Poke bowls are so mainstream now it’s ridiculous. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t even know about poke until maybe two summers ago when several shops popped up in LA. But after trying it just once, I was hooked—if you have a taste for sushi/sashimi, and feel entitled to a “Have It Your Way” Burger King-esque ethos, then poke (or poki) is a godsend.
Many people think of tuna when they salivate over poke, but it can be any number of fishes and fish-like creatures: salmon, shrimp, octopus, and even scallops. And Oh My Poki, the Li’l Tokes Subway of poke stops, offers all of these and more for the discerning poke packer.
Oh My Poki stands out from the many other poke places downtown, and not just because of its clever name (but not painfully clever—I’m looking at you, Hoke Poke at 801 S. Hope St.). The best feature is how you can customize your poki: five base choices, like white rice or brown rice bowl, salad bowl, burrito (it’s messy but delicious), and nachos (maybe some other time); eight types of seafood, tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, albacore, shrimp, octopus, scallop, tamago, and non-fish tofu; and over ten toppings, including the must-have seaweed salad, masago roe, and crab meat.
You go down the line and give them your choices in numerical order, starting with size (everything, including regular bowls, is $9.00 and large bowls are $12.00—the regular bowl is usually plenty) and base (you can mix the bases in some cases, like rice and salad, you just need to be clear about what you want).
Now on to the “protein” (ewww, I know, that’s like the douchiest food terminology): I’m afraid of mercury, so I opt for smaller fishies. You get to choose three seafood/tofu for regular bowls, so I ask for two scoops of salmon and one scoop of octopus. That’s my go-to. For toppings, I get everything except for raw onions. Like I said, seaweed is a must have.
As one of the most recent additions to the awesome grouping of take out counters in the Woori Market, Oh My Poki is in good company; lunchtime here is chaotic, with workers coming to the market in droves for cheap, delicious eats. The generous parking validation at Little Tokyo Market means that even people like me, who work miles away, can be tempted to make the trip.
One of my recent trips to Oh My Poki was a nice sunny afternoon, and I sat outside at a table next to a group of professional types—dress shoes, sleek suits, the whole nine. I felt a little underdressed, and with my skateboard in tow I must have seemed a little low class. After I’d devoured my poke bowl, I had that recurring issue with seaweed salad stuck in my teeth. It’s huge pain in the ass. I was thinking, Why the hell do I keep getting this damn seaweed salad? when I looked over and saw several big shots at the next table self consciously picking the green stuff out their teeth, too.
Ah, poke: the great equalizer.
Oh My Poki is located in Little Tokyo’s Woori Market.
333 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90013