One of the delicious treats we eat as soon as we land in Maui is some fresh island style poke.
I wrote the following in a recent blog post about Local Style Foods;
Poke – It’s not sushi, it’s poke. And it’s pronounced PO-keh! Many pronounce it like ‘Pokey’ as in ‘Do the Hokey Pokey‘ but the sure-fire way to blend in while traveling in Hawai’i is to pronounce it correctly. Most often Poke is made from Ahi (yellowfin tuna), shoyu sauce (we say shoyu in Hawai’i, the mainland says ‘Soy Sauce’), onions, and any number of other flavors like sesame oil, avocado, seaweed, oyster sauce, Sriracha and more.
Our favorite ‘weekday‘ Poke comes from Foodland grocery store in Kihei. What do I mean by ‘weekday’? Think of it like ‘weekday wine’ – perfect for every day and we have our favorites. But don’t compare to high-end restaurants or a $200 bottles of wine. Still, Foodland wins every time for us.
If you’re not sure if you like poke or not sure what flavor you love best, just politely ask for a free sample to try. A close runner up for offering great poke is Tamura’s which is a local liquor store/deli that can be found in 4 locations on Maui with one being located on Dairy road just after you leave the Kahului Airport! Perfect stop for when you’ve just gotten off the plane and you’re starving because the airplane food was yuck!
But for today, I’ll focus on the poke from Foodland. Generally speaking, there are dozens of flavors to try. Most are ahi based and others a little more ‘exotic’ such as muscles and taco (octopus).
The word “poke” comes from the Hawaiian word for “to slice or cut.” The main ingredient can be anything from ahi to tako to shellfish.
For the ahi variety you can try ‘California Roll’ with tobiko and avocado or ‘Spicy’ with a Sri Racha based sauce, another favorite is the ‘Wasabi-Oyster Sauce’. There is the more basic ‘Shoyu’ sauce, or Poke Avocado. I tend to gravitate to the spicy or oyster sauce variety and often order a 1/2 pint container with a mix of both.
Perhaps you’re not sure if you like poke (trust me, if you like seared ahi, sashimi or sushi, you’ll love poke) – no worries, just ask for a sample or two. The gal that works the counter at the Kihei Foodland wears a perpetual smile and is always so pleasant – offering up samples.
Feeling brave and ready to try out some real island flavors? Why not sample the pickled garlic, kimchee cucumber, or other island specialties.
For our guests staying at our condo, we offer a local’s ‘Maika’i Savings Card’, attached to the house keyring. Be sure to take it along on your grocery trips to save money on in-store specials like their delicious poke.
Foodland is easy to find, it’s located on South Kihei Road, across from Kalama Park (the park with the giant whale out front) and just a few minutes drive or a good half-hour walk (each way) from our condo – Once inside the store, the Poke counter is located in the back right.
Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,
come on over and visit our Local Maui Guide or Maui Events Calendar!
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