The Key To A Customized Meal
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At Poke & Box, each guest becomes the chef as diners are encouraged to customize their favorite poke bowl from scratch, like starting with a “blank canvas.”
Located conveniently in Ala Moana Center’s Makai Market Food Court, and inspired by Hawaii’s unique and diverse island culture, Poke & Box makes it easy for guests to make their way down the “poke assembly line” that is fully stocked with fresh poke varieties and toppings. Unlike other poke-bowl destinations, where most ingredients are already pre-mixed, Poke & Box makes it easy for diners to customize their favorite dish from the bottom up.
Owner Lauren Yoo explains that the thought behind Poke & Box is diners from diverse backgrounds should have plenty of choices when it comes to building their favorite dish. She notes that, especially in Hawaii, diners representing different cultures like to eat their poke in various ways, including: the Japanese method of coupling sashimi with wasabi and shoyu; the Korean practice of pairing raw fish with gochujang; and the Spanish custom of making ceviche.
“We offer fresh ingredients, and the experience is a lot of fun because each guest can customize their own PokeBox,” says Yoo, who also operates Aja Sushi & Bento in the food court. “The possibilities are endless. About 10 years ago, I was hanging out with friends from around the world, and I realized that people eat raw fish in so many different ways. It was important to offer these different options to guests.”
Patrons start the Poke & Box experience by selecting a small ($7.99), medium ($9.99) or large ($14.99) PokeBox. Next, it’s time to choose a PokeBoxBase with one’s preference of white or brown rice, or green salad. Then comes the PokeBoxMix that makes up the heart of the meal, with varieties of fresh ahi, cooked shrimp, fresh salmon, tako, cooked scallops, fried tofu or perfectly cooked and seasoned chicken. Up next is a PokeBoxSauce selection, including shoyu, gochujang, wasabi mustard, very spicy (with a three-flame level of heat) and many more. Finally, complete the PokeBox with Poke-BoxTops the likes of green onion, corn, jalapenos, pickled ginger, kimchee and a host of additional toppings.
“Ala Moana Center offers so much for both local customers and visitors, and the mall is very supportive of local businesses that have been here for a long time,” Yoo adds. “It’s been an amazing experience doing business here. With all the investments made in the shopping center, there are so many activities going on; Center Stage has some exciting events every weekend. It’s such a cool place to visit, and we’ve met so many great customers, from young kids to aunties and uncles, as well as grandmothers and grandfathers.”
Poke & Box
Ala Moana Center, Makai Market Food Court,
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Ste. 1081
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closes at 7 p.m. on Sunday