First things first, you pronounce it “po-kay” not “po-kee”. Now that that’s out of the way, we can (literally) dig into the tasty stuff. If you don’t know what poke is (shame on you), it’s a traditional Hawaiian seafood dish packed with cut up pieces of raw fish like ahi tuna, salmon or octopus, garnished with a rice or noodle base, and lovingly drizzled in some damn tasty condiments.
In other words, it’s like deconstructed sushi (sold), in a bowl and it’s much bigger than a standard sushi roll. Basically it’s delicious AF and you should be eating it, so to conveniently start you off, here are Sydney’s very best poke bowls,
Bondi and Surry Hills
All hail the sashimi bar (aka when convenience and deliciousness combine). Here you get to BYOB, that’s “build your own bowl” for all you rookies out there. At Fishbowl Sashimi you are the master of your own poke, meaning you choose the base, sashimi, toppings and dressing. So you can get your creative on and make tasty combos like salmon, red onion, shallots, beetroot, sesame, seaweed salad and roasted sesame dressing. And obviously, you can order up several bowls… because it’s healthy. Sold.
Salmon & Bear
Salmon & Bear do seafood well. Period. So you can guarantee their poke bowls are also going to be a major hit (hint: they are). The crew here offer up three delectable variations including salmon, tuna or sweet prawn and for all you veg souls out there, they also do a mean salt and pepper tofu. But these bowls are glittering versions of your standard Hawaiian salad mix with bites like tuna poke with kimchi and lemongrass, as well as marinated raw salmon with salsa, coconut rice, avocado, seaweed and spices on the menu.
Sure, Sokyo has a famous Kaiseki-style share menu but the poke package here, you guessed it, is way too good to share. There’s only one poke option here and it’s hella good, as in, “you’re-instantly-transported-to-Hawaii” good. The chefs here are big on tradition too so you can expect perfectly sliced cubes of salmon, tuna and kingfish, with their standout spicy poke sauce (which we now want on all of our food).
Who would have thought there would be a little slice of the Hawaiian Islands in Sydney? Meet Love Poke, the tiny Coogee joint tapping into the Aloha Spirit and serving up flavoursome concoctions one delicious bowl at a time. Let’s just say there’s a time and place for greasy pub grub and there’s a time and place for zesty, fresh salads. So for when the latter applies to you, it’s time to hit up this beachside gem. And yes, you should definitely be ordering the coconut delight with cured white fish, coconut milk, citrus flavours and seasonal vegies because it tastes even better than it sounds.
When you need to snack-n-go, Sake Jr (the laidback sibling of Sake Restaurant and Bar) is your one-stop for everything nutritious and downright delicious. You will never, and we mean never, have to make another sad sambo lunch for yourself again with the epic, pre-made salads freshly mixed every day. Of course, the staple sushi rice, lettuce, cabbage, green beans, wakame, tuna and chilli threads make an appearance, but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to create your own bowl you should be hitting up their miso-glazed pork. Because it’s life. And we know you could eat an entire bow of it.
At first glance, the Easy Lane menu is laden with chicken wings, crispy pork, garlic pizzas and epic sambos and burgers (which automatically gives them the tick of approval). But this popular watering hole serves up a top take on the Hawaiian speciality with cured tuna in a bowl of rice, featuring avocado and red onion in an authentic soy-based dressing.
Fork And Bowl
You’ll find the yummy poke and buddha bowls from Fork + Bowl at a heap of farmers markets around Sydney, which means it’s now easier than ever to stay on top of this whole #cleaneating thing. The team here uses hand selected, organic and seasonal farm fresh produce, along with sustainable seafood from the best local NSW suppliers, so there’s no doubt these fresh combos will leave your belly feeling satisfied.
Whoever said you can’t make friends with salad was definitely wrong. You can definitely do it here. Yep, Showbox Coffee is home to some seriously good caffeine. And even though these guys are kings of the coffee scene, they’re also doing well on the poke front with a delicious bowl of wasabi soy tuna sashimi on a bed of wild rice, wakame, pickled ginger, avocado, egg and macadamia.
Poke has finally come to the CBD (insert office worker cheers here) thanks to Jack Fonteyn and Jason Roberts. Inspired by the real deal in Hawaii and using fresh, healthy and sustainable ingredients, these bowls are the business.
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Poku | Image credit: Caitlin Hicks