Poké bowl trend finally arrives . . . with delicious results
Shaka Poké Dublin’s take on the Hawaiian staple is tasty and healthy - just right for now
At the beginning of this year, food writers rounded up the culinary trends that they thought would sweep our local food scene, and 2017 looked set to be the year of the Irish poké bowl.
This raw fish salad is a traditional dish of the indigenous culture of the Hawaiian islands. Its most classic form is simply chunks of raw fish marinated in an ahi or shoyu sauce served atop a bowl of hot rice.
Although poké bowls had crossed the sea from Hawaii to the US as early as the 1970s according to food historian Lucy Long in her book Culinary Tourism (1998), the last five years has seen a swell in its popularity and appropriation across the mainland states. A 2016 article on Eater by Vince Dixon took a dive into poké data, citing the Foursquare study that from 2014 the number of Hawaiian restaurants on the site, including those that serve poke, went from 342 to 700 in just 18 months. At the start of the summer, Niall Sabongi opened Klaw Poké on Capel Street in Dublin and even before that, back in 2016, the Fumbally Cafe in Dublin 8 was doing poké bowls as a special.
It’s heartier than ceviche, and more substantial than fish carpaccio. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that its popularity has coincided with the growth of Instagram, seeing as it is such an aesthetically pleasing dish. The poké that has reached us has picked up a few culinary quirks along the way, such as the addition of edamame beans, pomegranate seeds and lush avocados, as the traditional base of fish and rice lends itself well to interpretation.
Poké is also ideal for quick and fuss-free assembly, and Shaka Poké Dublin are taking advantage of its versatility. This market stall was launched by Jamie Haughton and Dave McParland in May of this year. The pair were travelling around the US together and came across poké for the first time in LA in late 2016. After a research trip to London, they decided a market stall was the way to go. “Even before I had tasted it, I thought the concept would work really well in Dublin, because it’s so quick to build up a bowl and it looks so good,” Haughton says. “Once I had a taste, I was sold.”
I get a taste of their poké bowl at The Beatyard, a Dublin city music festival in Dún Laoghaire Harbour. A bowl of the Classic Shaka (€9 for a medium, and €12 for a large) goes a long way in sustaining my festival activities, as it’s packed with the goodness of edamame, sliced of sweet pineapple, delicious shredded seaweed salad, fried shallots and a Shaka flair of pomegranate, fresh coriander and hot chilli slices. The fish is raw tuna, which they source from Wrights in Howth. Their fruit is from a market trader in the People’s Park called Tutti Frutti, and they source other ingredients such as the seaweed salad and gluten-free soy sauce from the Asia Market on Drury Street in Dublin’s city centre.
They are currently working on an online delivery service, and the duo are available for private hire for corporate events, weddings and big parties. They’re on the lookout for the right retail space to give Shaka Poké Dublin a permanent home. They can be found at the Irish Village Markets on Thursdays in Fitzwilliam Square, on Fridays in Sandyford and on Sundays at People’s Park in Dublin.
Shaka Poké Dublin
Thursdays: Fitzwilliam Square 11.30am-2.30pm
Fridays: Sandyford 11.30am-2.30pm
Sundays: People’s Park 11am-4pm