Quick to make, versatile, and delicious, poke bowls are packed with healthy ingredients you can mix and match

By Christelle Tolisora | Illustration by Alysse Asilo

Pokemon Go might be losing its hype, but this new kind of poke is quickly taking on the spotlight in a more satisfying (and healthy) way. Tracing back its roots from Hawaii, the poke bowl has long been a staple and favorite of the island locals. Poke (pronounced as poh-kay), meaning “to slice or cut,” is a native Hawaiian dish of raw cubed ahi or yellowfin tuna marinated in shoyu (soy sauce), sesame oil, spices, and mixed with vegetables. It can be eaten on its own or topped over a bowl of steamed rice resembling a chirashi bowl or a deconstructed sushi.

The poke trend

Poke bowl is New York City’s newest favorite food at the moment with numerous restaurants popping up around the area. From traditional to unique yet equally flavorful ones, these bowls are pretty much customizable for every appetite. Variations of this wildly popular dish have been emerging to suit the taste of its growing fan base. New to eating raw fish? Then try a vegan poke bowl, which uses tofu as the main ingredient, or dig in to an octopus poke bowl with seasoned octopus boiled to chewy goodness. The diverse flavors of poke bowls lie in the assortment of sauce and seasoning incorporated in the dish. With different spices available in the market and around the globe, there are still numerous kinds of poke bowls waiting to be discovered (and tasted).

Why you should eat more poke bowls

These savory bowls are more than just a food trend though. It’s packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids that lower the risk of cardiovascular disease; it’s low in calories, too. What’s great about it is that you can get creative and use a variety of ingredients. Instead of using tuna, which has high mercury content, fresh salmon is a healthier option. Marinate in low-sodium soy sauce, toss in some vegetables, and partner with good-quality brown rice or quinoa for that much needed nutrient and fiber boost to lower cholesterol levels. Poke bowls might be the healthiest, easiest, and tastiest food trend yet.

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