What’s on the menu at North Poke, a Hawaiian-style poke place that serves Spam musubi

What’s on the menu at North Poke, a Hawaiian-style poke place that serves Spam musubi

Toronto’s newest poke shop (now open in an old Kensington Market dispensary) sets itself apart from the pack by being traditional. “Just about every other place is doing California-style poke, but we’re making the Hawaiian kind,” says North Poké owner Linda Dang. The main difference between the two approaches? Time. Hawaiian poke is marinated for at least a few hours before it’s ready, whereas California-style bowls get sauced right before they’re consumed. According to Dang, the Hawaiian take on the raw fish dish is much more flavourful. While many poke shops have gone the Chipotle route, letting customers build their own bowls, North Poke only offers already prepared recipes. Also on the menu: Hawaiaan shave ice and Spam musubi, a classic Hawaiian snack made with grilled Spam, rice and dried seaweed.

The Hawaii Classic comes with shoyu-dressed ahi tuna, cucumber, sweet onions, nori, toasted sesame, fried shallots, avocado, aioli, macadamia nuts and seaweed salad, and it’s served with white or brown rice. (A large, pictured, is $14.95.) “This is the flavour they sell everywhere in Hawaii—even in grocery stores and gas stations,” Dang says.

Although the Big Wave marinates albacore tuna in charred jalapeno-citrus dressing, it’s not too spicy. The bowl also incorporates black garlic, mayo, pickled shallots and crunchy tenkasu (deep-fried flour batter). $5.95 for the pictured snack size.

Togarashi is what gives the salmon-based Waimea its spice. The bowl is also dressed with aïoli, avocado, edamame, sweet onions, toasted sesame, seaweed salad and fried shallots. Medium size pictured, $9.95.

Spam musubi comes in original or teriyaki flavours. Two for $4.

Shave ice is available in a whole whack of tropical flavours. Banana-pineapple is pictured here. $5.


179 Baldwin St., 416-599-7653, northpoke.com