WHAT IS this colorful bowl, filled to the brim with fresh, tasty ingredients you ask? Well, it is a Poké bowl! And if that doesn’t clarify things for you, EAT POKÉ HKI manager Jaden is happy to explain the correct pronunciation, the origins and how to build the perfect Poké bowl.
“It is actually pronounced ‘poʊˈkeɪ’, and it originates from Hawaii. The dish is however heavily influenced by Asian flavours like soy sauce, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, fresh chili, cilantro, and garlic,” explains Jaden while we are sitting at a cozy window table in the new EAT POKÉ HKI location on the second floor of Aikatalo.
Poké is a raw fish salad, and in Hawaii the traditional main toppings include fatty tuna and octopus, sliced and cut into cubes.
In Finland, at EAT POKÉ HKI, different variations of salmon are king. A choice of main toppings like one of the salmon options (raw with different seasonings, smoked or baked), tiger prawns, tofu, avocado, octopus or squid are combined with salad or rice and veggies, and then different sauces, sesame seeds, fresh chili and the likes can be added as well.
Jaden speaks passionately about Poké bowls and how to build a great one: “First, take the bowl and add a bed of rice, salad or both. Add soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds or dried seaweed to flavor the rice with. Then you add your veggies, and on top of that the main toppings of your choice. To finish of the bowl, you add the sauces and then extra toppings like fresh chili, cilantro, spring onion.”
By now it should be clear that Poké bowls are a very tasty, nutritious and at the same time healthy meal that is low in oils and carbs. This is also why Jaden wanted to bring these bowls of goodness to Finland and opened the first Poké bowl focused restaurant in Helsinki on the first floor of Aikatalo at Mikonkatu 8 at the end of 2016. Since then, people have come from near and far in Helsinki for a delicious meal, quickly filling up the small place. But since a few weeks, EAT POKÉ HKI can seat more hungry lunchers and diners as they opened a second, more spacious location that seats up to 40 just upstairs of the first one on the second floor of Aikatalo. So, from now on, there is more room and more time to enjoy your Poké bowl as the second floor restaurant also has longer opening hours.
The concept remains the same: During lunch (11.00-15.00) you can build your own Poké bowl from the buffet and choose two of the over 10 different main topping options. Miso soup, coffee and tea are also included in the price, starting at 10€. Outside of lunch hours, diners can order off the menu - the prices start at 13€ - and get served a not only delicious but also gorgeous looking Poké bowl.
“A favorite of many customers and myself is the bowl where you can combine two different main toppings, for example raw salmon in Shoyu sauce as well as the one in spicy creamy sauce,” says Jaden. There is also a bowl where you can literally have all the toppings - perfect to share with a friend. And do not worry if EAT POKÉ HKI is not just around the corner for you yet, keep an eye on their Facebook page for information on new locations opening during this year.
EAT POKÉ HKI
Mikonkatu 8, Aikatalo (1st and 2nd floor, different opening hours)
tel. 044 9883299
TEXT: NINA RATAVAARA
PHOTOS: JARMO SIIRA