Never the major occasion, but always crucial: pieces of raw fish experienced only, with a couple powerful ingredients to draw the flavor of the ocean.

As a New Yorker today, I was optimistic when photographed stores started proliferating on the mainland a few years back. I found a simple one to adore, Sons of the Thunder at Midtown Manhattan, in which owners have family origins in Hawaii. However the current assembly-line, do-it-yourself model restrain me there were also many mix-ins as well as toppings, such as oddball interlopers similar to kale and corn, as well as marinades were like thick sauces.

What eventually sent me over the border was a hugely commended poke place in Los Angeles. The fishes have been dropped to a bowl filled with marinade, the entire bowl has been tilted over the corn.

It caused me unhappy to believe this is literally the sole poke some mainlanders could possibly know. I am not arguing for some sort of credibility or a return to the “authentic” poke. There is not one; grocery shops in Hawaii provide as many as four dozen types.

But poke would not exist without the islands’ meld of civilizations and reverence to the sea, passed down from the ancients. To learn the background of this dish is to start to know a method of life.

Please be aware this isn’t a listing of the very best poke in Honolulu. Each kamaaina, as known as local, has a comment about the topic, from my very best friend since third grade for my kid’s hula instructor into the physician who’ve seen my mother at the clinic named Kaiser at Moanalua and whose smaller sister had been within my own high-school class at Punahou, since that is how little that the islands there are. (Mother’s fine, incidentally.) I just revisited the traditional standbys and assessed on new protector, and when I really missed your favourite: Sorry, brah.