What I found at ... is a series that tests and vets intriguing store-bought food finds. It’s the mainland and global parallel to KaSnack attack!, our series reviewing made-in-Hawaii snacks.
What: Authentic Hawaiian Poke, Shoyu Ahi Mix & Serve Meal Kit
Where: Frozen food section of Target
Cost: $8.49 for 10 ounces, equivalent to $13.58 a pound
Q: How does frozen poke stack up in the land of the fresh?
Poke is near and dear to our hearts. Simple yet sophisticated, it's become a national sensation. When a reader let us know that Target was selling frozen poke, I had to check it out.
In Hawaii we have ultra-fresh poke made with never-frozen fish, but because of the expense, some of our most popular poke shops use previously frozen seafood. While I've had both, I've never had frozen poke and don't know anyone else who has. I prefer my poke fresh, but I'm willing to take one for the team and see what frozen poke is all about.
It isn't too complicated. The only items in the box are a bag of frozen ahi cubes and a bag of sauce, and the instructions are pretty simple. After opening the package, I let the frozen poke thaw in the sealed bag in cold water for aound two hours. Afterwards, I mix the thawed ahi cubes with the included shoyu sauce. Once I mix everything together, I take a few bites. The verdict?
A: It doesn't. You can find better poke pretty much anywhere else.
Any self-respecting local will know that poke tastes better after you marinate it, even for 20 minutes, to let the seafood absorb some of the sauce flavors. After a few hours in the fridge, Target's poke was devoured by my wife. Those few hours, if I might note, would be plenty of time to head to your nearest poke shop or supermarket for much better poke.