INTERNATIONAL POKE DAY
No, International Poke Day is not a day to poke someone sitting next to you! Instead, the day held every September 28th celebrates a Hawaiian dish called poke. By the way, it’s pronounced “poh-kay.”
Poke is the Hawaiian word for slice or chop. The dish consists of diced raw fish, sea salt, candlenut, seaweed, and limu. In case you’re wondering, limu is a dark green seaweed plant. It’s a traditional ingredient served in many Hawaiian dishes. Poke is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine. Traditionally, the raw fish consists of aku or octopus. Modern-day poke includes either ahi, salmon, or different kinds of shellfish.
Through the years, immigrants from Korea, Japan, and the Philippines added their own ingredients to poke. These ingredients include soy sauce, fish eggs, wasabi, and green onions.
No matter what ingredients chefs are using, poke is an integral part of the Aloha spirit. However, this spirit is not just part of Hawaiian culture; it is the law. Aloha means unity, humility, and perseverance. Aloha also means hello and goodbye. When people are celebrating poke on International Poke Day, they are spreading the Aloha spirit of Hawaii around the globe.
Many restaurants around the world are specializing in cooking their own version of poke. These restaurants are found in Vancouver, Toronto, New York, San Francisco, London, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Sydney. As the native Hawaiian dish spreads around the world, it’s becoming extremely popular. One particular restaurant in New York City serves poke to more than 600 customers a day. Additionally, poke is a popular “to go” food for customers on the move. Besides being delicious, poke is a healthy food choice.
HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalPokeDay
Restaurants serving poke celebrate International Poke Day by offering discounted specials on the dish. In conjunction with the Hawaii Island Festival, a 30 Days of Aloha Poke Contest is held.
If you find a restaurant in your area serving poke, International Poke Day is the perfect time to try it. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even attempt your own poke.
2 pounds fresh tuna steaks (cubed)
1 cup soy sauce
¾ cup green onions
2 T sesame seed oil
1 T toasted sesame seeds
1 T crushed red pepper (optional)
2 T finely chopped macadamia nuts
Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!
Be sure to take a picture of your creation and share it on social media with #InternationalPokeDay.
INTERNATIONAL POKE DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar® continues seeking the source of this international food holiday.