We have seen a massive rise in a number of Far East Asian food trends around the world in the past few decades. Sushi is now a staple in a majority of people’s diets, and now snacks and desserts like boba tea, bibimbap, momos, and so on are also making their way into people’s hearts. Now, sushi is pretty versatile, and you can play around with the ingredients as you are making rolls, and one new variant, that is technically inspired by sushi and Japan, but not actually from Japan is poke bowls.
Poke bowls, actually have their roots in Hawaii, contrary to popular belief. In fact, the word poke is Hawaiian for “sections,” which basically explains how the fish has been cut and handled. Traditional poke bowls would use yellowfin tuna, and you can still find those wherever, but as it has become popular, more and more variations have begun to come out. Poke bowls would be served as an appetizer as raw cut fish that was marinated in soy sauce and a little oil so as to keep the proteins intact and fish still fresh.
Now, there are a number of different ways you can customize your poke bowl by opting for other fish options like salmon and even octopus, and then changing your choice of sauce from teriyaki to ponzu, to spicy mayo and so on. Apart from fish, other ingredients that are normally added to a poke bowl can include steamed rice, edamame, and pickled ginger and so on. Poke bowls are already really healthy, however, some people can even substitute the rice for quinoa and add almond flakes and so on.
Now, it is easy to confused poke bowls and ceviche together, however, they are both quite literally worlds apart. Ceviche has its origins in Latin America while Poke bowls were started in Hawaii. While both of them are served as starters, the fish is poke bowl is marinated in a soy sauce base and the fish is kept raw and the proteins inside it intact. However, with ceviche, the fish is actually marinated in a citrus base for a period of type in order to “cure” it. Curing is the process of breaking down the protein in the meat, and since the fish is cut really thin in ceviche, it ends up cooking a little during the curing process, so you are technically not eating raw fish entirely when you are having ceviche.
Poke bowls are a great entrant in the food scene, and they have allowed more room for people to be creative, and the fact that people are able to eat fresh and healthy seafood, with their own choice of protein, sauce, and sides kind of adds to the fun factor. They make for a great meal option during summer heats where our bodies are craving for something light and fresh instead of heavier cooked and greasy foods. So, the next time you get a chance, make sure to give a poke bowl a go.