We were checking into our Oahu beach house rental—my first-ever Hawaiian vacation—when our host dropped an unexpected tip. A gas station 10 minutes up the coast, she said, sells the best poke on the island.
We got some. It was just okay. Now that I’m back home on the Ninth Island, I don’t have to worry about where to find the best poke. Everybody knows Poke Express is the spot.
Ahi poke, commonly made with yellowfin tuna, might be the most familiar form of the raw salad often served as an appetizer. For me, poke is the main attraction, and the ahi with oyster sauce at Poke Express is sweet, succulent and peerless. So many different varieties are made fresh here daily, from lomi lomi salmon to smoked marlin, it’s best to visit often and try as many as possible. My latest obsession: chuka iidako tako, baby octopus with mirin, soy, teriyaki, sesame, ginger, garlic and more. It’s crisp, a little chewy, bright and refreshing. I might take some with me on my return to Oahu.
Poke Express 655 W. Craig Road #118, 702-639-0500. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 9400 S. Eastern Ave. #102, 702-221-1600. Daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.