Here’s a food trend that was new to me, but apparently a lot of people are enthusiastic about it: the poke bowl.
It’s pronounced POK-eh, like in Pokémon. Basically, it’s a rice bowl topped with raw fish and various vegetables. And it’s a staple in Hawaii, my friends who frequent the islands tell me.
Wilson Tsai, who owns the soon-to-open Poke Bowl on McHenry Avenue, said the concept has become ever more popular in the Bay Area, as well.
In the past year and a half, at least 20 poke eateries have opened in the Bay Area, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News. The word “poke” means “to cut,” the story said, and the dish started out as diced fish dressed with salt and seaweed. It has since evolved to include more ingredients and variety.
Modesto’s Poke Bowl is going into the spot formerly occupied by Extreme Pita. The concept, Tsai said, will be familiar to anyone who’s been to a popular fast-casual Mexican restaurant: “It’s exactly like Chipotle.”
Customers go in, select what they want and then go through the line, picking out toppings and vegetables. “It’s like a sushi salad,” Tsai said. “Hardly anything is cooked. It’s mostly vegetables and rice and raw fish.”
Work is being done on the site; Tsai said he hopes to open in mid-December or early January. As I hear more, I will keep you posted. Poke Bowl will be at 3501 McHenry Ave., Suite F-16, Modesto.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Count Raley’s supermarkets among those aiming to help the needy this holiday season. For the 30th year, the Sacramento-based retailer is having its holiday bag drive, aiming to raise 2.8 million meals to help local food banks meet the increased demand at this time of year, according to a news release I received recently.
Food for Families benefits people in the Northern California and Nevada areas served by Raley’s.
“Raley’s Food For Families holiday bag campaign is an easy way to give the gift of good nutrition,” Becca Whitman, Food For Families executive director, said in the release. “With a $10 donation, you are helping the food insecure in your neighborhood with staple items like peanut butter, tuna, bananas, carrots, potatoes, pasta and more.”
Each bag will include include a gallon of milk, as up to 95 percent of food banks don’t have enough milk to meet their clients’ needs, the release said. Donations can be made through Dec. 31 at checkstands in all Raley’s, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Sources stores.