How do you feel about a Hawaiian-style restaurant that has vegan options to cater to your needs? Sounds exciting, right?
I love Hawaiian dishes too. Its vegan options are as common as the regular ones, and it’s definitely worth your time and budget.
At Poke Bros, you have all the options for whatever diet you’re following. Vegetarian, pescatarian, keto, paleo, vegan, you name it. And although it involves fish, Poke Bros got your back when it comes to your vegan diet with its fresh veggies and sauces.
If you’re here looking for vegan-friendly Hawaiian dishes, this article will help you find the best ones that fit your lifestyle. Let’s dig in!
Poke Bros, Bringing The Hawaiian Roots In Style
Sometime in 2016, the founders of Poke Bros were introduced to Hawaiian cuisine in California and decided to take its delicious and distinct taste to the midwest.
After extensive research as well as trial and error, the founders finally developed their own poke bowl that’s not only delicious but also affordable. Their first “Sushi in a Bowl” was born made with fresh ingredients that stick to the Hawaiian roots.
From there, Poke Bros quickly expanded in multiple states and now with more than 60 locations, and still counting. States include Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Poke Bros also offers online orders via its website with pick-up and delivery options.
What Is A Poke Bowl?
The term “poke” in Hawaiian means “to slice or to cut crosswise into pieces.” This is often referred to as a classic Hawaiian dish made with diced raw fish. This native Hawaiian dish is different from other raw fish dishes because it doesn’t use any citrus fruits as its curing agent.
The traditional poke dish is commonly fish or octopus. Fish is being skinned, gutted, deboned, and mixed with ingredients. The most common ingredients used are Hawaiian sea salt, seaweed, limu, and candlenut.
The modern poke dish is now called a poke bowl with ingredients being grouped instead of being mixed like the traditional one. Ingredients include the following:
- ponzu sauce
- teriyaki sauce
- crispy onions
- pickled jalapeño
- sriracha sauce
The contemporary style is not pre-marinated but instead made with sauces that are usually made by the restaurants themselves. Most spots that offer poke bowls have both traditional and modern styles that are customizable from the base like the kind of fish to the kind of sauce or marinade, and other ingredients.
Poke might be a Hawaiian dish, but it has deep influences from Asian cuisine, especially Japanese when it comes to its ingredients. The most widely used ingredients are soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onions. Some would involve the famous Japanese condiment furikake, which is a mix of dried seaweed and fish, and sesame seeds.
Other known ingredients that are inspired by Asian cuisine include candlenut, seaweed, sea salt, wasabi, fish eggs, as well as Maui onions. For protein, most restaurants would use raw tuna, salmon, octopus, and other shellfishes.
Other countries have also been inspired by this Hawaiian dish, including the Philippines called “kinilaw” and “poqui poqui.” In Europe, similar styles of poke are also called “fish tartare” and “fish carpaccio.”
In Korea, another similar dish is called “hoe-deopbap,” and in Peru, it’s called “ceviche.” In Japan, there are several dishes that are similar to poke, including its famous “sashimi, zuke don or donburi, and kaisendon.”
Poke can either be a starter or a main dish.
In San Diego, California, there is a three-day annual poke festival titled I Love Poke to celebrate the Hawaiian dish and its other variations.
Poke Bros Vegan-Friendly Options
Poke Bros specializes in a poke bowl, but the restaurant prides itself in offering all types of diets that people follow. Veganism, for instance, has a special option from Poke Bros. Of course, fish isn’t part of it, especially since we, vegans, don’t include fish or other seafood in our diet.
So, if you get to rub shoulders with Poke Bros in one of its locations, check these vegan options that you can have when you dine in.
- White Rice
- Brown Rice
- Veggie Salad
- Half white rice, half brown rice
- Veggie Salad
- Sweet Onion
- Green Onion
- OG Sauce
- Toppings. You will have to check with Poke Bros about how these toppings are made to ensure that they don’t include dairy or other animal byproducts.
- Sesame Seeds
- Crispy Onion
- Crushed Cashew Nuts
- Toasted Coconut
- Seaweed Salad. Ask the staff not to include any animal byproducts. Seaweed is safe for vegans.
Healthy Vegan Poke Bowl
Although the traditional poke dish includes raw fish as its base, modern versions have now emerged that also cater to hungry vegans. When it comes to protein, the most common base used is tofu, which is made tender enough to mimic the raw fish.
So, if you’re curious enough about how to make a vegan poke bowl, you can refer to these ingredients below. Trust me, it’s worth your time. Plus, it’s a healthier option and very easy to make.
What you need:
- Organic Tofu
- Rice Vinegar
- Sesame Oil
- Sambal Oelek (chili paste or sauce)
- Sweet Onion
- Red Cabbage
- Sesame Seeds
- Lime Wedges
- Cooked Rice (Quinoa, Brown, White, or Cilantro Lime Rice)
- Any vegan sauce of your choosing
What to do:
- Drain the tofu and soak it up using paper towels. Dice it into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, sambal, ginger, garlic, and sweet onions in a medium bowl. Toss the tofu in and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Now, it’s time to assemble your other ingredients in the bowl.
- Serve and enjoy!
If you’re curious about how many calories and sodium you get from this recipe, it’s quite heavy, especially since it involves rice and tofu. On the plus side, the vitamins and minerals are worth the try. And it’s still healthier than the traditional poke bowl.
- Calories. 600 of the Daily Value (DV)
- Total Fat. 26%
- Sodium. 1422.5 mg
- Total Carbs. 31%
- Protein. 45%
- Vitamin A. 2%
- Vitamin C. 18%
- Calcium. 41%
- Potassium. 20%
- Phosphorus. 37%
- Riboflavin (B2). 20%
- Vitamin B6. 50%
- Vitamin E. 10%
- Iron. 56%
- Magnesium. 51%
- Zinc. 33%
- Thiamin (B1). 49%
- Niacin (B3). 42%
- Folic Acid (B9). 28%
- Vitamin K. 60%
The USDA recommends limiting your intake of calories to 2,000 and sodium to 2,300 mg per day. If you notice, the sodium content for this vegan poke bowl recipe is over 1,400 mg, which is quite high for one meal.
To keep things healthy for you, consider toning down the sodium and calories of your other meals for the day. That is, at least, to balance your intake to avoid any adverse health effects in the future.
According to research, excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, stomach cancer, heart disease, bloating, and intense thirst. So, try not to go over the recommended value of sodium intake to keep any risky if not fatal health issues.
Top 10 Poke Bowl Restaurants In The US
Thinking about authentic Poke Bowl would make you take a trip to Hawaii, but really, you don’t need to. Apart from Poke Bros, there are many poke bowl restaurants in the U.S. that don’t only offer authentic poke but also give you vegan-friendly alternatives.
Here are the top 10 poke bowl restaurants that you can dine in with vegan-friendly options.
- Mainland Poke in Los Angeles
- Täkō in Pittsburgh
- Noreetuh in New York City
- Sweetfin Poké in Santa Monica
- Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco
- Mister Tuna in Denver
- Aloha Poké Co in Chicago
- Prime Fish in Miami
- Hanjip in Culver City, CA
- The Honey Paw in Portland, ME
There are still several poke bowl restaurants around the U.S., but the spots above are just among the best ones you can count on when it comes to authentic Hawaiian poke recipes.
The Bottom Line
Poke Bros specializes in an authentic poke with its signature sushi bowl that has become a staple in everyone’s diet. However, it’s not a vegan poke bowl restaurant although it offers several vegan-friendly options for you to choose from.
There’s also another poke bowl restaurant named Poke Bar that offers vegan alternatives. We’ve discussed this poke spot in this article if you want to know more.
To ensure that you’re having a vegan poke bowl, always ask the staff for options. Usually, they have many veggie toppings that you can try as well as the base. For sauces, poke restaurants like Poke Bros would give you vegan options.
Lastly, pile up on more fiber-rich veggie toppings, especially those that are rich in flavonoids to balance your diet. This is due to the vegan poke bowl’s high sodium content as well as calories that we should also be mindful of. Enjoy!