Fresh, Healthy and Guilt-free

Poke Poke offers healthy, fresh, guilt-free Japanese-Hawaiian fusion food. It officially opened its doors in Fortieth & Hurstmere in Takapuna in May this year and has become a popular lunchtime option for locals.

Owners Jack Zhong and Monica Lee created Poke Poke “basically because it's a place we would personally love to visit and eat at ourselves,” they say. “A trip to Hawaii introduced us to the dish poke and ever since we've been obsessed with the idea of bringing poke into New Zealand using the amazing fish/meat/produce that New Zealand has to offer. Food/cooking has always been a passion and the idea of owning our own restaurant/eatery has been a long-time dream.”

Jack and Monica are pharmacists. As a result, they’ve “always been into health and staying healthy”.

“We believe one of the keys to achieving a healthy lifestyle starts with the food you eat. We want put this core value into action with Poke Poke, putting good things into our customers’ bodies and helping them along their personal health journey!”

Poke is a relatively new food concept in Takapuna. The main dish behind Poke Poke is, of course, ...poke! Traditionally, poke (pronounced "poh-kay") is a Hawaiian cuisine consisting of chunks of marinated raw fish tossed with sesame and seaweed. However, it can mean anything chunked as the word "poke" comes from the verb "to section, slice or cut" in the Hawaiian language.

“Our modern take on poke is offered with ingredients other than raw fish including chicken, prawn, tofu etc and a huge variety of additional toppings. Our build-your-own style menu means that each bowl is customised to each individual customer's liking – adding what they want and love in their own poke bowl.”

From day one, the “good old salmon and tuna” has been the most popular dish, he adds “It's what poke is originally all about and I think everyone loves a good classic. We only use sashimi grade tuna and salmon – the best quality fish we can find.”

That said, Jack recommends customers try some of the other dishes. “Obviously we love our fish but our chicken and prawn are also a must-try. Prepared using the sous vide cooking method (using a temperature-controlled water bath), our chicken and prawn is guaranteed to be tender, juicy and never dry. I would recommend getting that on our very popular purple rice and salad combo as the base.”

Poke Poke also offers seasonal specials that are switched out every couple of months. “We are always trying out new things as the seasons change and we get inspired by the produce available at the time.”

Poke Poke can be a great option for a quick take-out lunch or dinner, but with Poke Poke’s newly renovated courtyard area covered by a glass ceiling, many customers are also choosing to eat in. Either way, you'll be sure to be getting a meal made with high quality ingredients and value for your money. “We take utmost care in selecting and preparing each and every ingredient,” says Jack, adding “and if you've seen our menu you'll know that's a lot of things!”

Poke Poke, Fortieth & Hurstmere, 40 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna. Open Mon - Sat 11:30am-8pm or until sold out; Sunday 11:30am-4pm or until sold out.

By Christine Young

Channel Magazine: Issue 80 September 2017. View the article online HERE.