Aloha, Lana’i: Hawaiian Poke = Fish Fabulousness

by Chris on February 7, 2011

Best food find on our #VisitLanai trip: Hawaiian poke, fish from the Lanai Ohana Poke Market.

Hawaiian poke, poke fish, Lana'i Ohana Poke Market

When I set off for my week as a New Media Artist in Residence on the Hawaiian island of Lana’i, one food goal superceded all others: eat as much Hawaiian poke – fish salad prepared with raw seafood and marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed and other condiments   – as possible.

Hawaiian poke, Four Seasons Manele Bay, Lanai

Our feasting started the first night when we checked into the Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay. I squealed when I saw ahi (tuna) poke on the menu at the Oceanside Grill. “We gotta get that!” I told my husband, Don. He had never tasted poke (pronounced poke-ay), but he loves sushi and sashimi so he was down to try it. Paired with taro chips, the chunks of ahi tuna tasted fresh and delicious – like sushi on steriods.

Hawaiian poke, Lanai Ohana Poke Market

After that, we were hooked. We asked everyone we met about poke – which proved to be a great conversation starter. In general, Hawaiians love talking about their native foods, and the locals lit up when we told them we were fans. And then one of them let us in on a secret that would end up dominating our lunches: the Lana’i Ohana Poke Market, in a colorful building with a tin roof located on a side street near tiny Lana’i’ City’s old jail, served the best fish in town.

Hawaiian poke, Lana'i Ohana Poke Market

The Lana’i Ohana Poke Market is about as authentic Hawaiian as you can get. Run as a family business, it’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week. But it often closes long before that, because the lunch business is so bustling that the food is often gone by early afternoon. As you can see above, the choices go beyond your basic ahi – there’s mussel poke, squid poke, and seaweed salad, as well as several preparations of tuna.

Hawaiian poke, kim chee shrimp, Lana'i

The poke bowls at Lana’i Ohana cost $5.95 for a sizable amount of seafood on a bed of rice, making it one of the cheapest food options on the island. I loved the kim chee shrimp above!

Mochiko Garlic Chicken, Lana'i Ohana Poke Market

Even if you don’t like seafood, you should stop by Lana’i Ohana, just to see what’s cooking as the plate lunch. On one of our afternoon stops, Ciso was behind the grill frying up some mochiko garlic chicken. Juicy and flavorful (and served with yummy macaroni salad), it reminded us that the best meals are usually found off the beaten path, no matter how small the city may be.

Thanks to the Lana’i CVB for sponsoring the #VisitLanai New Media Artist-in-Residence program.


| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie - Turkish Travel blog February 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I would give that food a go. looks tempting. I actually managed to find somewhere the other night that was serving sushi, which I have always wanted to try as well. It was too expensive and not enough money in my purse! Can not go back as it was in the other town.

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Chris February 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

@Natalie – That’s the bummer with sushi – it can get expensive. I rationalize it by cooking most of our other meals in, then splurging on it as our night out.

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Ciso February 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Thank you very much Chris for your great comment! Come back and visit soon!

Aloha,
Ciso
Lāna’i ‘Ohana Poke Market

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Don February 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Ciso – can you open your next poke market in Seattle? We promise to be regulars.

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Nalo2Lanai February 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I love this article. Im glad to hear you had a good time here on Lana`i. Being a resident of the island, Lana`i Ohana Poke Market also known to the residence as “Da Poke Shop” is one of my favorite places to go for lunch, I look forward to whats on the menu everyday. I’m also glad to see “Da Poke Shop” getting the recognition they so deserve. Mahalo for sharing your wonderful experience here on Lana`i.

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bamboo February 22, 2011 at 1:15 am

We just came back from Lanai and feeling very sad that we missed Da Poke shop!!! I am salivating just looking at your photos!
Really wish that we saw it.

Thanks for sharing!

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Chris February 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Bamboo – Don’t feel bad! The poke shop is tucked away from the main streets. And it always gives you a reason to go back 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

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Bluegreen Kirk March 14, 2011 at 6:37 am

Oh man you did it too me early in the morning. I just saw the post but while reading my stomach kept talking to me. The food looks simply wonderful.

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Chris March 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

@Kirk – Wow, you like raw fish early in the morning? A gourmet after my own heart! 🙂

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