Poke Bowls: Singapore’s latest food craze

You would be forgiven for thinking that poke bowls are something out of a kids’ card game, but in actual fact, they are the latest food trend to reach the shores of the Lion City. Poke bowls originate from the Pacific island of Hawaii. Pronounced ‘po-kay’, these bowls of goodness have become the latest health food craze, due to their low-calorie, high-fiber and protein content. Put simply, poke bowls combine raw seafood, such as salmon or ahi tuna, in a soy-based marinade. The seafood is then garnished with fresh avocado, cucumber and seaweed and served with rice or additional greens.

"Poke Bowl といえば!という感じ" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ayustety
“Poke Bowl といえば!という感じ” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by ayustety

This raw-food delight has long been a popular snack in Hawaii. In fact, locals there can pick up poke bowls from grocery stores and even fuel stations. In essence, poke bowls have built upon the popularity of Japanese sushi and created healthy bowls of goodness that are endlessly customizable, depending on your personal tastes and dietary requirements. Even vegan residents in Singapore can get in on the act with a great range of vegan poke bowl varieties that are guilt-free and jam-packed with all the colours of the rainbow.

"Spicy poke bowl from Sam Choy’s poke foo" (CC BY 2.0) by namho
“Spicy poke bowl from Sam Choy’s poke foo” (CC BY 2.0) by namho

Across Singapore, several poke bowl joints have appeared in recent months, many of which offer great-value servings that are healthy, fun and fresh. If you are stopping over in the Lion City for a short break, perhaps en-route to another destination, be sure to check out the following poke eateries dedicated to the Hawaiian craze.

Aloha Poke

Aloha Poke has quickly become one of the most popular and recognized poke bowl restaurants in Singapore. Run by two couples who wanted to share the wonders of this Hawaiian dish to the people of the Lion City, they’re going great guns with five establishments dotted around the city. From classic-style salmon and tuna poke to poke-style Mexican burritos and even bottles of beer, it’s easy to see why this playful joint picks up plenty of repeat trade.

Alakai

Positioned in the heart of the CBD for Singapore’s workers to enjoy, Alakai is owned by a Hawaiian who now lives in Singapore with an ambition of bringing Hawaiian cuisine to the masses. Alakai commits to using only the best and freshest raw seafood, with its salmon air-flown in fresh from Norway.

Poke Doke

These guys claim to serve up the best poke bowls in the city and their claims are well-substantiated. They know how to cater for those looking for a light bite or a hearty meal, with three different bowl sizes on offer. There are also three different marinades for your seafood and vegetables, including a fiery ‘Wasabi Almighty’ dressing.

Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl is a great place to visit for those looking for ‘clean’ bowls of raw food. If you’re looking for a fun atmosphere to try poke for the first time with friends, then Ninja Bowl is just the place. It’s also great value, with generous portions and additional a la carte sides on offer if you find that one poke bowl just isn’t enough.

Poke bowls tick so many boxes. They’re fresh, healthy and cater for the do-it-yourself masses that like to customize their meals. According to Bloomberg, some 300 Hawaiian poke restaurants have opened in the United States and although Singapore doesn’t have quite that array of outlets to choose from, there’s certainly plenty to get your teeth into.

Kathy Kenny

EIC

Digital marketer. Events host. Content writer. Pursuer of dreams. Music, movie, and book lover. Collector of snowglobes, ref magnets, pens, mugs, Care Bears, notebooks, and makeup. Wanderlust. Sapiosexual. Yawyan Advocate.