Get caught up in this tasty mix to satisfy a poke fixDestination Dining
August 25, 2019
Story By: Elima Pangorang | Photos by: ELIMA PANGORANG
One of the great things about living in Hawaii is residents get the best and most ways of enjoying the unofficial staple food of the state: Poke. Discovering the different flavors of the many creative minds at the helm of a plethora of mixes around the Hawaiian chain is a definite plus. The next time you take a neighbor-island staycation to the Big Island, be sure to check out these stops to fill some of your greatest poke desires.
This take out-style shop is on the outskirts of Kona’s famous Alii Drive and produces sought-after poke concoctions that are promised to be “always fresh, never frozen… guaranteed.” The menu boasts playful names such as Pele’s Kiss, which is a spicy mix; Dynamite with an avocado aioli; Wet Hawaiian with inamona; and Shack Special, which gives off a hint of sweetness. Other options fill the menu as well from traditional to creative. Poke bowls come with one scoop of brown or white rice, two choices of poke and one side of choice, while the poke plates double the amount of each category. Hot plates are also an option with laulau or kalua pork.
PHOTO BY ELIMA PANGORANG
2. Poke ‘N’ Sides
Hilo Farmers Market
57 Mamo St., Hilo
Farmers markets are always a refreshing exploration, especially when there’s a rest stop packing some serious flavors. Poke ‘N’ Sides is a humble establishment serving colorful poke bowls with the option of one, two, three or four choices. The island-caught selections include: Farmer Market Ginger Ahi, Wasabi Ahi, Hawaiian-Style Ahi, Spicy Ahi or Honey Sesame Salmon. Choice of sides are also included and are sweet potato, Cali Crab Avocado, fern shoots or soybeans. The menu is farmers-market-fresh and also includes protein options like cheeseburgers, fried chicken, fish and chips, plus classic breakfast favorites.
PHOTOS BY ELIMA PANGORANG
3. Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill
(also a second location at Alii Plaza)
74-5563 Kaiwi St., Kailua-Kona
Umeke’s Fish Market Bar & Grill is a popular hangout for Big Island residents as well as for its visitors, as the full service restaurant and bar serves up unique and traditional favorites. Although the eatery offers complete meals from grilled bites and fried dishes to salads and finger foods, Umeke’s crew says there’s no beating its poke bowls, mentioning they are a top-seller. A reason for this is Umeke’s dedication to the use of the highest quality local ingredients from fishermen, farmers and ranchers — which may lead to its motto, “So fresh it’s off da hook!” Choose from any of Umeke’s house poke and enjoy it with rice, and one side dish of macaroni salad, sesame garlic edamame, hoio salad, kimchee cucumber, lomi lomi salmon, spicy crab salad or crab broccoli salad.
4. Suisan Fish Market
93 Lihiwai St., Hilo
On any given day visitors to Suisan Fish Market in the country town of Hilo will find this establishment bustling with seafood lovers looking to pacify their poke cravings. Perched just off the banks of Wailoa River, this eatery really sets the mood for those looking for a classic, old-town experience with delicious and authentic offerings. Its expansive showcase presents customers with poke selections from fish, to shrimp, to various seafood salads, and even refreshing treats like Li Hing Mango. Choose to enjoy your meal at Liliuokalani Park and Gardens just across the way or even a choice spot overlooking tranquil Hilo Bay.