To be completely honest, up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea what Poke was, or that such a thing even existed. Yet, I embarrassingly have to admit that I have really been missing out. In case you’ve also been a clueless foodie, Poke is a Hawaiian based dish consisting of cold seafood and rice mixed together with various other components in a small but tasty bowl. Sometimes referred to as “sushi bowl”, it has been praised for before as a healthy fast food alternative, in addition to its fabulous aesthetic filling everyone’s social media flow.
Poke Poke is a small restaurant located in the Jing’an area, close to Xiangyang park, and specializes in the savory treat it carries the name of. Just opened a couple months ago, this tiny but fashionable place serves not only Poke bowls, but also a limited variety of hot dogs, sandwiches, smoothies, and juices.
As a small venue, Poke Poke is energetic and attentive when it comes to service, and the food is served quickly when ordered. Staff is kind, and put in effort to speak in English when needed. Prices are reasonable, considering the quality and ingredients of the dishes, and you can easily get a full meal for below 100 RMB per person. Poke bowls vary between 60-90 RMB, depending on size and components, while sandwiches and hot dogs come down to between 40-60 RMB per serving.
The OCA tasting team decided to try the original Poke Bowl, as well as one plate of the spicy Chicken Quesadillas. The poke bowl consisted of rice, seaweed, smoked salmon, Argentinian prawn, cashew nuts, avocado, and salmon roe, and was frankly a delight. By a first glance the serving size does seem a bit small, but after a few bites you realize that all the layers and components of the bowl makes it more than enough. Flavor-wise it is to no surprise that it is a bit salty, yet this is perfectly balanced by the creamy avocado and the unsalted cashews. The seaweed flavor might be a tad too dominant, but overall the combination works perfectly. Poke Poke also offer three other poke bowls; Spicy Sambal, Wasabi Pomelo, and Orange Mayo.
The Chicken Quesadillas were regular quesadillas filled with cheese, cabbage, and chicken, and comes served with tortilla chips and salsa. Yet despite being labeled as spicy, the team was happy to find out that it is not the teary-eyed, my-head-is-on-fire type of spicy, but actually just an extra mini-explosion of flavor merely enhancing the chicken filling. The cabbage and seasoning creates a very untraditional type of quesadilla, yet still very delicious. The restaurant also offers hot dogs and sandwiches, as well as home-made smoothies and juices.
Located just a few minutes’ walk away from trendy South Shanxi Road, Poke Poke is not hard to find, and an ideal place for a quick meal after some shopping or city-exploring. Keep in mind that the restaurant is pretty small, with a capacity of around five tables only, so be prepared to wait if stopping by during popular hours. However, the interior is beautifully decorated with a consistent theme of sea and ocean, and has a generally fresh atmosphere. Tables are clean and chairs are pretty comfy, meaning this venue is undoubtedly a place you wouldn’t mind resting away a food coma.
Overall, the OCA team was happily surprised by the food and service of Poke Poke. With an innovative and playful concept, the restaurant manages to introduce new food options as well as update traditional ones, all whilst giving a new meaning to healthy living without breaking anyone’s wallet.
This article was written by Sabina Olsson. Please send an email to [email protected] to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Sabina Olsson