Poke bowls are all the trend right now. They’re all over social media and they’re already on the menu at some of the trendy restaurants. Before we go any further though, poke is pronounced “pok-keh“.
What exactly is poke?
Poke 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).
Poke bowls may seem like a new trend to us but this delicious dish has been around for centuries. They emerged around the 1970’s when Hawaiian fishermen would use the simple recipe to create hearty snacks.
The one thing I love about a poke bowl is that your entire meal fits into one bowl. You have your starch (rice), protein (salmon, tuna or even beef) and all of your vegetables as well as some other exciting and delicious additions. It is like a balanced meal all in one bowl and I love it! It is healthy, delicious and totally unique.
The question now is where to find a poke bowl in Jozi?
1. SUSHI BURRITO & CO
Sushi Burrito & Co is conveniently located in one of my most frequented malls in Johannesburg, Melrose Arch. It is for this reason that I am always eating here. If I am not meeting a friend for lunch, then I will be grabbing a take away or I’ll have a quick dinner here, so it is definitely my go-to spot.
They serve a killer poke bowl. You can choose tuna or salmon. It comes with edemame beans, avocado, crispy kale, crispy nori and a few other exciting toppings. It really is delicious!
My favourite is the salmon poke simply because the salmon is marinated in a ponzu sauce and that just makes it extra tasty.
2. LA BOQUERIA
I did a blog post on this total gem of a restaurant here which you ought to read because why not. But for purposes of this blog post I am just going to tell you about the poke bowl. It is next level deliciousness because one of the ingredients is coconut cream and you know that is always a treat! Also, they give you both salmon and tuna, which together, adds variety.
If you’re not one for salmon or tuna, but also want to indulge in a delicious bowl, then I recommend the WONDER BOWL. It is a hot ramen noodle bowl with miso broth, pak choi, pickled cabbage, field mushrooms, spring onion, sprouts, poached egg and chilli nori flakes. It is as delicious as it sounds!
3. THE BIG MOUTH
Situated in Nelson Mandela Square is the best sushi restaurant Jozi has to offer. Not only the best sushi, but the best poke bowl. It is made with white rice, chopped seaweed, chopped salmon, siracha ponzu sauce, seven spice, spring onion, sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, garlic flakes, tempura crumbs and avocado.
What makes this poke bowl so special is the siracha ponzu sauce (flavour!) and the crushed peanuts (texture!). It is definitely delicious!
4. ONO POKE EATERY
This is Joburg’s first standalone poke bar and this excites me! I am yet to try it so stay tuned to the blog for a lengthy post for when I do. But just think: a menu dedicated only to poke bowls. You choose your base (rice), your protein (salmon, tuna, prawn, chicken or a vegan option) and then all of the vegetables.
Doesn’t this sound too good to be true fellow foodies? Yip it does. I cannot wait to visit ONO!
5. MOMO BAOHAUS
Momo Baohaus is a delicious Asian inspired eatery in the heart of Greenside. They have also just opened a sister restaurant in Illovo called Momo Soko. Both are based on the same ideas and share the same vibe.
The menu offers all kinds of dishes from bao’s, to bowls and even sushi. They also have poke bowls but very interesting ones! For example, the Kauai Poke Bowl. It has ingredients like salmon, edamame, pickled ginger, shitake, avocado, ramen egg, yello daikon, kale, spring onion, asian slaw, fried garlic, red onion, wakame seaweed, toasted sesame and ginger scallion drizzle. Don’t let the combination of ingredients scare you because together it all forms the perfect mix of flavours.
If the poke bowls don’t tickle your fancy you can always opt for a Momo Bowl. Pictured below is the TOKYO MOMO BOWL which is teriyaki chicken, rice and a whole lot of other goodies!
So as you can see poke bowls are interesting little dishes. Each place serves it differently and you have to find the one (or two, in my case) that you love. My favourites are Sushi Burrito & Co and The Big Mouth.
Have you tried a poke bowl yet?