Hands up if you’re a poke fan, and by poke I meant the traditionally Hawaiian poke bowl, not Pokémon, guys. For those of you who are not in the know, poké (pronounced ‘poh-kay’) is a traditional Hawaiian raw fish salad, typically made with yellowfin tuna.
In Hawaii, it’s often found in supermarkets and other casual eateries where diners can help themselves to a scoop, or two, and eat it there and then from a small bowl. And of course, the trend has caught on quick in Singapore and I am but a tragic victim of such a wave. I’ve succumbed, terribly but surely and while I’m at it, why not compile a list of places to get your poke fix in Singapore.
So there you go, here are twelve spots all around our little red town to refuel on that poke need.
12. Poke Doke
At Poke Doke, you get a huge range of poke and add-ons to choose from, but I highly recommend the Wasabi Salmon poke ($12.50 regular size). The wasabi sauce adds a nice layer of flavour without overpowering the taste of the salmon, and it’s just spicy enough for a kick but without making you tear up.
If you’re in the mood for a treat, get the premium toppings (additional $1.50), especially the Seasoned Jelly Fish. Crunchy and well marinated, it adds a nice crunch to the dish while keeping it refreshing.
Poke Doke: Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-95, Singapore 039596 | Website | Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Make sure to check out Pololi’s wide range of marinades. When we visited, marinades like Avocado Mayo, Yuzu Pinenut, Traditional Spicy, Thai Sweet Chili and Wasabi Miso were available, but since the choices are constantly changing, the marinades mentioned might not be around when you visit.
With the smaller bowl (150g of fish) going at $15.99, that’s not too bad a deal!
Pololi Singapore: 51 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 048441 | Tel: +65 6909 0589 | Website | Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm (Mon to Tues), 11:30am – 6pm (Weds – Thurs), 11:30am – 10pm (Fri), Closed Sat & Sun
Sick of the standard salmon and tuna poke choices? Check out Loloku and their hamachi offering! The Ono Hamachi ($16/$18) is marinated when you place your order so rest assured that the delicate taste of the hamachi won’t be overwhelmed by sitting in the marinade for extended periods of time.
Loloku: 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109 | Website | Tel: +65 62235001 | Opening Hours: 8am – 9pm (Mon – Tues), 8am – 10pm (Wed – Fri), Closed Sat & Sun
If you think that the fish at most poke places are overwhelmed by the marinade, give Alakai a try. Pictured above is the Alakai Big Poke Plate ($24.45), and the poke is only marinated once you make your order so you can be sure that you’ll get the taste of both the marinade and the fresh fish.
Paired with healthy brown rice and the sides, this is one filling bowl of poke.
Alakai: 3 Everton Park #01-79, Singapore 080003 |Website | Tel: +65 60944957 | Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 8.30pm
Check out that beautiful pink from the tuna in the Starving ($14) portion from SweetFish. Marinated in a mixture of sauces, the shoyu taste is most prominent; a little salty but the ingredients complemented each other well.
If you’re hungry, go straight for the Starving portion as it has twice as much sashimi as the smaller Hungry portion.
SweetFish: 13 Stamford Road, #B2-30 Capitol Piazza, Singapore 178905 |Website | Opening hours: 11am – 8pm (Daily)
Main Box ($12.90)
A newly opened stall in Fusionopolis that stocks up intriguing versions of the Hawaiian Poke Bowl, Katto is not only deliciously healthy, it is considerably more affordable than those found in the CBD. Containing 250g of premium Japanese rice that’s infused with an 18 grain mix, 140g of the freshest sashimi grade fish and yummy vegetables, Katto won’t leave you guiltily hungry.
Katto: 1 Fusionopolis Place, Galaxis Building, #01-21/22, Singapore 138522 | Website | Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 2pm (Sat)
This new concept brings typical ‘Chinese’ food served in America, back to Singapore in an interpretation most Asians won’t be very familiar with unless you’ve stayed in the US.
Lokke’s walls are designed with beautiful modern art decor and also lined with graphite sketches, showing that the group has taken much care to provide its diners with an interesting and comforting experience.
The interior of the restaurant is themed with an auspicious red interior and boast several private VIP rooms as well, each with a centerpiece artwork that reflects pop-art culture combined with a Chinese drawing style.
Poke Salad ($16)
Marinated raw tuna chunks, avocado, flying fish roe all served in a little tortilla chip bowl. A savoury snack to start off the meal with this Asian American fusion prelude.
Lokkee: Plaza Singapura #03-01, 68 Orchard Road Singapore 238839 | Tel: 6884 4566| Website | Opening Hours: 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-10:30pm
5. A Poke Theory
A Poke Theory is a fresh, hip, sleek food joint that’s just recently opened on Boon Tat Street that specialises in poke, and other healthy, all-natural foods.
Go big or go home should probably be the motto when ordering at A Poke Theory. Even without the fancier toppings, its standard selection is way more than sufficient to blow your mind with their incredible variety.
The avocado miso salmon is creamy and pairs delightfully well with the fragrant spiced roasted cashews, while the gentle lime avocado and soft sushi rice play up a nice contrast to the tangy tomatoes and savoury, tender pork.
4. Rollie Ollie
Mad About Wasabi ($17.95)
Nestled inside Suntec City’s Pasar Bella is Rollie Ollie, a fast food truck that serves up quality poke bowls and sushi rolls that will leave you crying for more. What thoroughly impressed me was their wide selection of bowls and and and, tea infused rice (!!!)
Full of textures, the poke bowl consists of creamy avocado, paired with crunchy vegetables with a subtle sweetness from the tamago and of course chunky savoury and piquant pieces of tuna and salmon, marinated with wasabi sauce. The aromatic tea infused rice lends extra fragrance, balancing the intense flavours from the wasabi sauce, giving a well rounded and healthy poke bowl.
Rollie Ollie: 1 Vista Exchange Green, #02-05 The Star Vista | Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11:30AM–10PM |3 Temasek Boulevard Suntec City Mall, North Wing PasarBella Suntec, #01-K42, Singapore 038983 | Tel:+65 8188 1531 | Opening Hours: Everyday 10am – 10pm | Website
Run by Stephanie Er, a thoroughly bad ass mum with style, is Sprout, a healthy salad bar right in the heart of Tanjong Pagar. I was most definitely impressed with the interiors, think industrial chic, reggae and alternative with an eclectic hint of origami and neon lights.
I remember hearing a reggae rendition of Stay by Rihanna and Mikky Ekko, so I guess we’ve got that Hawaiian vibe all locked down.
Ahi Poke Bowl ($19.95)
The ahi poke bowl was a delight to have, especially if you’re into that salad business because it comes slathered with rockets that give that spicy and nutty taste profile, albeit like wasabi, complementing the raw and thick chunky pieces of fish.
Add that bit more of texture and nuttiness with quinoa and refreshing sweetness from pineapple slices and you’ve got yourself a wholesome bowl of Hawaii without feeling too thick at the waist.
Sprout: 41 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089505 | Tel: +65 6221 1227 | Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 8:30pm, Sat 11am – 7pm
2. Dapper Coffee
Dapper Coffee has been brewing a storm, what’s with their sparkly blue unicorn tears and impressive cold brew to salvage one from the sweltering heat. Refusing to let that title go, they’re now also serving poke bowl, but so with a twist like none other, as usual.
Poke Don ($22)
Their poke bowl comes served in a ceramic bowl, greeting you with a caramelised egg yolk plastered atop their heaps of marinated ahi tuna, creamy slices of avocado and a bed of… squid ink-flavoured rice, gasp!
That came as a surprise to me and this poke bowl is definitely not your usual healthy and light option, it is richly decadent and savoury. The caramelised egg has mixed a subtle sweetness into the ahi tuna and the yolk blends well with the squid ink flavoured rice.
There is an addition of cilantro that helps to cut all the decadence and well, furikake for that added splash of umami. I’d recommend having this if you’re in for a poke bowl that will spoil you silly in all the indulgent manner it ever could.
Dapper Coffee: 73 Amoy Street, Second Floor (Above Alati Restaurant) | Tel: 9005 4790 | Monday – Friday: 8am – 5pm | Website | Opening Hours Mon – Fri 8am – 5pm
1. Aloha Poke
First things first, the interior of Aloha Poke is laid back and minimal with a few tiki touches here and there just to remind you this is in fact a Hawaiian affair. It’s cool and casual and I could totally imagine a few surfer dudes riding through the doors on the crest of a wave at any point.
At Aloha Poke, you can get your poké on in numerous different ways.
You need to choose the size of your portion, which ranges from a ‘Lil’ Swell’ ($11.90, 75g of poké) up to a ‘Big Kahuna’ ($19.90, 225g of poké). Then you can choose from two types of fish — the traditional yellowfin tuna or salmon. We tried both and can’t pick a favourite. The salmon is deliciously fatty, whilst the tuna is dryer. Either way, you can guarantee the fish here is fresh as it’s delivered daily.
Once you’ve picked your poké, it’s then time to decide upon your base, complimentary add on-ons and superfoods. The choices here are vast with everything from white/brown rice, jalapenos, flying fish roe, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds or avocado.
Quite simply, you’ll never get bored as there’s always something new to try. If, however, you’re the indecisive type you can let the chefs do all the work and select a standard tuna or salmon poke which they’ll whip up with all of their classic favourite ingredients.
Aloha Poke: 92 Amoy Street, Singapore 069911 | Tel: 6221 6165 | Website | Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 11pm