Best Poke On Kauai

Best Poke On Kauai


Hawaii's own Chef Sam Choy is heading to the Garden Isle's South Shore for the 4th annual Kauai Poke Fest. The main event takes place on Saturday, June 8th at the Koloa Landing Resort. For those new to poke, here is a quick tutorial and history of the iconic Hawaii dish.

Poke (rhymes with okay) means to cut or cube. Generally made with tuna, poke is marinated in a light glaze of soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of onion. But it can be taken so many different, flavorful directions. Variations of the original are available at poke shops and grocery stores across Hawai'i. Outside of ahi, proteins such as octopus (tako) and tofu are two common options. Once you dip your toes beyond the traditional shoyu (soy sauce) glaze, there is an entire world of profiles that may include wasabi, mayonnaise, siracha, ginger and garlic just to get you started. 

Pacific Islanders were enjoying the flavors of poke centuries before Western travelers arrived on the islands. Food historians believe that initially, it was made with reef fish, seasoned with salt, seaweed, and crushed candlenut, a relative of the modern macadamia nut. 

Today, Hawai'i's beloved poke may be enjoyed well beyond the confines of the Pacific Ocean. This simple dish with clean flavors is appreciated by a large, global following, many who have yet to visit the island chain. While some may see the dish as a fad, it's an important part of the lifestyle here in Hawai'i. It is served everywhere from beachside picnics to luxury weddings.

If you’re craving poke while on your Kauaʻi vacation, here are a few spots you may want to check out:

  1. Leong's: With 3 locations this is an easy place to try. Kapaa is home to both Leong's Meat House and Leong's Road House. The Shops at Kukuiula in Poipu host Leong's Market and Grill. What we believe sets Leong's poke apart from others is not only the flavor and freshness, but the incredibly cold temperature. It is quite noticeable and has been mentioned as a plus by others who feel it is a cut above. 
  2. Princeville Foodland: Owned by The Sullivan Family of Companies, Foodland is Hawaii's largest locally owned grocery retailer. Their 20 varieties of poke are made fresh daily and is beloved by locals. It is always fresh and convenient. 

  3. Hanalei Dolphin Fish Market: Hidden behind the Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant is the entrance to their tiny Fish Market. The closet-sized space often has a line ten deep out the door. And for a good reason... They have some of the freshest fish on the north shore. With a direct line to our local fisherman, you are guaranteed the poke you're enjoying while watching the Hanalei sunset was swimming in the same waters just a day or so before. 

  4. Konohiki Seafoods: This iconic gem is part of a strip mall in the small village of Hanamaulu. With only one stoplight, pay attention, because you may fly through town before seeing the fish skeleton logo. It's best to look for the laundromat sign since it is much larger and next door to Konohiki Seafoods. This place is tiny, but packs a huge local, culinary punch. Waiting in line provides an opportunity to take in the menu and stacks of tasty grab-and-go items on the table. The flavors of Konohiki's poke are hard to beat. Try the Spicy's da bomb!

  5. Lawai'a Fish Co.: Deep in the Lihue Industrial Phase 1 commercial zone you will discover family owned and operated, Lawai'a Fish Co. You know it's a good spot when the parking lot is filled with contractor trucks at lunch hour. The prices are some of the best on the island, the fish is incredibly fresh, and the flavors are exceptional. This is where we source the ahi for our Friday Poke Class

Want to learn how to make Poke at home? Each Friday Cooking Kauai teaches their visitor favorite, Corner Store Cooking Class. This class features the dishes locals enjoy regularly. The menu includes Spam Musubi, Somen Salad, Ahi Poke 2 Ways, and Butter Mochi. Join us for 3 hours of cooking and stories. In the end, everyone enjoys an incredible meal!

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