body as well. Add to cart immediately.