Aloha mai e nā makamaka heluhelu.
Nowadays the Poke Bowl is very fashionable, and the city of Barcelona (where we are proudly from) is no exception, we could almost say that there is a poke restaurant on every street in the city, well, maybe we are exaggerating a little. The point is that sometimes we tend to feed our bodies but not so usually the “manao” (mind in Hawaiian). Today we must say that poke is one of the most photographed and consumed dishes in the world.
Knowing the “raison d’être” of things, their origin and what prompted their existence is vital to understand our current world, poke is no exception to the aforementioned. We must start by telling you that the word poke, originally pok-ei, means “to chop or into small pieces”. This typical Hawaiian dish that native Hawaiians have consumed for centuries has been influenced by culinary crossroads since the island of Hawaii before becoming the 50th state of the United States of America was a port of call for Polynesian sailors, Portugal, Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines, however before this happened the island’s fishermen at the end of their day cut raw fish into pieces mixed with limu seaweed and sprinkled with inamona (toasted and chopped Kukui nuts). They complemented the cuts of the day’s catch with different foods from the area. A curious fact about the poke bowl is the Japanese influence in its expansion, since over time they have been adapting this traditional Hawaiian dish to their tastes and replacing its classic seasonings with soy sauce and sesame oil, it was also the Japanese who incorporated soft fish, sweet and sour, spicy, sweet flavors, as well as spices and other ingredients.
According to gastronomic historian Rachel Laudan, author of the book “Gastronomy and Empire: Cuisine in World History (2013)”, this dish began to become popular in the 1970s, but it was not until between 2015 and 2018 and thanks to the photos of the “influencers” that poke reached its peak of popularity on social networks, since then the poke bowl has not stopped expanding and reinventing itself, each time incorporating a variety of curious ingredients that add character and personality to a dish that in its genesis it was simple but delicious, what do you think the first native Hawaiians would say when they saw how much their culture and the dish they ate after working had expanded? Let us know in the comments.
Mahalo for reading,
A hiki i ka manawa aʻe