October 30, 2015
First off, it’s pronounced poh-kay. Secondly, it’s a dish from Hawaii that we think is on the brink of becoming the next food trend. The word “poké” in Hawaiian means to slice or cut, and the dish most commonly comes in the form of a fish salad, with raw tuna chunks mixed in with various other fresh ingredients.
It’s possible to find poké in certain eateries in Singapore, but it was always a quiet addition to the menu. But poké has been a dish that’s quickly gaining traction on social media – with all the colourful ingredients, it is a photogenic dish after all, and you’ve probably liked a friend or two’s poké photo on Instagram (a recently popular destination is Hong Kong’s Pololi, also the city’s first Hawaiian poké bar).
Now, Singapore finally has a poké bar to call our own. Aloha Poké opened its doors on Amoy Street early in October, after two couples from the banking industry fell in love with it during a trip to Hawaii, and decided to bring it to Singapore’s shores as their first F&B venture. The kitchen is headed by Chef Michael Yonathan, a trained sushi chef previously from Capella Singapore.
How it works at Aloha Poké is this: You choose from three different sized bowls, starting from the Lil’ Swell (1 scoop of poké, 75g, for $11.90), to the Standard Nalu (2 scoops of poké, $15.90), and going up to the Big Kahuna (3 scoops, $19.90). While traditional Hawaiian poké uses mainly tuna, Aloha Poké has cleverly catered to local tastes and included salmon and vegetarian options. Choose a spicy or wasabi mayo sauce for the fish (the vegetarian tofu option comes in a nutty sesame sauce), or have it in an Original sauce.
Other add-ons include a base of white rice, brown rice, salad or kale, and fresh or crunchy toppings in the form of vegetables, fruits, fish roe and nuts. You even get 1 superfood added for free – avocado, chia seeds, pomegranate or quail’s egg.
If you’re not in the mood to make decisions, just get a ready-made Standard Nalu Tuna or Nalu Salmon bowl. Wash it all down with the mix of beverage options, including Cocoloco coconut water and Kona Beer imported straight from Hawaii (we went for both).
Why we think poké is the next big thing: it combines Singaporeans’ love for quality raw fish, and the general obsession with healthy meals that come in a portable bowl. This is the kind of healthy lunch you can have without feeling hunger pangs by 4pm – we had the Standard Nalu, and 150g of poké is definitely filling. But for the big eaters, no worries – it’s possible to get a customised bowl with 4 scoops of poké (that’s a whopping 300g), if you ask.
It’s not just a lunch destination, as it’s open for evening drinks and snacks from 5pm till late, Monday to Saturday. Chug a few ciders and Hawaiian beers after work, when there’ll be Hawaiian bar snacks on the menu. And for those who don’t work in the CBD, Aloha Poké is thankfully open for lunch on Saturdays as well. The owners are definitely looking to expand in the coming months, so it looks like poké is set to become more commonplace in Singapore, and we’re glad.
Aloha Poké, 92 Amoy St. Open Mondays to Saturdays for lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm, and for evening drinks and snacks from 5pm till late. Closed on Sundays. Call 6221 6565 for enquiries. alohapoke.com.sg