Alicia’s Market, an unassuming family-owned market in Kalihi, is a favorite amongst locals – and with a reputation that has sparked a buzz amongst tourists, Alicia’s has become the go-to spot for seafood enthusiasts and lovers of this traditional Hawaiian dish. For first-timers, go for the ahi limu poke – a classic Hawaiian recipe of fresh ahi, crunchy ogo (seaweed), salty algae, and green onions; or kick it up a notch and opt for Da Ultimate Poke Bowl with spicy ahi, roasted pork, and steamed rice.
Alicia’s Market, 267 Mokauea St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 841 1921
Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering
Tanioka’s may not look like much from the outside, but this joint has been a veteran on the poke scene since the late 1970s. The go-to spot for ahi limu poke, Tanioka’s has expanded to include all kinds of variations (such as wasabi miso tako and spicy marlin); seafood enthusiasts can also get their hands on poke salads and fresh shellfish. For a unique spin on the traditional, go for the spicy ahi tempura bowl with eel sauce and masago mayo, and be sure to grab a musubi, a traditional Hawaiian snack, for the road.
At Tamashiro Market, poke is king. Along the back wall, find an impressive display of 30 different varieties, all made from the freshest, local fish – quality is never a concern. Plus, this seafood shop has been a reputable fish market and pioneer in the world of poke since the 1970s. Novices can sample things like spicy scallop poke, ginger shrimp poke, or seven different types of ahi before making a decision; the most fan favorite is the bento box, served with two kinds of poke (your choice), steamed rice, seaweed salad, and pickled ginger.
Tamashiro Market, 802 North King St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 841 8047
Just off the H2 in Mililani, find Poke Stop – a little, hidden treasure dishing out prime poke in a whole spectrum of flavors, including blackened ahi, sweet onion ahi, and creamy, spicy salmon. Go for the wasabi tako – raw octopus packing a punch – or the Cali bowl, creamy ahi served on a bed of steamed rice, with avocado, masago, and crispy wonton strips. Plus, first-timers can make their own poke bowl, or opt from a list of rotating hot items like burgers, Korean-style kalbi, or the tempura fried spicy poke roll.
Yama’s Fish Market
Yama’s Fish Market, a compact, deli-style shop in the heart of Moiliili, is where locals go for traditional Hawaiian plates (think kalua pig and lau lau), a star lineup of poke, and island sides – such as kimchi, musubi, and seaweed salad. Order from the counter, pick your poke (go for the spicy wasabi ahi poke or Maui-style tako), and be prepared to wait in line. With such a small space and minimal tables, Yama’s is best taken to-go, but don’t forget a house-made dessert.
Yama’s Fish Market, 2332 Young St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 941 9994
Da Poke Shack
Da Poke Shack has become a Hawaiian craze. Opening up shop in Kailua-Kona in an unpretentious tiny storefront below an apartment complex, this little joint has had such success that it has expanded to other locations, including Captain Cook and Honolulu. The original location, nestled just north of Pahoehoe Beach, is still a prime spot for first-class poke. Choose between a bowl (two choices of poke) or a plate (four choices of poke), pick your fish (the kimchi tako poke, creamy ahi poke, and dynamite poke with avocado aioli are recommended), and dig in. You won’t regret it.
Da Poke Shack, 76-6246 Alii Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI, USA, +1 808 329 7653