The Rich History of Hawaiian Poke

Poke is chopped, raw fish most commonly seasoned with sesame oil and soy sauce. Hawaii’s food culture promotes this style of eating at social gatherings, weddings, and is an integral part of everyday life. The rich history of Hawaiian poke has deep roots.


The origins of poke have deep, wide roots across the islands. Native Hawaiians have enjoyed the food for a very long time, with easy access to the water. Without refrigeration, salt was historically added to raw seafood as a way of preserving and keeping fish fresh. The term poke means “to cut into cubes,” which is how their street-style fish dishes are served; cubed raw fish with some salt.


In the seventies, poke gained popularity as fishing techniques made fresh deep-sea fish more accessible and appealing. Seafood markets began to offer varieties of fish in glass refrigerated cases across the islands. Multicultural influences from Western and Asian cultures introduced scallions, chili peppers, and soy sauce into poke which have become common additions to the dish. Hawaii has all the recipes for the perfect mix, making poke a popular and timeless dish ready to take over the states and make its way to Columbus.


Hawaii has a distinctive food landscape. It’s no wonder poke has taken over as a go-to trendy dish in places like Los Angeles. With fresh new ingredients being added to the mix, poke is taking on a life of its own, popping up in restaurants across the west coast. Soon after, NYC was introduced to the flavor packed powerhouse dish. With a mainland takeover on the horizon, poke is quickly moving into the midwest with people singing its praises from east to west and everywhere in between.


Seafood counters offer endless varieties of flavors to include everything from raw, chopped crab, salmon and clams to tofu poke as a new flavor to come on the scene. Poke is definitely not a trend or a fad, it’s a dish that evolves over time and adapts to new changes in the culture and food scene which proves it is a dish that is here to stay.


Poke Bros took what was already a growing trend on the coast and brought it to Columbus where the fast casual concept is already hugely popular.  We offer a build-your-own-bowl approach to offer exactly what you like in one delicious dish.  To help you navigate this new cuisine, we’ve prepared a few Signature Bowls to choose from as well as a few truly unique offerings like our gnarly Poke Nachos.


If you haven’t had a chance to try poke for yourself, come visit us at our Polaris and Downtown locations for the feast of a lifetime.  Stay tuned to our social media channels for chances to win free poke bowls and other prizes too!

See you soon, friends!