A Guide to the Best Poke in Hawaii

Discover the best poke spots in Hawaii and indulge in this traditional Hawaiian delicacy featuring marinated ahi tuna served over rice or greens. From local markets to hidden gems, explore the thriving poke scene and satisfy your cravings.

A Guide to the Best Poke in Hawaii

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Hawaii is renowned for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. One dish that stands out among the rest is poke. This traditional Hawaiian delicacy features marinated ahi tuna served over rice or greens, and it has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. If you're planning a trip to the islands, be sure to explore the thriving poke scene and discover the best spots to indulge in this delectable dish.

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The Delightful World of Poke

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Poke, which means "to cut" in Hawaiian, primarily consists of ahi tuna, although other seafood options are also available. The fish is marinated and paired with various flavors, such as limu (seaweed), California (with avocado), shoyu, and spicy. Poke can be enjoyed in a bowl with rice or greens, or in alternative forms like poke nachos, tacos, and tostadas.

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Kauai Poke Fest

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For poke enthusiasts, the annual Kauai Poke Fest is a must-visit event. Held at the Koloa Landing Resort on the South Shore of Kauai, this festival brings together professional and amateur chefs who compete in a poke competition. Hosted by renowned chef Sam Choy, the festival also features live entertainment, poke demonstrations, and a farmers marketplace. The proceeds from the event are donated to the Hawaii Community Foundation's Maui Strong Fund, supporting those affected by the devastating Maui wildfires.

Exploring the Poke Scene

To truly experience the best poke in Hawaii, it's essential to seek out local recommendations and explore hidden gems. Here are some insider tips for finding exceptional poke:

  • Foodland (Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Oahu): With 34 locations across the islands, Foodland supermarkets are beloved by locals. Their no-frills poke counters offer generous portions of ahi, mussel, and octopus poke at reasonable prices.
  • Ono Seafood (Oahu): This small, hole-in-the-wall spot in Honolulu is famous for its classic shoyu ahi and spicy ahi bowls. Expect lines, as it is a popular local favorite.
  • Off the Hook Poke Market (Oahu): Known for its creative poke combinations, this spot allows you to build your own poke bowl with unique flavors like Japan Deluxe and Kilauea Fire. Their miso ginger tako (octopus) poke is also a standout.
  • Tamashiro Market (Oahu): This fish market offers an incredible variety of poke, including spicy kajiki scallop and limu poke. It's a great place to explore different flavors and combinations.
  • Poke Fix Hawaii (Oahu): Located off the beaten path, this tiny spot is known for its Instagram-worthy poke presentations and creative combinations. It's a hidden gem for poke enthusiasts.
  • Tamura's (Oahu and Maui): A popular spot among locals, Tamura's has been consistently voted the best poke spot in Hawaii Magazine's readers' choice awards. With locations in Wailuku (Maui) and Wahiawa and Hau'ula (Oahu), it's worth a visit to experience their renowned poke.

These are just a few of the many incredible poke destinations in Hawaii. Each offers a unique take on this beloved dish, showcasing the creativity and diversity of the islands' culinary scene.


When visiting Hawaii, indulging in poke is an absolute must. From the traditional ahi bowls to innovative poke creations, the islands offer a wide range of options to satisfy every palate. Whether you attend the Kauai Poke Fest or explore the local markets and hole-in-the-wall shops, be prepared to embark on a flavorful journey through the world of poke. So, set sail for Hawaii and discover the joy of this iconic Hawaiian dish.

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