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When a Food Trend Gets Personal: Poke

The poke bowl… Growing up it was what Papa brought home from the grocery store to have for lunch while we watched college football bowl games around Christmas time. Papa is what we call our grandfather on my mother’s side. My grandparents live in Hawaii and poke has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. Now it’s the latest food trend, with restaurants popping up all over the DFW area.

If you have a phobia of raw fish or live under a rock, poke is chunks of raw fish (usually ahi tuna) marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil. The modern poke bowl joint serves poke on a bed of rice and whatever else you want in there: marinated cucumbers, edamame, ginger, etc. I’m basing most of what I say off of Malibu Poke. It’s delicious. You order on touch screens. The options are overwhelming in a good way. For me, poke is best served in plastic containers from the grocery store and eaten in the comfort of a home. Everyone passes tubs around while we shout at the TV. But I can’t complain that the best way for me to get poke in Dallas is to punch my order on a touch screen surrounded by pastel walls. You know why? It’s the only way I can eat poke.

That’s the interesting thing about food trends. They aren’t trends for everybody. Every trend originated from somewhere. Poke came from Hawaii. I’m certainly not the first person to deal with this kind of ideological transition when it comes to cuisine. So, this post is for all of us. It’s like knowing about a band in junior high and that same band becoming a HUGE deal in high school. “I started listening to them before you even knew they existed.” That’s me and poke. And it’s you and some other food. We can choose to be bitter, or we can be excited that it’s made it out of wherever it’s from – even if it’s taken a couple hits along the way. Let’s be excited.

But know this, Dallas: I was eating poke before you were.

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