Haven’t heard of the poke bowl food trend? Well, first off, it’s not a bowl of Pikachus and Bulbasaurs, even though it’s also pronounced ‘poh-kay’ like ‘Pokemon’. Poke in this context actually refers to a method of preparing and seasoning raw fish, popularised by Hawaiian fishermen for snacktime. Add to that a base, vegetables and sauces and you have yourself a delicious yet nutritious poke bowl!
The first poke bowl outlet landed in Malaysia in late 2016; shortly after, a whole host of poke places mushroomed up across the Klang Valley. Here are seven of our favourites.
This TTDI poke bowl place won the Tiffin Throwdown: Battle of The Poke Bowls at Urbanscapes 2017 – an impressive feat for not even being a year old. The traditional protein in poke is tuna, but every time I'm at Paperfish, I make a beeline for the Umami Shoyu Salmon bowl. I love the fresh salmon marinated in the secret sauce with the cherry tomatoes, edamame, Japanese cucumber and onions on brown rice, my base of choice. I never get tired of the fresh flavours and everything is well-portioned. Read the full review here.
26, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail,
Tel: 03-2385 0007
Photo: Bryan Ong
Fin @ The Row
Perched outside Baskin Robbins at Publika, this pop-up style poke bowl bar offers build-your-own-poke bowls for RM15 or three signatures – their most popular is the Moana with salmon, togarashi (chilli) egg, edamame, sweetcorn, purple cabbage, seaweed, roasted sesame mayo and wasabi peas on cold sushi rice. It’s great for those who like clean, refreshing flavours. They believe the secret to a good poke bowl lies in the sauce!
Lot 52, Art Row,
Publika Shopping Gallery,
1 Jalan Dutamas 1, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 012-780 0270
The Fish Bowl
The pioneer of premium poke bowls in the country, The Fish Bowl introduced us to the glory of poke in late 2016 and has continued to expand since. The hearty bowls are surprisingly easy to finish - a standard build-your-own-bowl at RM17 will have a base, four sides, at least one protein, a sauce or two and unlimited toppings. Their signature ‘Shoyu The Way’ stays closest to the real Hawaiian deal with a mango twist that we love. Now available in 1 Utama Shopping Centre too!
77, Jalan PJS 11/19, Bandar Sunway,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Photo: Bryan Ong
Strictly speaking, Rubberduck isn’t a poke place, but the Poke Bowl at RM22 has been one of its most Instagrammed dishes and it tastes as good as it looks. It’s less fuss than most other poke bowls with just marinated salmon sashimi, sesame cucumber salad and purple cabbage on a brown rice bed. The unusual addition of coriander may be a polarising factor but I love its distinct flavour as it enhances the fresh taste of the other elements.
K-0-8N, Ground Floor, Plaza Damas,
60 Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Kuala Lumpur
Kurin’s colourful poke presentations focus on healthy, clean eating, meaning you won’t sacrifice taste for nutrition. You can get salmon, tuna, teriyaki chicken and tofu atop Japanese short grain or brown rice, paired with a changing assortment of vegetables. If you’re always on the move, get it in pokeritto form (burrito style) for easy eating! Prices range from RM10 (tofu) to RM20 (salmon). They deliver to KL city centre, Bangsar, and TTDI around 11am to 2pm, but their brick-and-mortar outlet is set to open in NU Sentral tentatively in mid-August.
Photo: Poke Bear
If you frequent Sunway Pyramid, head to LG1 in the Blue Atrium for your poke fix at Poke Bear, one of the newest poke places to open up in Malaysia. Interestingly, you can have your poke here either in a bowl or in a wrap! Customise your bowl or wrap with all the usual suspects, or choose from one of four in-house creations – the Gym Junkie is a monster poke feast at RM27 with salmon, tuna and shrimp, while The Vegan Supreme is an all-veggie option at RM16.
LG1.110A, Lower Ground Floor 1, Blue Atrium,
Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall,
3 Jalan PJS11/15, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7494 0257
Photo: Eatomo Food Company
Eatomo Food Company
The key to good poke is fresh fish, and Eatomo Food Co, which styles itself like a seafood market kitchen, is all about the freshness. Even though they only have two poke bowls, they’ve earned rave reviews among the poke fans and the California Poke Bowl in particular is worth a try. Think salmon, tuna, butterfish and octopus in poke marinade along with guacamole, crab salad, masago (capelin roe), and spicy mayo on a bed of Calrose rice, all for RM19.90. Hungry yet?
11-1-1 Jalan 3/109F,
Taman Danau Desa, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2303 1608
Check out some of the special poke bowl creations from the Tiffin Throwdown by some of these poke outlets below!