”Aloha!” Judging from the queue outside Aloha Poké (pronounced “Poh-Kay”) at Marina Bay Link Mall, many CBD workers have a penchant for this Hawaiian style staple.
Poké bowls have swept across the US a few years back as another food trend. At least a healthier one. And the ‘traditional’ Poké bowls comprise of seasoned Ahi (Tuna) tossed with toasted sesame seeds, sweet onions and scallions.
This outlet at Marina Bay Link Mallis the second after Amoy Street, opened by these two couples who first brought the concept to Singapore after getting inspired in Hawaii.
The kitchen is helmed by Chef Michael Yonathan, a trained sushi chef who was previously from Capella.
There are three standard sizes of Poké bowls – the Lil’ Swell ($11.90) that comes with 1 scoop of 75g Poké, Standard Nalu ($15.90) with 2 scoops of 150g Poke and Big Kahuna ($19.90) with 3 scoops of 225g Poké.
As for the poké, you can pick either Raw Ahi Tuna or Raw Salmon in three different flavours – original, wasabi mayo or spicy. Sometimes there are seasonal specials.
A three scoops order will allow you to pick up to 3 flavours of poké.
Complete your poké bowl with a base of white rice, brown rice, a mix of both, or salad only, followed by two complimentary add-ons and one complimentary superfood.
Add ons include jalapenos, flying fish roe, quail eggs, walnuts and edamame. There is also a changing “seasonal item” which will be reflected on the board. I saw dragonfruit the last time.
As to what the appeal to a Poké bowl is, it is probably the perception that this is health food with more taste.
There are contrastingly many salads places within Singapore’s CBD, and many experience long snaking queues during lunch time. With the exception of a handful, most are predictable and sell the usual salads, rice bowls and wraps.
Yeah, can be boring, can be bland.
The Poké is like chirashi don with salad. The marinate makes the ahi tuna or salmon more flavoursome.
It can contain raw and cooked ingredients; it can be hot and cold; it can be plain (when you customise) or packed with flavours (from the spiciness or wasabi mayonnaise).
There are rice (white, brown or mix), greens, and fish, giving perception of carbs, proteins and other nutrients all at once.
You can always customise a bowl to your liking. If in doubt, get the Standard Nalu Salmon ($15.90) which contains chunky cubes of salmon with zesty sweet fruits such as mangoes, served on crunchy lettuce over a bed of rice.
I ordered a Spicy version before, and its fieriness kicked almost every bite. Can be satisfying, but may be distracting for those who enjoy simple plainness in your healthy lunch.
(Talking about ‘healthy’, overheard another female customer who wanted to customise a bowl with no carbs, no fatty dressing, no sour-anything, no fruits, no spicy… Well, maybe buying the greens direct the supermarket is a better option.)