HONOLULU | Ono Seafood has a reputation as one of the best places to enjoy poke in Honolulu. At its heart, poke is lightly seasoned seafood, with a few ingredients to enhance the qualities of the seafood, over rice.
The best poke in Hawaii, from what I’ve been able ascertain, more or less sticks to this formula, influenced strongly by waves of Japanese immigration from the late 1800s through to the 1970s. Some say that any deviation from the basics isn’t really poke, others say that it’s fine as long as one understands and respects the history, and exercises restraint.
Mu first taste of poke in its homeland was at Ono Seafood. Judy Sakuma, a native of Vietnam who fled during the Vietnam war, started selling shoyu aji poke with her husband Willy, from a cooler under a parking garage, in 1995. Ono Seafood is located next to that same garage and it’s still run by Judy and her family.
A house made shoyu made to a secret recipe blending Japanese and Hawaiian flavours, seasons ahi and tako (octopus), which is delivered freshly caught each day. You can order the seafood by itself, or as poke, served simply over rice at just the right, slightly warm, temperature.
I opted for choice of two in one box. Shoyu and spicy, I was told, are the two most popular flavours, so that’s what I went for. I also got a quarter pound of miso ahi by itself. All absolutely brilliant, with the quality of the seafood coming through wonderfully. Beyond poke, you’ll also find a small selection of other fresh seafood options like sashimi and salmon roe, in fridges to the side of the counter.
747 Kapahulu Avenue
Telephone: 808 732 4806
Tue – Sat: 9:00am to 6:00pm