VIDEO: From auction to PokeFest, world’s best ahi

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Just before the crack of dawn, dozens of Hawaii’s most discerning buyers begin to trickle in at Honolulu’s Pier 38. Fishmongers. Chefs. Poke shop owners. Mostly local, but often mainland and international, they’re all here for one thing: fresh fish.

Six days a week the Honolulu Fish Auction, the only fresh tuna auction in the United States and the only fish auction between Tokyo and the state of Maine, lines up the freshest selection of ahi caught in waters around the Hawaiian islands. After browsing the selection, a resounding ring of the brass bell signals the opening of the auction and bids begin to fly.

This is where much of the poke at Saturday’s Honolulu PokeFest comes from. Here’s what we caught on Wednesday morning.

The Poke

Fifteen restaurants are scooping up classic, contemporary and creative poke for you this Saturday:

Aloha Poke Shop: Local fish served Chamorro-style with Ewa onion, Hawaiian chili and freshly grated coconut and lemon
Ahi Assassins: Pake Poke with cold ginger chicken-style sauce poke, and Lunatic Poke of spicy ahi without mayo
Alicia’s Market: King crab poke with masago
Aloha Cones: Smoked Salmon Poke with cream cheese aioli, red onion and cucumber
Da Hawaiian Poke Co.: Crunchy Spicy Ahi
Eating House 1849: Poke and Poi: fresh fish of the day with poi, pickled ogo, onion, sea asparagus and chili pepper water
Forty Carrots: Maui Nui Venison Poke with crispy sun chokes inamona and umami mayo
Kai Poke: Michael Mina’s Classic Ahi Poke with Asian pear, garlic, mint, toasted pine nuts, ancho chili powder, habanero sesame oil
Koko Head Café: Fried Poke and Eggs
La Tour Cafe Catering: Salmon Poke with spicy green miso salsa, jicama, red onion, micro purple shiso and housemade chicharrones; and Seared Beef Poke with housemade xo sauce, Japanese cucumber, charred green onion and toasted peanuts
MW Restaurant: Surf n Turf Poke of Brandt beef with grilled shrimp, mushrooms and eggplant
Pagoda Floating Restaurant: Oio Poke
Poke On Da Run: Lomi Ahi
Tamashiro Market: Got Limu? Ahi Poke, 12 different kinds
Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering: Spicy Marlin Poke

Got your tickets?
VIP tickets are sold out, but General Admission tickets offering unlimited poke complete with sides are still available. Remember, Honolulu PokeFest is a benefit for the Hawaii Seafood Council. Enter promo code FROLIC5 for $5 off your ticket.

Honolulu PokeFest
July 22, 2017
5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Pier 11 at Aloha Tower

For poke photo porn and parking info, check out The parade of poke.