All About Poke - Why This Hawaiian Staple is on the Menu at a Folly Beach Bar

All across the country, you would be hard-pressed not to notice that Poke has quickly become a hot new dish among fast casual eateries and casual dining spots. The refreshing Hawaiian dish has been a staple in Hawaiian eating for decades now. At Wiki Wiki Sandbar, we wanted to bring the spirit of aloha to a Folly Beach bar. Naturally, we couldn’t do this right without including a variety of poke dishes to choose from. But what about the rich history behind this dish? It wouldn’t be right to integrate it into our menu without discussing the rich cultural significance of the dish in Hawaiian heritage.

Technically, poke (which is pronounced poh-kee) is a type of Hawaiian salad that takes note of Hawaii’s wealth of ingredients and wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Made up of ingredients like fresh, raw tuna and other types of fish, rice, colorful fresh vegetables, and a combination of spices and sauces like wasabi and soy sauce, this umami dish is more than just a salad—it’s a sea of flavor that harnesses the aloha spirit in a bowl. Things like chewy seaweed, sesame seeds, colorful types of raw fish, creamy avocado, and shredded carrots may grace a bowl of poke, but one of the best things about the dish is that it’s easily customizable. The dish can be served fresh or fried, with or without rice, and using just about any ingredient you’d like.

A Bit of Background

Originating in Hawaii, the dish is an amalgamation of the many ingredients that can be found on the islands. Similar to how a Hawaiian pizza blends elements of sweet and salty to create a blend of textures and flavors that compliment the many aspects of Hawaiian life, poke utilizes fresh ingredients to showcase the many colors and flavors of Hawaii and its many cultures. Since Hawaii is situated in the middle of the Pacific, it takes aspects of French Polynesian and Asian cultures in addition to being an American state.

The word poke itself means “to slice” or cut something across until it takes on a diced shape. This refers to the way the fish is sliced in poke bowls, as chunks of tuna or salmon are cut into cubed chunks and marinated—often in soy sauce. The fish is then tossed together with other ingredients like noodles, rice, or greens, and topped with other vegetables and sauces to create a blend of flavors and textures reminiscent of Hawaii’s tropical environment.

In a Folly Beach bar

While poke can be served fried, ours is served fresh, topped with fresh veggies and with wonton crisps on the side. Because Folly Beach is located on the coast, we have the luxury of having access to some of the freshest fish without having to fly it in from other sources. We felt that including a dish that represents the aloha spirit so deeply was only necessary to include in a Folly Beach bar like the Wiki Wiki Sandbar.

Along with our comprehensive menu of custom cocktails inspired by the sand, surf, and sun in Hawaii’s islands, our menu honors Hawaii’s rich history with favorite ingredients like spam, katsu, and hawaiian pulled pork. Dinner and drink favorites aside, our commitment to bringing the aloha spirit to a Folly Beach bar goes beyond just the poke bowls. Check out our summer community events to see how we’ve brought the luau spirit to one of the south’s most charming spots.