Berkeley’s Simply Bowl: Is It Real Poke?

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Poke is trendy. Spelling it, “poké” is trendy. Berkeleyside’s Nosh writer Kate Williams said that poke is, “the new burrito-smoothie-bubble tea-13 dollar salad.” WeWorkers, Cal students and everyone everywhere flock to Simply Bowl in downtown Berkeley. Is the poke they serve there “real?”

My boss thinks that the Simply Bowl(s) do not contain “real” Hawaiian poke. His reasons are: it’s not marinated and the bowls contain squid and wet stuff (seaweed?), which are not authentic ingredients. Regarding his marination accusation, Kate’s response is, “most poke isn’t marinated, just tossed in sauce.” She says the fact can be verified in, “ALL OF THE STORIES about poke in Serious Eats.” I thought marinated fish was ceviche.

Poke comes from the Hawaiian verb “to section, slice, or cut,” so it’s open to a chef’s interpretation. I’m not a chef, but I say that avocado cubes do not a poke make. I’m pretty sure you need raw fish to make poke.

People in these parts flock to Simply Bowl. I had a spicy poke salad today and now my gut hurts. Kate also pointed out that Simply Bowl doesn’t allow you to build your own poke bowl. You have to go to San Francisco for that. Or you can build your own cinnamon roll down the street at at Cinnaholic.

Berkeley’s Simply Bowl: Is It Real Poke?