The raw tuna salad known as poke certainly isn't a new creation, but lately we've been seeing versions of it everywhere—even stuffed into a burrito. One of our favorite new versions is on the menu at Noreetuh, a new Hawaiian restaurant in New York's East Village run by three Per Se alums, Chung Chow, Jin Ahn and Gerald San Jose. We caught up with chef de cuisine (and Hawaii native) Chow for a primer on all things poke.
First of all, what is poke? Is it a dish with a clear origin story?
The word poke simply means “chunk” in Hawaiian. That said, in the past poke was typically any meat or seafood that is cut into small chunks and marinated. When referring to poke nowadays, it is generally seafood. It’s unclear exactly what the origin is, though many agree that chunks of marinated seafood have been consumed for a long time by locals, and if you ask anyone from Hawaii such as myself, I’ve known poke all my life and just grew up eating it.
What is the proper way to pronounce poke?
Poke is pronounced (poh-KAY) and rhymes with okay.