An Intro To Poke Bowls
Poke Bowls became one of my favourite foods in university. I remember a classmate telling me she was going to have a poke bowl for lunch and was surprised when I told her I didn’t know what that was.
Now when I meet someone who doesn’t know what they are, I describe poke bowls simply as “sushi in a bowl.” Similar to how there are burritos, then burrito bowls.
For more accurate definitions:
Poke is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or a main course and is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine.
Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.
In this blog, I want to share three places in Toronto that I like poke bowls from!
With locations on Yonge Street, Dundas Street West, and even outside Toronto at the University of Waterloo, Rolltation values “Fulfilling your healthy cravings.” According to their website, Rolltation sources their protein in a high quality and sustainable way. For example, their Sashimi Graded Atlantic Salmon is BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) Certificated.
My Parting Experience
Rolltation was the first place I discovered that had poke bowls. But it was actually their sushi burritos that initially drew me to the store. I went with a friend and enjoyed Rolltation’s sushi burritos. They were delicious and so huge that I could only finish half and had to take the rest home.
The location I visited was about a 10-minute walk from my school, so I couldn’t go there for lunch as often as I wanted to. That was until about a year or two later when they opened a location much closer to campus. I was ecstatic! I was able to eat there more frequently and gave their build-your-own poke bowl a chance. This soon became my go-to/usual order.
Where I work now in Downtown Toronto unfortunately doesn’t have a close enough Rolltation location, however based on my past visits, I’ve never had a bad experience or meal there.
About Rolltation’s Menu
As I’ve mentioned before, Rolltation has Sushi Burritos and Poke Bowls on their menu. They also offer Salad Bowls. For these three meals, there are signature items (you choose your base but fillings are already set) or you can Build Your Own.
What’s New? Because I haven’t been to a Rolltation recently, I didn’t know they came out with Hot Rice Bowls (eg. Beef Brisket) and snacks such as Takoyaki and Karaage! This makes me want to go back to Rolltation as soon as I can!
Koha Pacific Kitchen
Koha has four locations, all in food courts. There are three in Toronto at MetroCentre, Commerce Court, and TD Centre. The last one is at the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga.
“Nutrient rich and unprocessed, with delicious fusion flavours borrowed from Korea, Hawaii, and Asia-Pacific cuisine, each Bowl and Bao transforms our natural and healthy ingredients into something distinct and exceptional.”
A cool fact about Koha is that they locally source where and when they can, and partner with farmers and purveyors who care about their products as much as they do.
My Parting Experience
I discovered Koha Pacific Kitchen while browsing through the food court near my work one day. I did not pack a lunch so buying was necessary, but I was also not craving anything in particular. So, I walked around the food court, until I noticed poke bowls on one of the stores’ menus. This was a surprising find as I know most places that sell poke bowls are usually in shops of their own, rather than within a food court. I gave it a try and was not disappointed. Inside this small, cardboard box was fresh deliciousness whose contents were not small at all, but in fact, perfectly filling.
Koha Pacific Kitchen is now on my list of places near work that I regularly buy lunch from!
About Koha Pacific Kitchen’s Menu
Koha not only has Poke Bowls, but also Korean Bowls (Korean BBQ Chicken, Beef Bulgogi, Spicy Pork, & Panko Organic Tofu), Bao Buns, or you can Build Your Bowl.
Be sure to check out their full menu to see all of their awesome options!
The Poke Box
The Poke Box has two locations in Toronto: In the Financial District and Queen’s Park. Their two locations outside of Toronto are in Markham and Waterloo. They began serving poke bowls in Toronto in 2016 and since then, have become one of the most popular places for poke lovers to visit!
Their mission includes serving fresh ingredients, and unique poke bowls from a “changing selection of seasonal ingredients that stem from Hawaii, Japan and Canada.” Lastly, The Poke Box believes in sustainability and environmental responsibility.
My Parting Experience
One day when I was craving a poke bowl, I decided to search up a new place that served it. The Poke Box came up in the results, specifically, their location in Markham. Unfortunately, my craving was not satisfied that day as I didn’t have time to drive there. Luckily, there is a location near my workplace. When I was finally able to try a poke bowl from The Poke Box, I was super happy with my order. I even went again the following week! I’m glad to have another option to buy poke from nearby.
About The Poke Box’s Menu
The Poke Box offers signature bowls as well as the option to build your own. Depending on the location, some have more variety than others. For example, the Financial District location has 8 signature bowls, while the Marham location has 12 signature bowls. I hope to one day visit the Markham location and try a poke bowl I haven’t tried before!
Why I’m A Poke Bowl Lover
Poke Bowls are filling and healthy! You get the heart-healthy fats from fish, many nutrients from the mix of vegetables, plus more. Not to mention of course, they are really tasty!
Whether you are already a poke lover, or you have never tried poke bowls before, I hope I gave you an idea of a new poke bowl place to try.
Thank you for reading, and happy eating!
Graduate from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) & Lead Content Writer at Parting Stories.