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Shoyu Poke Selection Rationale

Here are the competitors listed in random order and the reasons we selected them to compete.

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What is shoyu poke?

From Ma`ona.net

Poke has a fond space reserved for itself in the hearts of most Hawaiians.

Stop. Let's try that pronunciation again because I heard you mentally pronounce poke as the English word "poke." The title and subject of this post is instead the ubiquitous island dish pronounced POH-kay. POH-keh. Say it one more time, POH-keh.

According to the standard Hawaiian dictionary, poke means "to slice, cut crosswise into pieces." That describes the preparation well enough. Poke is usually (but not always!) raw seafood sliced then dressed with sauces or spices. If you're having a hard time imagining what that might be like, imagine a kind of sushi salad. Most commonly, poke is made with 'ahi or aku (both varieties of tuna), octopus, squid, mussels or any of hundreds of other kinds of seafood. People have also used beef, tofu, lamb and just about everything else in dishes they've still called "poke."

These days poke is a standard fixture not only at luau celebrations, but also at every potluck, farmer's market and corner deli in town. The traditional preparation involves just fish, salt, seaweed and 'inamona, but in my unscientific sampling, I've found the most prevalent to be 'Ahi Shoyu Poke.

'Ahi Shoyu Poke

  • 1 lb. 'ahi
  • 1 T. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. 'inamona
  • 3-4 T. Aloha shoyu
  • 1 Hawaiian chili pepper, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. ogo seaweed
  • 1/4 c. chopped Maui onion
  • 1/2 t. fresh minced ginger
  • 1/4 c. chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2 T. sesame oil

For the full Ma`ona.net article go to http://maona.net/archives/2005/04/poke.php.

Planning the Shoyu Poke Showdown

The Shoyu Poke Showdown was held on June 7, 2008. At first, we was planning to do this one small. Maybe about 6 shoyu pokes to taste and about 5 judges. But things got out of hand...as usual...and it ended up being 11 pokes and 7 judges. Here's how it got out of hand...

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Findings & Conclusion

The results of the Shoyu Poke Showdown was the most fascinating and most shocking we've seen to date. People who already saw the results reacted with down right disgust and disbelief, some sharply criticized the judges, while others said "I knew it." Here's what we thought of the results.

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Best Shoyu Poke - Final Results and Rankings

The Shoyu Poke Showdown took place on June 7, 2008. 10 of the "best" shoyu pokes, from some of the "best" places, went head to head in a WOW Grinds blind taste test. For some reason the judges were really hard on the pokes. No poke scored above an 8 for average score. What's up with dat?! SHOCKED is all I can say about the results of this one...SHOCKED. Sorry, but some of the photos came out junk...need some practice with the camera skills. Click "read more" to see the results.

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