Poki-Yaki: Taste of Hawaii and Japan in a bowl

Posted on Jul 25 2019


If you’re a fan of poki and also has a soft spot for teriyaki, Poki-Yaki along Middle Road in Gualo Rai offers these traditional Hawaiian and Japanese dishes with a flair.

The name of the restaurant itself is derived from the two very tasty staples, according to Poki-Yaki owner Thorn Sablan.

“Poki-Yaki got its name simply from what we focus on serving—poki and teriyaki. We have a range of signature poki bowls, teriyaki bowls, and the people have the option to build their own bowl,” he said.

An online source describes poki as diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or as a main course and is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine, while teriyaki is a cooking technique used in Japanese cuisine in which food is broiled or grilled with a glaze of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.

Poki-Yaki opened in August 2017 to satisfy the local community’s need for a standalone poke and teriyaki establishment. (Mark Rabago)

Poki-Yaki opened in August 2017 as a standalone poki and teriyaki establishment.

“We like to believe that Poki-Yaki is different because there hasn’t been a restaurant on island that focuses on poki alone and we aim to give a healthy alternative with simple ingredients,” Sablan said.

The restaurant’s No. 1 bestseller “hands down,” according to Sablan, is their California bowl.

Customers also seems to take a liking to Poki-Yaki’s Pika bowl, Japanese bowl, and chicken teriyaki.

Aside from its popular build-your-own poki, Poki-Yaki has also gotten great reviews for its Poki-Rittos promotion every Thursday.

“It’s basically a poki burrito and we have a bunch of regulars and customers coming in and calling to see if it’s that day of the week already,” said Sablan.

The California bowl, Pika bowl, Japanese bowl, and chicken teriyaki are the dishes to try at Poki-Yaki. (Contributed Photo)

Most of Poki-Yaki’s customers are to-go types. It also does deliveries for orders $50 and over and they entertain request if an order is placed a day in advance or by 10am.

Like other businesses on island, Poki-Yaki hasn’t been spared by the economic downturn currently gripping the Commonwealth but that hasn’t affected the taste of Poki-Yaki’s signature bowls.

Poki-Yaki is located along Middle Road in Gualo Rai, right next to Megabyte Saipan and Eucon Medical Health Services. Business hour are from Monday to Friday 11am-2pm and 5pm-9pm and Saturday 11am-2pm. It is closed on Sundays. It can accommodate up to 26 dine-in customers. For advance orders or take out, call 233-YAKI. Deliveries can be ordered via email at pokiyakisaipan@gmail.com.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com

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