Build Your Delicious Dish At Poke & BoxInside Feature
October 29, 2017
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
On a recent visit to Poke & Box, a first-time guest exclaimed, “I feel healthy just watching you make that! It looks so delicious!”
At Poke & Box, each guest becomes the chef as diners customize their favorite poke bowl-style plate from scratch, like using a “blank canvas” with fresh, delicious ingredients as the medium.
Located conveniently in Ala Moana Center’s Makai Market Food Court and inspired by Hawaii’s unique and diverse culinary culture, Poke & Box makes it easy for guests to follow the “poke assembly line” that is fully stocked with fresh poke varieties and additions. Unlike other poke bowl destinations, where most ingredients are already pre-mixed, Poke & Box encourages diners to customize their favorite dish from the bottom up.
General manager 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 with ample sides to choose from. 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 sauce; and the Spanish custom of enjoying 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 inside the food court. “The possibilities are endless. We’re Korean, so we eat everything with some kind of side dish, and I’ve come to realize that people eat raw fish in so many different ways. It’s important to offer these different options for guests.”
Diners start the Poke & Box experience by selecting a small ($8.99), medium ($10.99) or large ($15.99) PokeBox. Next, it’s time to choose a PokeBoxBase with one’s preference of white rice, brown rice or green salad, which can then be topped with onions (green and round) and sliced cucumber, if one so chooses. Then comes the PokeBox-Mix that makes up the heart of the PokeBox 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 PokeBoxTops, such as corn, jalapenos, pickled ginger, kimchee and a host of additional toppings.
“We offer options for all tastes and diets, including gluten-free and reduced sodium options, and our PokeBox choices are delicious and filling; we even have customers who come in after working out at the gym for a nice combination of protein and carbohydrates,” Yoo says. “Ala Moana Center is 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.”