What is Poke? Poke Loa’s History of Poke in New Orleans

By Poke Loa April 1, 2019

Hawaii is known for its white sandy beaches, gorgeous volcanic mountains, and impressive surf breaks. But another popular draw to these beautiful islands is the unique and mouthwatering food scene that is full of delicious fresh seafood dishes. Of all the cuisine you can find when vacationing in this paradise, traditional poke is surely going to be one of the most memorable meals you’ll experience.


Poke, with its healthy and savory ingredients, has now become a popular dining option on the mainland. This dish is drawing New Orleans diners into Poke Loa where they find excitement in crafting their own colorful and delicious poke bowls. But what is poke? To learn more about where this tasty dish came from, we’ll dive back into Poke Loa’s history of poke in New Orleans.


What is Poke?

The word “poke” (pronounced poh-KAY), is the Hawaiian word meaning “to slice” or “cut crosswise into pieces.” The traditional poke dish was created with diced raw fish and served as an appetizer or a main course on the islands. Traditional forms served were “aku” (tuna) and “he’e” (octopus). One of the most popular variations is the “ahi poke,” which is usually made with yellowfin tuna. Many adaptations are made with various fish including raw salmon and shellfish, all tossed and served with delicious poke seasonings.


Traditional seasonings have been greatly influenced by Japanese and other Asian cultures. The original and most popular seasonings include soy sauce, green onions, and sesame oil. Other varieties of poke can include seaweed, chili peppers, sea salt, fish eggs, wasabi, octopus, shrimp, tofu, and avocado. While poke is traditionally served by itself, the ever-changing poke bowl now commonly contains white rice and leafy green vegetables as a base.


History of Poke

The original poke dish consisted of freshly caught fish on Hawaii’s shores that were mixed with sea salt, seaweed, and usually crushed kukui nuts for a tasty meal. When ships from the West came to trade, Chinese and Japanese influences were soon introduced to this traditional dish making soy sauce and sesame oil a common ingredient. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that the name “poke” was actually given to the dish. Ahi tuna had become more readily available during this time and its lovely pink hue made the dish far more aesthetically pleasing, drawing in more crowds ready to eat this culinary delight.


Poke in New Orleans: How Poke Loa Changed the New Orleans Food Landscape

Today, poke bowls can be found all across the country and around the world. At Poke Loa, the first poke restaurant in New Orleans and Louisiana, we bring the fresh flavors of the original Hawaiian recipes, while incorporating Asian and other cultural influences into every poke bowl.


Our fish is delivered fresh every single day, making sure our customers experience poke as if they were on the islands. The fish, vegetables, and toppings are chopped in-house and each of our sauces is made right here in New Orleans inspired by Hawaiian, Japanese, and American flavors. Our tasty New Orleans poke ingredients include tuna, shrimp, salmon, yellowtail, spicy tuna, octopus, and tofu. By using the freshest fish from local vendors and a wide selection of savory toppings, we know that Poke Loa offers the best poke in New Orleans. Here at Poke Loa, we focus on customization and encourage our customers to create their own healthy and flavorful bowl perfectly designed to suit their cravings.


Visit Poke Loa Today to Create Your Own Poke Bowl

We have five Poke Loa locations starting with our flagship location on Magazine Street. Our other locations include Old Metairie, Downtown CBD, Elmwood, and Baton Rouge. If you’re looking to experience the best poke in New Orleans, stop by one of our locations today and see why we have the freshest and tastiest poke bowls in the city!