If you’re too tired to cook and completely uninterested in hitting up a greasy fast-food drive-thru, behold the healthy, fast, fresh, delicious alternative that is poke. If you haven’t met poke yet, let Grubby’s Poke & Fish Market handle the introduction with our most frequently asked questions:

What is poke?

Poke is a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, featuring chunks of raw, marinated fish. Think of it as a raw seafood salad. Yellowfin tuna is most widely used for poke, but octopus is also a traditional ingredient. As poke becomes more popular on the mainland, restaurants are integrating other types of fish including raw salmon and various shellfish. The traditional marinade is usually a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil and onion, although since popularity has grown, there are as many variations of poke marinade as poke toppings.

What is a poke bowl?

In Hawaii, poke bowls can be found everywhere from gas stations to high-end restaurants, and it’s not hard to see why: a poke bowl is a compact, highly nutritious meal featuring poke on a bed of rice or salad, surrounded with vegetables and umami-packed sauces. At Grubby’s Poke & Fish Market, building your personal poke bowl is a four-step process:

  • Choose your base: white rice, brown rice, mixed greens, cucumber noodles, or tortilla chips
  • Pick your protein: Ahi, spicy tuna, salmon, albacore, house smoked shrimp, organic tofu, torched octopus, local catch of the day, or house smoked catch
  • Select your sauce: poke sauce, spicy mayo, ginger ponzu, cucumber miso mayo, peanut sauce, eel sauce, or sugar-free basic batch
  • Try some toppings: avocado, krab, spicy krab, green onion, fried onion, fried garlic, wasabi, masago, furikake, egg, cucumber, seaweed salad, edamame, mango, pineapple, mandarin orange, and chicharrones

What is tuna/ahi poke?

All ahi is tuna, but not all tuna is ahi. Ahi is also known as yellowfin tuna. Yellowfin is more commonly available than bluefin but it’s just as tasty, and it has a stronger flavor than albacore tuna. Ahi is the most common type of fish used in poke, providing a delicious but not overpowering protein base for a range of sauces and toppings.

What is poke sauce?

Poke sauce is usually a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, a splash of citrus and a dash of pepper for heat, but like everything modern poke, it is endlessly customizable. At Grubby’s Poke & Fish Market, our house-made poke sauce comes in mild or spicy, and we also offer an array of alternative sauces like spicy mayo, ginger ponzu, and eel sauce.

Are poke bowls healthy?

Poke bowls are an inherently healthy meal option, especially compared to other quick-service establishments. Sushi-grade fish that’s marinated instead of fried provides all the health benefits of fish, like brain-boosting Omega-3 oils, without the extra fat you get with frying. Plus, the incredible variety of vegetable toppings available with Grubby’s poke bowls means you can get more than your daily veggie servings in one meal.

View More On: Vegan + Vegetarian Poke Options

How many calories are in a poke bowl?

Poke bowls are a great way to eat fast and healthy, but like all customizable meals, the calorie count will vary depending on which ingredients you choose. A basic poke bowl with white or brown rice topped with ahi, poke sauce and veggies will run about 700 calories or fewer.

If you substitute cucumber noodles for rice and choose tofu, ginger ponzu sauce and veggies, the calorie count will be much lower, around 350 calories. If you’re not watching your waistline, you can choose tortilla chips, salmon, spicy mayo, onion crisps and avocado, and bring that calorie count up to 985, which is still lower than a single cheeseburger.

View More On: Average Amount of Calories in a Poke Bowl

What is a poke bar?

A poke bar is just another name for a poke restaurant that specializes in customizable poke bowls. It doesn’t necessarily mean a bar that serves cocktails and poke, but we will note that Grubby’s Poke serves a selection of beer, wine, and sake to enjoy with your poke bowl.

How do you eat poke?

The short answer: with your mouth. The long answer: with rice, sauce, and vegetables in a bowl, in whatever combination makes you happiest. As for utensils, you can use either chopsticks or a fork, whichever floats your boat.

How do you pronounce poke?

In the Hawaiian language, you pronounce every syllable of every word, so poke is pronounced “poh-kay” (like “okay”), not “poki” or “poke” (like the verb). The friendly folks at Grubby’s won’t blink if you pronounce it incorrectly.

What does poke mean?

The word “poke” in Hawaiian means “to slice or cut into pieces,” referring to the fish in poke bowls that are cut into uniform, bite-size chunks.

Where did poke originate?

Poke originated in Hawaii, but not in the kitchen of some fancy restaurant. The dish’s history goes back decades, when fishermen would catch smaller reef fish, slice them into chunks, and serve them raw and seasoned with on-hand condiments like sea salt, seaweed, and a brown algae called limu.

What is the best poke in San Diego?

Don’t just take our word for it—the good people of San Diego voted Grubby’s Poke & Fish Market the two-time winner of “Best Poke in San Diego” in 2018 and 2019, according to San Diego CityBeat. Located in Carlsbad with the Pacific Ocean as our close neighbor, you can be sure you’re getting the freshest fish and other poke bowl ingredients at Grubby’s Poke.

In fact, if you love to cook and are looking for a way to expand your repertoire, you can buy sushi-grade fish at our fish market to make your own poke bowl at home.

View More On: Sushi Grade Fish

The best poke in San Diego, Carlsbad, and beyond!

It’s not hard to understand why poke bowls are rising in popularity across the mainland U.S., and you can’t beat poke from a restaurant close to the ocean. Grubby’s Poke & Fish Market offers delicious meals in a friendly atmosphere, so keep your own kitchen clean, ignore the call of the drive-thru, and try a healthy poke bowl instead.