First it was burgers, then fried chicken, then superfood salads – well you get my drift – if there’s one thing Melbourne bloody loves it’s a foodie fad.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all of the above, and they’re still delicious in my eyes. But in the world-class food scene we have become accustomed to, there is always the next big thing waiting to take our city by storm.
This time, it’s poke. The word poke literally means to section or slice something up and that’s really all poke is when you get down to brass tax. A bowl full of fresh, sliced up stuff. Hailing from Hawaii, the poke bowl appears simple but creating a good ‘un is quite the art form. Picture an (artistic) jumble of fresh veges, soba noodles or grains, fish/ chicken/ tofu/ etc, all in a colourful arrangement that is truly an Instagrammer’s dream.
And because us foodies are a particular bunch, it’s super exciting that most poke bowls are highly customisable, with hungry diners choosing all of the goodness that will appear in the bowl.
One of the best going round is Poke King in Fitzroy. Myself and a mate went and visited owner Phil Bardis and his team (and aside from the overwhelmingly friendly reception we received), we were also stuffed to the brim with healthy but most importantly, tasty poke.
Poke King’s Chef Mark Ferdinand Tan comes from a Filipino and Chinese cultural background and has worked in various countries around the world before landing at Poke King. Here he’s combined a passion for Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine, to bring customers a fresh look at poke.
And when it comes to authentic poke – Bardis did his research by travelling repeatedly to the Hawaiian Islands to learn more about the “aloha” culture and cuisine. He says his aim is to simply deliver a delicious and affordable food experience, while incorporating innovative flavours. Which I definitely think he’s doing and is why I won’t be waiting too long to head back to Poke King.