Poke (pronounced poh-kei, not poh-kuh or poh-kee) refers to a raw fish (usually tuna) salad, which originated from Hawaiian fishermen seasoning the cut-offs of their catch (poke means ‘to cut’ in Hawaiian) to make appetisers. Add rice and other toppings like seaweed, edamame, corn and other vegetables and it becomes a poke bowl, upgrading the appetiser into a hearty and nutritionally complete meal.
I’d been on a healthy kick and really wanted a quick, filling meal that didn’t guilt trip me about missed gym sessions after. A poke bowl seemed like just the thing, and when Paperfish opened in the TTDI neighbourhood late last year, I had to give it a try.
Each bowl costs around RM16 and their main proteins are raw salmon, raw tuna and pan-grilled shrimp. The proteins come in ‘traditional’, ‘spicy’ or ‘refreshing’ flavours – a choice between savoury Japanese shoyu sauce or sea salt, a spicy sauce (think Sriracha or cili padi) or a fruit-based concoction like pineapple or mango. For those not keen on raw fish, they can also bake the fish. If you go for their veggie-only Cado Bowl, you get loads of avocado instead!
I cannot recommend their Umami Shoyu Salmon bowl enough. The mix of fresh salmon, cherry tomatoes, edamame, Japanese cucumber and onions, paired with comforting brown rice, had me in love at first bite. You have to mix all the ingredients together to get a balanced mouthful, and I enjoyed the explosion of fresh flavours – and the fact that it was only 400 calories per bowl! You can upsize the bowl for another RM6.
While you can customise it with additional superfoods like chia seeds, almonds and even a sous-vide egg, I felt the existing balance was just right. It never got boring and even though finishing the hefty bowl proved a challenge, my body felt content and energised, like the way a car runs better on clean fuel. If you’re keen on poke or on trying it out, Paperfish has got to be on your list – it’s sure staying on mine now.
Address: 26, Jalan Datuk Sulaiman, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Telephone: 03-2385 0007