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All About Poke Bowls: Not Your Ordinary Sushi Dish

on 31st Dec, 2018

Poke Bowls are the newest trend in Sushi

In this festive season, we will all be finding ourselves dining out at one of the many Japanese restaurants in Dubai. So why not make the absolute most of your sushi dining experience this Christmas season and order something new? This “not so new” dish has got the region’s ‘foodies’ in delight.

This ‘lesser known’ sushi dish has risen massively in popularity since finding itself on all good sushi menus across the UAE. Poke Bowl, as it is affectionately called, is a somewhat strange new addition to the sushi menu of the most affordable Japanese restaurant in Dubai, as it is one of the few sushi dishes that does not have Japanese roots. Stemming from a dish that was first popularised in Native Hawaiian cuisine, poke bowl began life as a dish of diced raw fish served as a starter or part of a main.

Add a poke bowl to your order the next time you get sushi delivery in Dubai and experience the poke bowl trend for yourself.

What is a Poke Bowl?

Poke bowl has come a long way since its more humble beginnings on the islands of Hawaii. Back then, it was a simple dish of raw fish that had been diced and would be served with a variety of other ingredients. The fish that was traditionally used to create poke bowl dishes was yellow fin tuna. Since then, the type of fish and ingredients have changed to include a wide variety of options.

Many of the traditional flavours used in poke bowl recipes include mushroom, ponzu sauce, cilantro, pickled jalapeño, teriyaki sauce, and avocado among others. As you can see, there are a large number of these ingredients that find themselves in other sushi dishes and therefore, work together as part of the same cuisine. Poke bowl has now become a favourite even in sushi catering in Dubai. This is mainly due to just how adaptable poke bowl is and its ability to fit into a wide number of dietary requirements including both vegetarian and vegan. Fitting both vegetarian and vegan dietary requirements is a massive plus for any food dish in today’s ‘nutritionally focused’ food trend and poke bowl’s adaptability makes it a perfect fit for those seeking the vegan sushi Dubai is becoming well known for.

What’s the difference between a Poke Bowl and a Ceviche?

If you are a regular diner at sushi restaurants in Dubai, then you may have come across a dish called ceviche before. If you are new to Japanese cuisine, then it would be easy to find this dish fairly similar to Poke Bowl. The two dishes while both sharing some similar aspects are in fact worlds apart. It is not surprising that people can sometimes get the two dishes confused as in their original form they could almost be the same dish just from completely different backgrounds. Both Poke Bowl and Ceviche are basically fish or seafood dishes (with some vegan variants) and they both come from countries with warm and more importantly fish-rich coastal seas. That, however, is pretty much where the similarities end.

●   Poke Bowl – Poke bowl which was originally made using raw tuna and a sesame and soy sauce marinade, originates from the coasts of Hawaii, focuses on a typically Asian inspired ingredient list and taste palate.

The fish in a poke bowl was traditionally cut into cubes and the name itself ‘poke’ comes from the Hawaiian word for ‘section’ or ‘cut’. It is then marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce so it remains raw and holds on all of its proteins.

Poke bowls were originally made in their most authentic form using ahi tuna classed as sushi-grade. Now you can find other types of fish like salmon and even octopus amongst the seafood used to make it.

Poke bowl lends itself well to both the vegetarian and vegan diet as you can simply swap out the fish or seafood for other types of plant-based proteins and fats.

●    Ceviche – The dish known as Ceviche, while similarly comprising of a base of raw fish, the fish in a Ceviche is marinated using citrus fruits and originates from South America so it has its focus on a more Latin-inspired flavour selection.

The fish in a ceviche was traditionally sliced thinly so as to allow the marinade to cure it. The citrus marinade used to make this dish cures the fish which means it loses some of its protein and is slightly cooked in the process.Ceviche_Salmon

Similar to Poke Bowls, Ceviche also has options to cater to the vegetarian and vegan diet.

Check out some of the vegetarian and vegan options at the best Japanese restaurant in Dubai 2018

The Latin originating dish of ceviche is often served with sides ranging from plantain to dips and fried tortillas.
So, you see while the two dishes were first created with almost similar ingredients and based on the same type of culinary idea, they are in fact two completely different dishes. Poke bowl and ceviche are indeed worlds apart when it comes to the food experience. The differences not only include where the origin of the two dishes but also how they are made.

What are the most commonly used ingredients in a Poke Bowl?

As we have already mentioned, the original poke bowl was a side dish or part of the main course which consisted of ahi tuna marinated in a soy sauce and sesame oil mix. But, due to its fame, many other foodies from different backgrounds have added their own version to this interesting “sushi” dish. Each new variation of poke bowl aims to cash in on the delicate mixture of flavours and textures without removing its original form.  

While poke bowls lend themselves well to being made mostly of that of Japanese cuisine, there are some that will be more commonly found than others. Here are some of the more regularly used ingredients:

Edamame_Poke Bowl_ingredientsEdamame – Using a process that involves either boiling or steaming and serving in salt, the immature soybean is transformed into a Japanese classic; Edamame. The edamame bean is a great source of antioxidants as well as being high in fibre. These characteristics make it a great addition to any vegetarian or vegan dish, as well as to poke bowls.

Rice – One energy-giving source that is commonly found in poke bowl recipes is rice. The addition of this grain creates a more filling and balanced meal.
tuna poke bowl
Pickled Ginger
– Pickled ginger is regularly seen in good Japanese restaurants as part of the sushi service. Traditionally pickled ginger is used to cleanse the palate between courses. In a poke bowl, however, the pickled ginger is used to add a touch of freshness and a tangy crunch.

– The original main feature of a poke bowl was ahi tuna and although the type of tuna used may have changed, tuna is still commonly seen in a poke bowl recipe. Some of the Japanese restaurants in Dubai already offers a tuna poke bowl on their menu.

Salmon – Another great fish that has made its way into the poke bowl ingredients list is salmon. This beautifully delicate tasting fish really has the ability to transform the poke bowl recipe into something delectable and satisfying.

Chicken – Some of the newer poke bowl recipes have replaced the fish or seafood ingredient with meat. Being high in protein and fitting in with the other ingredients in a poke bowl, chicken makes a great addition to an already classic recipe. A great example of the chicken poke bowl is available at the Sushi Counter.

What other ingredients can now be seen in poke bowl recipes?

If we take a look outside the traditional Hawaiian poke bowl recipe, there are more and more recipes that are including alternative ingredients. These new ingredients are building on the already strong foundation that lies in the way that a poke bowl is made, served and eaten. Some of these new ingredients are direct responses to certain dietary requirements while others are just for taste-based reasons.

What are these new alternative ingredients?

Quinoa – There are some poke bowl recipes that due to dietary needs or just more of a focus on health have decided to replace the rice in their recipe for quinoa. This creates a more nutritious option that works alongside the regular ingredients of any poke bowl recipe. Quinoa is also a commonly used ingredient in both vegetarian and vegan cuisine which makes it perfect for a vegan poke bowl recipe.

Almond Flakes – When the original poke bowl was first created the thought of adding almond flakes might have seemed a luxury and possibly an unnecessary one. These days, however, chefs who specialise in poke bowls will tell you that part of its charm lies in the way almond flakes add texture and crunch to the dish. Almond flakes add a unique taste that perfectly complements the other ingredients of any poke bowl recipe.

How healthy is a Poke Bowl?

When it comes to Japanese cuisine as a whole and especially sushi, this is amongst the healthier food choices you can go for. The simple idea of fresh raw fish and protein-rich rice that sushi and indeed the poke bowl was built on still lies at the heart of much of Japanese cooking.

healthy poke bowlThe nutritional value of any poke bowl recipe will of course fully depend on the ingredients that are used. The more nutritionally packed the ingredients are, the healthier your poke bowl will become. Most poke bowl recipes do not vary that much with the ingredients that they use. So, it is safe to say that when fresh fish or meat coupled with other healthy ingredients, poke bowls are a far healthier option than some of the other foods on the market and even some of the dishes on a Japanese menu.

For the healthiest poke bowl recipe, you should only consider the highest quality and freshest ingredients when making it. You can also order from a reputable Japanese restaurant to make sure.

Tips on how to make your own poke bowl at home

If you would like to add a poke bowl recipe to your home repertoire, then look no further as we have put together some quick and easy tips on how to make your own at home.
poke bowl recipeBegin with fresh Tuna. You can also choose another main ingredient like chicken or perhaps a different type of fish that better suits your taste. Cut your chosen main ingredient into ¾ inch cubes. Make sure to use fresh fish or meat for the best results.

Marinade. Your chosen raw fish now needs to be marinated in a mix of sesame oil and soy sauce. To do this mix the two sauces and add the fish or meat then cover and refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Choose your grain. Here you have the choice of a wide variety of grains. You can use different types of rice or you could even choose to go for quinoa for a healthier option.

Crunch. There are very many ways of introducing that much needed crunch into your poke bowl recipe but one of the best is to use almond flakes.

Finish. Once you have added your other ingredients such as your chosen vegetables to your bowl, you would now have your very own poke bowl to enjoy by yourself or share with your family and friends!

What makes Poke Bowl a perfect addition to your festive meal?

When the festive season comes around, we inevitably find ourselves both organizing and attending a number of parties and dinners to celebrate the time of year. When it comes to finding a type of food that every guest will enjoy, it is hard to find a choice that ticks all the boxes. With so many different tastes and dietary requirements to take into account, it can be difficult to find a type of cuisine that doesn’t leave anyone out. With Japanese food and sushi, in particular, being one of the more inclusive cuisines on the market, the Japanese restaurants Dubai food lovers go to will be amongst the more popular this Christmas period.

If you have already decided on a Japanese food theme for your Christmas party or you have chosen to go for sushi catering in Dubai for your festive dinner, do not forget to add poke bowls to your menu. Poke bowl is a perfect addition to any festive menu as it can be adapted to all tastes and dietary needs. If you have vegan or vegetarian guests attending, then poke bowl is a great way to include them in the menu and make sure that everyone has a chance to thoroughly enjoy your event. You can even have them choose the ingredients they want in their own poke bowl and simply experiment!

So, to Poke or Not to Poke?

Poke bowls…

●       Have a great mix of fresh and healthy ingredients
●       Are packed full of proteins and healthy fats
●       Works well for all types of taste
●       For Vegetarian or Vegan diners are available on some Japanese menus


●       It can be too filling if eaten as a side.
●       It is not originally Japanese.

Let us serve it for you

If you happen to have no almond flakes available or some quality ahi tuna sitting in your fridge, then you can always let the professionals do the job for you. Why not look at the great selection of poke bowls that are on offer at the Sushi Counter today and have one professionally made and delivered to you right now.

We, at the Sushi Counter, pride ourselves on making one of the best poke bowls in Dubai so why not order yours today or be sure to add it to your meal choices for your festive dinner. If you are arranging an event or party this Christmas period, call us for some great sushi catering packages available at the Sushi Counter today and add a poke bowl to your list for a healthy and filling festive option.

All About Poke Bowls: Not Your Ordinary Sushi Dish

Poke Bowls are the newest trend in SushiIn this festive season, we will all be finding ourselves dining out at one of the many Japanese restaurants in Dubai. So why not make the absolute most of your sushi dining experience this Christmas season and order something new? This “not so...