Recently, I’ve been having these strange cravings. I happened to pass by this Poke store near us and was curious -because we dont have Poke Poke here. It looked so summery and cool, the color of mango popping up. Just looking at the photos made me salivate and imagine the taste. I have not had the opportunity to taste it before.

I know it came from Hawaii and I know that several decades ago, there was a mass migration of Ilocanos there. Does it have any relation to the Ilocano Poqui Poqui then? Poqui Poqui is a vegetarian dish of grilled eggplant, mashed and mixed with garlic, eggs, and onions.

So I did some digging, and it turns out, it is the other way around. The Ilocanos who came back from Hawaii named the dish. Our Poqui Poqui came from the Hawaian word “poki” which means to cut up or mash. Which is also where Poke Poke got its name.

The price per bowl was really shocking. About P300 or P400 per bowl would really ruin my daily budget. Then I met a friend from High School and Poke is one among her new offering at her food stands in weekend markets.

She said poke is really easy to make -like our own Kinilaw but with soy sauce or mayonnaise as base. Thankfully, she share her easy tuna poke poke recipe.

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.