What’s vibrant, delicious, and trendy all over? Poke bowls, otherwise known as the rice bowls full of super fresh fish and colorful toppings taking over your Instagram feed. Although gaining mainland and social media traction recently, the bowls have been around for awhile.
“Poke bowls started to emerge around the 1970s when Hawaiian fishermen would use the simple recipe to create hearty snacks,” says Jack Liang, partner at The PokéSpot in N.Y.C.
Their recent popularity is rooted in their incredible versatility, says Liang. “Poke bowls can feature healthy options like zucchini noodles or indulgent ones like spicy mayo,” he says. “It’s a remixed sushi experience, taking all of sushi’s beloved ingredients and throwing them into one delicious bowl.”
And they’re incredibly easy to make. According to Liang, at its most basic level, a poke bowl is made up of a base, typically rice, cubed raw sushi-grade salmon or tuna, and Asian toppings like soy sauce and seaweed. While raw salmon or tuna are the standard proteins, fear not, you can sub in other options like cooked chicken, crab, or tofu, if you’re not feeling the fish or are vegan.
The beauty of the bowls is that, like your favorite chopped salad, they can really be as simple or as adventurous as you want. For example, the PokeSpot offers a special made up of snow crab, salmon, green onion, seaweed salad, furikake, roasted seaweed, and the restaurant’s special sauce. Poke bowls know no bounds.
The only thing rule you must adhere to in the making of your own: “Use the freshest ingredients, when you're dealing with raw fish,” says Liang. “This is always the most important thing to remember."