FAKE “Hawaiian” Poke, Everything Wrong with the Poke Trend

Object Title: Study of Hawaiian Fish. Date: 1898 Artist: Hubert Vos Active: American, 1855 – 1935

Just because you have bits of raw fish, it does not make it poke, and I will list six other types of raw fish/meat dishes that are also not poke.

In the U.S. (the mainland), the vast majority of “poke” places have nothing to do with Hawaii or Hawaiian poke because they are fake as fock.

All the B.S. spots should be called “pooky” because what they are doing has nothing to do with being Hawaiian or close to being poke.

Da Hawaiian Roots

“Poke” (po-KEH) is what the real stuff is called, but all the other B.S. spots should be called “pooky” because what they’re doing never had any Hawaiian origins. There’s nothing left of the culture or how it was rooted in a snack for fisherman in Hawaii who would eat their catch with sea salt, kukui (candlenuts), and limu (seaweed).

Photo Description: Hanalei Fishermen Hawaii hand colored etching by Charles W. Bartlett, c. 1923.
Bikini’s, tanned skin, and lau lau is being replaced by a ton of sauce and a ton of crap all mixed in to a bowl cuz Murica.

Haole to the Oblivious (Mainland Chinese) AF

I get it, there are those businesses that are solely out to make money and cash in (on “the trend”), but a lot of them have no eff’n clue what they are doing. I mean, you can easily Google what poke is, but the “dun-give-a-fok-about-it” mentality and the whole “choose how you want it” craze is what is further contributing towards the bastardization of poke.

Just because a business owner is Asian, that does not mean they cannot culturally appropriate another Asian ethnic culture. Such as “_________ (Asian ethnicity/Nationality) appropriating Hawaii culture to make a buck.

Aside form the native Hawaiians, Hawaii has a diverse Asian population/history.

Why do I care? Because legit Hawaiian poke is fock’n delicious and not a trend. So somebody ought to let the Chinese run pooky businesses in Colorado know that poke is not Japanese (they are all about sumo and Japanese motifs).

The Various Styles of #Poke to #Pooky

The OG Hawaiian Poke Ingredients

  • Chopped fish
  • Kukui nuts
  • Sea salt

Poke later had influence from the Japanese and other Asian cultures which later used soy sauce, onions, and ate it with rice (donburi style).

Contemporary Style or Legit Hawaiian Poke Ingredients

  • Chopped fish
  • Shoyu (soy sauce)
  • Chopped negi (green onions)
  • Kukui nuts (candlenuts) or/and sesame oil
  • Sliced Maui onions
  • Limu or ogo (seaweed)
  • Sea salt

Haole “Pooky” (all the bastardized mainland fockers) Ingredients

  • Any raw seafood all thrown together (can be shaped like a donut) with all sorts of toppings from edamame, seaweed, quinoa, kale/salad greens, bok choy, to mayo and any number of “oriental” sauces like sweet’n’sour.

All Raw Fish is Not Poke

There isn’t just one type of dish that utilizes raw fish, yet everything gets labeled as poke because it’s an easy way to market your business even if it perpetuating to the dumb. I mean you can do whatever the hell you want, but even Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have enough sense to not call themselves “Italian” or “Mexican.”

All raw fish is not ceviche and the same goes for poke.

Aside from just poke (below), there are also the following types of raw fish dishes that you can market your product after, so that you can ruin more than one culture:

Real Ono Hawaiian Poke

A Hawaiian dude with some slippahs somewhere just shed a tear drop looking at your Yelp’s pics because it didn’t look like the stuff below.

Photo Description: the poke spread at Foodland in Hawaii. Rows and rows of what looks like tuna style poke. You can see bits of what looks like limu to green onions.
How they do it in Hawaii cuz it’s not by mainland morons. Various types of poke: Foodland Supermarket in Hawaii

Chirashi (Japanese)

The Japanese way of using sliced bits of fish, vegetable, and other ingredients on top of a bowl of sushi rice (meaning vinegared, not that Murican stuff with plain rice you’ve been eating in your orgasm roll with spicy mayo slathered all over).

Photo Description: Chirashi-zushi in a Japanese hangiri has sushi rice, along with oba shiso, large chunks of tuna, tamago, ikura, to fake crab (kani).
Chirashi with egg, crab, tuna, salmon, salmon eggs, oba shiso on top of sushi rice.

Ceviche (Latin American and Caribbean)

A latin American and Caribbean dish that typically consists of raw fish, citrus juice, chili’s, and cilantro. Yea, Latins like it raw too, but they got tang… citrus tang.

Photo Description: Best Ceviche Ever image is from Lima, Peru. Chunks of octopus are cute up with sliced red onions sprawled out the plate with what looks like pepper and little red bits that I can not identify.
This ceviche is made with white fish, octopus, citrus, and onions

Hoe/Hwe, What Up My Hoe’s (Korean)

Korean style dish of raw seafood… oh, Koreans got their hoe’s in different area codes, but the most popular is probably the live octopus/san-naki. (I have a video eating it live cuz “sensationalism”).

Photo Description: Korean  cuisine Sannakji hoe (cut up bits of octopus with what looks like sesame seed sprinkled on top).
A bunch of hoe in the form of octopus, all sprawled out on a plate looking moist with a come hither look.

Yusheng (Chinese)

A Chinese style involving raw fish tossed together with other ingredients. Also before you start your Yusheng’rito bar, check out this article on the cuisine.

Photo Description: Singapore Yusheng which is several ingredients on one round white plate. Each ingredient is julienned from what looks like carrots, beni shoga?, to green onions, and a number of other ingredients.
Yusheng or lo hei in Cantonese

Others Style of Chopped Fish Served Raw

There are several other raw dishes like Italian crudo or tartare, but I won’t tell you about them all, otherwise you might bastardize it as the next food trend.

Real Hawaiian Poke Places

If you’re going to support one out of a million poke businesses to pop-up recently, I highly suggest you find an authentic Hawaiian poke restaurant which is getting harder and harder to distinguish from because they’re all trying to play themselves off as “Hawaiian.” Unfortunately, they are straight out fake, but the places below are some of the only authentic poke places, and I’d show these places some love if want to experience the culture through Hawaiian cuisine.

“California Inspired”

Also, at the very least, I’d say look out for these type of businesses that are in the know that say that say that they’re “California inspired poke (or wherever they are located)”, that right there means they know what’s up, and I give them props for citing that or knowing how to google.

For the best poke, these are the spots so far… yea the short list. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Honolulu, Hawaii


West Coast
I haven’t tried out all of these spots, but they might be worth checking out.

Make it Yourself
There are only a few good sites, but here are the ones I trust:

Adam Will Let You Know How You Are Continuing to Ruin Hawaii

Adam is a schmoe, but this piece is a legit content from him.


Enough said brah.

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