I don’t think we realize how wholesome it feels to eat food from a bowl. You can pile rice, vegetables, and meat onto a plate, and watch the flavors separate across its surface. But in a bowl, you welcome each grain of salt, and every texture blends together seamlessly, making a meal as full and rich as possible.
The International Poke Company recently opened in Colorado Springs, reminding us of how filling, fresh, and beautiful a meal in a bowl can be. Every dish on the menu offers an intentional synthesis of texture and flavor, with green edamame and avocado slices, black nori, and shaved red and white radish presented like a colorful painting.
In Hawaiian, poke means “to cut.” Originally, poke was a means of using leftover fish by cutting pieces into cubes and mixing them with other fresh ingredients positioned over sticky rice. Similar to the way in which an abundance of inexpensive beef led to the hamburger, a plentitude of affordable and fresh fish in Hawaii led to the invention of poke. The dish itself feels abundant.
International Poke Company takes traditional poke, however, and expands its flavor profile. Although poke originated in Hawaii, other countries and cultures have adapted the structural format of the bowl. The menu at International Poke Company incorporates tastes and textures from Peru, the Southwestern U.S., Thailand, and Hawaii. The menu invites customers to make their poke experience their own.
The build-your-own poke bowl option, which encourages customers to take textures and flavors into their own hands, reminds us how plentiful a dish can taste with a combination of simple, diverse ingredients. If white rice isn’t your preferred base, the menu offers other options such as glass noodles, brown rice, “forbidden black rice,” or mixed greens. There are, of course, vegetarian options as well, for those who don’t eat seafood. I would encourage customers to try the jackfruit substitute, an alternative to meat not commonly offered at restaurants.
“It’s a really refreshing combination of flavors,” Elsa Godtfredsen ’21 said. “It’s like deconstructed sushi. It’s fun and different. I love the way that every part of the dish blends together seamlessly in a deep bowl filled to the brim.”
The International Poke Company takes pride in their values as a restaurant. Most of the ingredients they use for their bowls are organic and sustainably sourced. The restaurant focuses on the blending of different tastes and cuisines as well as the quality of flavor to allow poke to appeal to everyone. The menu offers unconventional poke bowl options such as “Leche de Tigre Tuna,” a Peruvian-inspired bowl with aji sauce, lime, ginger, serrano chile, roasted corn, and other fresh vegetables. Other examples are the “Korean BBQ Salmon” bowl, the “Southwest BBQ Jackfruit” bowl, or the “Kung Pow Albacore” bowl, made with spicy chili crunchy garlic sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, toasted cashews, scallions, and snow peas.
The International Poke Company emphasizes the health benefits of every dish on their menu, revealing to customers how nutrition can be not only aesthetically pleasing, but also delicious.