If you’re a fan of sushi like we are, poke bowls are just the next stop in your obsession!
Our Poke Bowl Obsession
Alright all you raw fish lovers! Do we have a post for you today! It was a random afternoon when we first decided to try poke. We had obviously heard a ton about it and we weren’t even totally clear on what it was, but we knew we had to try it! So we set off to our local poke shop, AhiPoke Bowl (one of the spots we’ll be talking about today). A few bites in and we were immediately obsessed! It was like a chipotle bowl, except with fish and we were there for it!
What is a poke bowl though?
Let us back up for a second. If you’re sitting there reading this post and feeling totally lost, allow me to explain. No, we are not talking about the action of poking someone. We’re talking about Poke (POH-ke) bowls, a traditional Hawaiian dish which is probably the biggest new trend in food right now. Poke bowls are defined as a “raw fish salad served as an appitizer in Hawaiian cuisine, sometimes as an entree.” There are a lot of reasons to be obsessed with poke. It’s delicious and pretty darn healthy for you! Not to mention, totally customizable to your level of “oh gosh I’m eating raw fish right now.”
So now that you’re hopefully a bit more caught up, let’s talk about two places in LA we totally love.
As we already discussed, this is the first place we ever tried and we were instantly obsessed. It definitely isn’t the trendiest poke on the market, but it’s definitely some of the yummiest.The best way I can describe this poke spot is a chipotle, but with raw fish. The man working behind the counter was totally patient with us while we figured out what the heck we were going to get since it was our first time ever. He let us sample as we went so we could pick things we liked and helped guide us to some of his favorites.
Building Your Bowl
You start by picking out the size you want. There’s a regular bowl with two scoops of your choice of fish or a large bowl with three scoops. After, you choose your base which is either white rice, brown rice, or lettuce. This time we went with a regular bowl (trust us, it’s plenty filling) with brown rice.
From there you move onto your scoops! One of our favorite things about AhiPoke Bowl is that they have shrimp options for people who are into fish, but aren’t totally convince about raw fish. Brendan always gets shrimp! Our favorite shrimp there is the Kimchi Shrimp, a spicy shrimp with cucumber, but they also have a normal shrimp option. You can even feel free to go with double shrimp if you don’t want any of the fish! For our bowl, we went with a scoop of kimchi shrimp and a scoop of albacore. Albacore if the perfect fish for fish noobies bc it’s super light and doesn’t have too distinct of a flavor.
Next up you pick out your sauce and toppings! They have quite a few sauce choices, but our favorite is to get the house sauce with some spicy creamy mixed it. If you like spicy mayo, the spicy creamy sauce is for you. Now there are endless amounts of toppings and combos you can add to switch up your bowl. We like to keep ours a bit on the simple side, so we went with cucumbers and edamame beans. Lastly we added a scoop of crab meat and some avocado on top. AhiPoke, like most places, makes you pay extra for avocado, but it’s totally worth it.
The very last thing you get to pick out is your dry toppings. Our favorite is the crispy onion. It has a super mild taste and adds a yummy crunch to your bowl. Now this last part is options, but they normally have eel sauce too, so a drizzle of that on top is always the best topper. We topped our meal off with their Guava drink. It’s a super cute pink color, sweet, and beyond refreshing! Perfect for these summer months!
And there you have it!
Our poke from AhiPoke Bowl! It’s simple, but super delicious. Our bowl came out to a grand total of $11.50 after adding avocado for an extra change. This bowl may look small, but man is it filling. That layer of rice at the bottom will fill you up faster than you expect. We’ve even brought friends here who normally can eat A LOT and the large bowl was just too much for them. So choose your bowl size wisely and enjoy!!
Click here to check out AhiPoke Bowl’s website and find a location near you!
Since we mentioned AhiPoke Bowl isn’t the trendiest of poke shops, we wanted to make sure to give you a trendy option that is just as delicious. And, luckily for all of us, it’s not anymore expensive than AhiPoke! In fact, we ended up spending LESS money here which is fairly unusual for a trendy spot. Each Sweetfin location is slightly different. The one we visited is in Larchmont Village and is pretty tiny, with a nice outdoor seating area for a nice day! They have a wall lined with succulents and gorgeous muted finishings. With all the muted colors you can’t help but feel relaxed and ready for a delicious meal.
Building Your Bowl
Sweetfin’s ordering process is a bit different than at AhiPoke. They have bowls that you can order that they’ve created for you. Or you can BYOB (build your own bowl)! Now when you do BYOB you don’t see the ingredients out in front of you which is different from the chipotle style of AhiPoke. Instead you just tell the cashier what you want from a list of ingredients they have on their menu and the bowl comes out to the counter when it’s finished!
As always, you start your bowl by choosing a base. They have a few options: bamboo rice, kelp noodles, cucumber slaw, citrus, or a kale salad. We went with bamboo rice which is a white rice which is cooked with fresh bamboo juice, making it a light green color. Super delicious! From there we chose the fish we want on top. When you get a small bowl at Sweetfin you get one scoop of fish, but you can split the scoop and get half of one fish and half of another. So we decided to go with half tuna, half albacore. Side note: not a lot of options for fish beginners here. We definitely recommend going with albacore if you’re new to the raw fish craze.
For our sauce we went with the classic sauce, which is shoyu sauce mixed with sesame oil, and asked for some creamy togarashi sauce (essentially spicy mayo) to be added a well. WARNING: Their spicy mayo is more on the spicy side than some other places, FYI.
On to the add-ons!
They have a ton of add-on possibilities at Sweetfin and you can check out their menu for all the options. For our bowl, we wanted to keep things fairly simple, per usual. We added crispy onion, edamame, cucumbers, and carrots. We like to keep our toppings more on the mild side and things that will work really well with the sauce we chose. After all, the fish is the star of the show when it comes to poke, so why add a million things that will take away from that! Instead, choose the things that will compliment your fish and sauce of choice the best!
Yum! Time to eat!
That’s our Sweetfin Poke bowl of choice! This poke bowl came to $9.73, bringing it in to be less expensive than the AhiPoke bowl! However, we didn’t have avocado this time, so with the one dollar charge the avocado would add, the bowls would come out to be around the same price. Part of the experience at Sweetfin is the environment you get to eat your food in. It doesn’t feel like any sort of “fast food” establishment, despite your food coming quickly. And at some locations they even have cute wings on the wall that look like they’re made out of fish. Perfect for an instagram opportunity!
Click here to check out Sweetfin Poke’s official website!
And there you have it!
Our two favorite poke places! Both are definitely different from each other from atmosphere to taste. Honestly, despite Sweetfin being the more trendy option, we have to say that AhiPoke Bowl is our poke of choice! The options given at AhiPoke are a bit more up our ally than Sweetfin is, but Sweetfin is also incredibly delicious. We definitely say give both a try and report back with which is YOUR favorite!
xo Jill & Bren