Mahalo Poke//Fresh and Fabulous

Pokie? Pokay? Poke is one of the newest foodie trends emerging in metro areas. This north Alabama girl had her first poke experience at Mahalo Poke on the strip. She learned how to pronounce the word shortly before ordering. The Hawaiian dish gives healthy eating an adventurous twist. The proteins include sashimi grade seafood. In other words, the meat is raw. For the faint at heart or the hypochondriac, Mahalo Poke also offers some cooked options like tofu and crab. Basically, poke is a lot like eating sushi in bowl format, but with a lot more rice. When more carbohydrates are involved, what is not to love?

The menu offers some premade bowls, like the Aloha, or you can build your own bowl. Each bowl has a base of rice or mixed greens. Next, you pick your protein. Then, you can choose from the Subway-like assortment of toppings, such as edamame, crispy onions, scallions, and pineapple. Finally, you choose a sauce to top off your bowl.

I chose to build my own bowl with half mixed greens and half rice, tofu, cucumber, edamame, and crispy onions. I went with the unagi sauce on my bowl because the name sounded intriguing. It ended up being a tangy, citrus flavored vinaigrette. The best term to describe the taste of the bowl was “healthy,” just like the feeling of eating a salad or drinking green tea. It was light, refreshing, sweet, and packed with nutrients. The crispy onions became the MVP of the bowl because they added a needed crunch to an otherwise soft texture. My only regret was choosing the “small” bowl over the “regular.” If my base would have only included rice, I think it would have been more filling. Since I selected the mixed greens, I ended up staying a little unsatisfied.

In all, this restaurant is worth a visit for fanatic foodies, trendy millennials, or brave individuals looking to try something new. The location on strip and the Hawaiian décor created a fun and lighthearted atmosphere. Mahalo Poke may have been my first poke experience, but it will not be my last.

Mahalo Poke is located at 1211 University Boulevard and opens at 11 a.m. daily. Tweet us @ThePlanetWeekly and let us know where you are eating!


Alicia Gilbert is a current dietetic intern at the University of Alabama and future registered dietitian. Follow her food Instagram @coldbrewandcarbs.

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