Beyond Breakfast: Hai Poke | Columbus, OH

October 20, 2016

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The culinary offerings keep growing in Columbus, giving us new tastes and new opportunities to expand our horizons. We just experienced a Filipino family-style meal last week, and I figured it was worth highlighting another new flavor we’ve been digging into over the past months: Hai Poke.

Hai Poke is both a food truck and a pop-up that features poke (pronounced POE-kay), a Hawaiian staple that’s essentially a salad of marinated raw fish mixed with veggies and sauces. Every version is a little different, but Hai Poke seems to have hit on a solid combination. I’ve only ever ordered the version with ahi tuna, although they also offer salmon and tofu as protein options.

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We first encountered them this winter when they were serving out of Denmark (an excellent place for cocktails, by the way). Hai Poke seems to have established some great relationships with existing bars and shops that don’t have a steady food presence. You can catch their truck popping up around town, too.

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Mico and Niles, the two founders of Hai Poke, have crafted a dish that’s light, filling, and packed with flavor. It uses a base of warm rice + the protein, and includes cucumber, spicy sprouts, red onion, jalapeno, avocado, a lime wedge, a dusting of scallions and sesame seeds, a couple crispy wonton chips, a drizzle of spicy mayo, and a side of homemade soy sauce. Mix it all together and it makes for a wonderful meal, with soft ahi tuna, crisp veggies, and a blend of both spicy and cool flavors.

Don’t be a slow poke (see what I did there?), go find some poke! Currently they’re at PurePressed Juicery downtown on weekdays 11a-2p and at Oddfellows Liquor Bar Tues-Fri, 4-9p. Keep an eye on their site (haipoke.com) or find them on Facebook and Twitter (@haicbus) and Instagram (@haicbus) to see what they’re up to!

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FOOD + TRAVEL WRITER

I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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