Simple Poke Poke Recipe

simple poke poke recipe
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Tracing the Poke Poke Ilocano Connection

Recently, I’ve been having these insatiable cravings. As I was walking around the neighborhood, I happened to pass by this trendy new Poke Poke restaurant near us, and I was immediately intrigued. You see, we don’t really have much exposure to Poke here, so I was curious to learn more.

The storefront looked so vibrant and refreshing, with the vibrant colors of the fresh ingredients popping against the minimalist decor. Just looking at the mouthwatering photos of the Poke bowls made me start salivating, imagining the perfect balance of flavors and textures. I’ve never had the chance to try Poke before, but I was eager to dive in.

I know Poke originated in Hawaii, and I also happen to know that there was a significant Ilocano migration to the islands several decades ago. This piqued my interest – could there be a connection between Poke and the traditional Ilocano dish, Poqui Poqui? Poqui Poqui is a delicious vegetarian dish made with grilled and mashed eggplant, mixed with garlic, eggs, and onions.

So I decided to do a little more digging. It turns out the connection is there, but in an unexpected way. The Ilocanos who returned from Hawaii were actually the ones who named the Poqui Poqui dish, taking inspiration from the Hawaiian word “poki,” which means “to cut or chunk.” This is also the root of the word “Poke,” referring to the way the fresh fish is prepared.

When I looked at the prices on the Poke menu, I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback. Around 300 to 400 pesos per bowl – that’s definitely outside my usual budget for a quick lunch. But then, I happened to run into an old high school friend who told me she’s been selling Poke at the weekend markets.

She explained that Poke is actually quite easy to make, similar to our own beloved Kinilaw, but with a soy sauce or mayonnaise base. Feeling encouraged, she even shared her simple poke poke recipe for a delicious tuna Poke bowl. I can’t wait to try my hand at making it at home and satisfying these Poke cravings without breaking the bank.

Rowena’s Tuna Poke Poke Bowl


-cooked Japanese rice

-tuna -washed, cleaned, and cut into small squares

-Toppings – (Choose at least 3)

  • Kani
  • Mango
  • Kimchi
  • Avocado
  • Grapes
  • Bacon

-Japanese Mayo

-Wasabi Mayo

-Nori Strips

-Black Sesame Seeds


  1. Prepare everything.
  2. Layer everything starting with rice, toppings, mayo, then the nori strips and black sesame seeds.

That’s it! You can prepare everything, have a poke party and get  your visitors to make their own version. Enjoy!

PS: My favorite is the one with mango. Its like eating California Maki in a bowl.

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