Eating Poké in Maui



Aloha! I’ve recently returned home from a 2 week stay in Maui with my husband and could not wait to share my experience on this beautiful island. What did I love about it? Everything! The tranquility of the ocean, the melody of the waves that I fell asleep to every night, the west Maui mountains that give you a sense of protection and of course the bursts of red, orange, yellow and purple from the tropical flowers growing everywhere.

I was in my glory in Maui because I could engage in every outdoor activity that I loved: coastal hikes, morning runs, yoga on the lanai overlooking the ocean, swimming, snorkeling, fishing and surfing. I would jump out of bed each morning at 6:00 am eager to explore and enjoy this paradise.

What really struck me about the island is the belief by its people that the island is to be maintained and shared by all. Anyone can park along the side of the road, pull out their surf board and catch a wave right next to the Ritz Carleton hotel grounds. I saw that one day and was so in awe how this island is inclusive, for all to enjoy.

What else did I enjoy about Maui? The food! Fresh fish is what I devoured each day. And it goes without saying that you must try poké when you are in Maui. Traditionally, poké (pronounced POKÉ-AY, not POKÉ-EE) is sliced cubes of ahi tuna marinated in soy and sesame. You can find poké everywhere, from grocery stores, gas stations and surf shacks. It’s served in a simple plastic container and eaten on the go or taken with you to eat at the beach before you hit the waves. This is the island’s version of our macaroni salad but with a tropical, exotic twist that is true to Maui’s vibe. Poké is a simple, non-pretentious meal but it will pack a punch with its bold and hearty flavours.

I first tried ahi tuna poké and octopus poké at the Fish Market Maui (pictured above). I asked for their recipe and like any good cook they told me it’s just a little of this and a little of that. So I did some digging around to find a precise recipe and found one from The Kitchen. If you happen to have access to fresh ahi tuna, try this recipe. Or, just go to Maui to get the real stuff. Mahalo!


1 pound ahi (yellowfin tuna) steaks

1/4 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 scallion, sliced on bias (about 1/4 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons macadamia nuts (roasted and unsalted), chopped and toasted

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ‘alaea or Hawaiian sea salt, or coarse Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


Slice the tuna: Using a sharp knife, cut the tuna into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Combine all ingredients: Add the onions, garlic, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Gently mix until thoroughly combined.

Cover and refrigerate: Cover the poké with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Here are more pictures of my trip to Maui…enjoy!

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