The poke bowl, that iconic Hawaiian dish which is basically a mountain of (usually raw) colourful fish mixed with vegetables and spices - and is now also a staple of Japanese cuisine - is not exactly the kind of cuisine you'd expect to take off here in in the middle of the desert. Yet take off it has, as fusion and Japanese restaurants in Dubai are all vying to outdo each other in the fight to determine who can serve up the best Poke in town, with some seriously impressive results.
The poke bowl, much like the Bento Box, is something of an art form, requiring a delicate balance of ingredients to bring out the flavours in just the right way. Luckily, we've rounded up some places that do that right here in Dubai!
1. Salmon Sashimi Bowl from Circle Café
Best to start things off with a bang, which is just what this gut-busting super bowl from the ever-popular Circle Café promises. A strictly Japanese affair here, this hefty bowl is made up of startlingly fresh salmon sashimi, generous helpings of creamy avocado, mixed green vegetables, and plenty of kick thanks to the pickled ginger, edamame and, the most interesting element, hijiki - a rare sea vegetable found exclusively off the coast of Japan and Korea. Definitely worth a try.
2. Teriyaki Salmon Poke Bowl from PokeArt
As the name suggests, uber-hip joint PokeArt is all about the presentation, serving up some seriously jaw-dropping incarnations of a typically simple dish. That's not to say these guys skimp on the flavour, as their signature Teriyaki Salmon Bowl should indicate. Containing the expected greatest hits like salmon and avocado, this bowl ramps up the flavour factor with tangy furikake seasoning, vinegar rice, cabbage salad, chives and punchy teriyaki sauce. Make sure to get the social media snap before diving in.
3. Salmon and Crab Poke from Malolo
This one gets points for the particularly gutsy decision to use crab, a fish not usually associated with Poke. This time around it pays off, with the consistently on-trend Malolo serving up a dazzling mountain of fresh goodness that will undoubtedly leave you busting at the seams. Along with the fresh crab, salmon, sesame, cabbage, and tobiko (sparklingly colourful fish roe), the guys at Malolo also let you choose your own base, size, sauces and seasonings. This means you can upgrade your poke with such memorable additions as spicy tiger milk, wakame seaweed salad or Malolo's secret special sauce. The one to go for if you're feeling creative.
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4. Dubai Bowl from Cali-Poke
You just can't leave out Cali-Poke on a list like this. They take a playful, casual approach to their poke and like to mix it up by giving it a Southern California twist, and often serving them with a side of nachos. What's more American is the portion size, which is why their Dubai Bowl deserves honourable mention for the sheer audacity of its gargantuan size. This cooked bowl starts off with a base of brown rice, chilli, garlic, and their spicy in-house Poke sauce. From here it's loaded up with chicken and prawns, mountains and fresh veggies, and a smorgasbord of seasonings. Probably best to share this one.
Whether you're looking for an inspiring lunch or just need a tasty and nutritional meal, you can enjoy poke at home by ordering with Deliveroo!