Texas has its barbecue, Maryland its blue crabs. Kentucky, we well know, has its bourbon. What some might not know, but are quickly learning, is that the 50th state in this union has its own rich and distinct food culture – a cuisine that’s becoming much more mainstream here on the mainland.
Poke (pronounced po-kay), a Hawaiian staple, is touted by restaurant industry insiders and trend forecasters as the most popular fast-casual food of the moment. Poke is sliced fish, usually raw tuna, marinated with some variation of sesame oil, soy sauce or hot sauce and served over a bowl of rice or greens. Think of it as sushi, deconstructed.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you will. The National Restaurant association puts poke at the very top of its list of trends that are heating up in 2017. As many as 300 Hawaiian restaurants have opened in just the last 24 months, according to Bloomberg news.