I absolutely love a good Poke Bowl.
Poke is the Hawaiian word ‘to slice’ and is essentially a raw fish salad. It consists of raw marinated fish (like tuna or salmon) and is often served by itself, but also on sushi rice with vegetables.
Many Poke eateries have been popping up around Auckland recently, so I thought I would go out and try a few, and also share with you my favourite one – Poke Poke in Newmarket. Here are five reasons why I love Poke Poke and why you should visit pronto.
1. The Poke!
All of Poke Poke’s ingredients and sauces are prepared in-house and taste delicious, fresh, and healthy, plus you will feel great after eating. There are two options available – you can choose from their ‘Poke Poke Bowls with Purpose’ menu or build your own poke bowl. Do the latter as it is more fun! Here is a lowdown on how to customise your own:
Step 1: Base: Offerings include white rice, purple rice and salad or choose to have half and half. I usually go with half purple rice and half salad. I absolutely love the purple rice as it is high in fibre and packed with antioxidants.
Step 2: Protein: If you choose the $13.90 poke bowl, you get to choose two proteins. If you choose the $15.90 poke bowl, you get to choose three proteins. If you are want a huge bowl, you can add an extra scoop of protein for $3. I usually go with the $13.90 bowl as this is enough to pleasantly fill me up. They offer many proteins which include sashimi-grade tuna and salmon, plus prawns, sous vide chicken, organic tofu and a seasonal special – on most occasions this has been squid.
Step 3: Toppings: I love that Poke Poke’s toppings are super fresh and colourful. Toppings include spring onion, cucumber, edamame beans, seaweed salad, seasonal fruit (love the pineapple!), Japanese pickles, surimi crab salad, pickled ginger, plus the following at an extra price: scallops, masago (roe of capelin fish), avocado or mushroom salad. You can choose as many toppings as you want.
Step 4: Sauces: Finally, pick a sauce… which can only be one, so choose wisely! My favourite is the Korean gochujang sauce (which I always overdose on when eating bibimbap), but they also offer shoyu, ginger miso, sriracha aioli, kimchi aioli, wasabi mayo, lemon yuzu mayo, beetroot mayo and toasted sesame kewpie. You can also add garnishes to top it off.
Lastly, choose to eat in or get takeaway. If you can, eat in, as I find the serving size is more generous and there is plenty of seating available (see below).
2. The fact that they are open for dinner.
How many places can you think of that are open for dinner Monday to Saturday in Newmarket, serving possibly the healthiest meal? I love that Poke Poke is open until 8pm six days a week. I often go to Event Cinemas on Broadway, and on one occasion, a group of us had dinner at Poke Poke before watching a film. It is a great place to have dinner, as you know you are getting a healthy, delicious and affordable meal. While they do not have a liquor license, they serve a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages (see below), plus we took a beer into the cinema anyway, so no worries there!
3. The Decor and Layout.
Walking in, the space is clean and light. The design is minimalist, with white washed and tiled walls, hanging plants and modern lights. I love the life-size print of the orange Combi van and a blue neon sign with the words ‘What good shall I do this day?’. There is also plenty of seating – wooden bar stools and tables at the front, a long table plus couch seating at the back which is perfect if you are dining in a group of more than two.
4. The Drinks.
Do not even think about sitting down without ordering a cup of their miso soup. At $2, it is super cheap and goes perfectly with your poke bowl. There is also a wide range of drinks to suit everyone’s tastes, including green tea (also $2), Karma Cola drinks, organic kombucha, organic juices, coconut water and bottled water.
5. The Location.
Situated on Remuera Road, Poke Poke is in a prime location. It is right opposite Newmarket Train Station (so easy to get to if you are coming from the city), there is a bus stop right outside and loads of street parking nearby. It is also close to Nuffield Street and the many shops on Broadway, so it is the perfect spot for lunch or dinner after a morning/afternoon of shopping.
If you are looking for a healthy, delicious and good for the ‘gram meal, plus welcoming and friendly staff, then no doubt you will be dreaming daily about your next visit to Poke Poke.