Poke Stop (Waipahu, HI)

Sweet onion ahi poke
Sweet onion ahi poke

The Waipahu Poke Stop is in the middle of an enormous shopping center, those maddening strip mall/village hybrids that meander over acres, making it almost impossible to find any particular store. What an odd place to set up shop for a chef who trained under Alan Wong, Emeril Lagasse and Sam Choy. But, it’s a seafood restaurant Elmer Guzman wanted, one where he could serve locals the freshest seafood available.

The poke is what caught the fancy of the locals. Depending on what’s fresh, you’re going to find a wide variety of poke, all of it displayed behind glass cases and all of it available for sampling. The menu lists the following: limu ahi, shoyu ahi, sweet onion ahi*, creamy ahi, blackened ahi, Kapakahi ahi and opihi, garlic edamame ahi, seafood wasabi ahi, sesame tako, kim chee tako, creamy tako, furikake salmon*, ginger scallion shrimp*, limu mussel, kim chee mussel, Inamona white crab, kim chee Kona crab, “Da Works” oio*, hamachi poke, and tofu poke. The asterisked ones are menu-listed as “must try” signature pokes. The price is $10.95/pound (hamachi and Kapakahi are $12.95).

We ordered the sweet onion ahi (top photo), crispy chicken chunks (third photo) and seared ahi bowl over furikake rice (second photo). The ahi was very fresh and sweet, lightly seasoned with salt and sesame oil, sprinkled with green onions and chile flakes. The onions were sharp and biting; Maui sweet onions in season would definitely improve things. The seared ahi was also nicely done. The chicken is prepared Korean-style. Chicken thigh nuggets are lightly battered and fried, then tossed with taegu sauce.

One dish I regret not having ordered were the eggplant fries. I kick myself for forgetting. This has been mentioned several times by internet posters as a “must try.” It’s served with remoulade.

While the poke is excellent, it might not be worth the trip out to Waipahu or Mililani Town just to try it. If, like us, you’re on your way to leeward Oahu (Hawaii’s Plantation Museum or Ka’ena Point), it’s worth a stop in Waipahu. For closer-in poke, the word is that Ono’s Seafood (not Ono’s Hawaiian, but across and up the street from it) in Kapahulu has an excellent version.

Poke Stop
94-050 Farrington Hwy # E4
Waipahu, HI 96797

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