Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: poke

Pacific Poke Robson

The poke food trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down in 2019, with one of Vancouver’s most popular chains opening two new locations in the last 2 months. And today I was invited down to the Robson Street location to check out their new presence on the corner of Robson and Denman. Many other restaurants have held this space with varying degrees of success.

A piece of prime real estate with a challenging interior space. The small footprint is best served as a fast food stop. Its awkward seating area, on the narrow upper floor is best served as a pop in. You eat in to fill and go back out on your way soon after. Ideal as a snack mid shopping excursion, or as a quick serving in between meals after work.

When it comes to ordering, you can customize your bowl to how you like it with your choice of base, seafood and vegetable, then toppings. For base you can go the traditional route with white sushi rice, or a healthier brown rice and quinoa, or perhaps go carb free with a mixed kale salad or plain tofu instead.

For proteins they have bay scallops, negitoro, sockeye salmon, spicy salmon, a crab and shrimp blend, ahi tuna, or spicy tuna to choose from.

For toppings they have ginger jicama, masago, avocado nori, spicy seaweed, freshly mashed wasabi peas, organic seaweed salad, red beets and basil, boy choy gomae, pickled red onion, and cucumber kimchi.

For sauces you have a choice of citrus mayo, spicy mayo, sesame mayo, wasabi mayo, red curry mayo, and a ludicrously hot hot sauce.

And to finish off your bowl you can add some crunch to your serving with crushed nuts, crushed noodles, or toasted sesame seeds. Or even all three.

But truthfully with all these options I tend to get overwhelmed. How and where do you start? They offer so many more choices and unique topping choices than at other poke places. Therefore, I much rather stick with one of their already curated and proven successful chef inspired bowls, as I did today.

We had their “main” bowl with sockeye salmon, spicy ahi, crab, shrimp, ginger jicama, avocado nori, organic seaweed salad, citrus mayo, sesame miso dressing, shoyu, yuzu and lime juice, all topped with herbs and sprouts. And all their seafood is Ocean Wise, giving you comfort in its quality. This bowl would be the one I would go for if I wasn’t blogging and just wanted something tasty. It has majority of their available proteins in generous amounts, lots of harmonious flavour and I love seaweed salad. My guest liked the creaminess to this, but wished that the avocado was left cut into pieces, instead of being whipped into a guacamole spread; this is where things became too dense. She enjoyed the freshness of the salmon the most, and appreciated how much she got of it. There was a good ratio between protein, topping, and her chosen brown rice.

For our second bowl, I liked the idea of them offering a seasonal poke so wanted to try that. This is an option that rotates with new and fresh ingredients often, a reason to have faithful customers return for something new to sink their teeth into. This season it was the “Bangkok Bowl” with coconut marinated ahi tuna and bay scallops with bok choy gomae and kimchi cucumbers, dressed in a red curry aioli. This would be my first time having scallops in a poke bowl. I liked how it and each element was seasoned with its own flavour, and together they created something new. Although, I do suggest picking through each ingredient, and crafting your desired spoonful. This way it keeps each mouthful different and all your bites interesting. Whereas, mixing it all together leaves you with a one toned bowl, that you grow bored of eating mid way. This serving was salty and spicy at the forefront, with so much punchy flavours to oppose one another. Luckily they have the perfect drinks to pair with your bowls, thus giving you a break in between bites.

I love anything with pandan so had to try their “Coconut panda” drink. Although I didn’t taste any of it, it was more the coconut milk and young coconut juice that flavoured this creamy beverage.

The “Yuzu lemonade” however was more true in its name. A strong citrus flavour with the familiar sour tang of lemonade. Once again, both a great palette cleanser to help cut into the bold flavours of their poke.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great option for poke, and with so many locations you can pick your closest, be it this new one on Robson. Fresh food with prices on par with what you expect to pay. Don’t deny your cravings.


1795 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1C9

Riz Sushi

Today I was invited to “Riz” to check out their newest menu item, a build your own Chirashi bowl, and just as they received their latest shipment of fresh fish flown in from Japan.

“Riz” is better known for their contributions to the catering scene, offering their fresh made poke bowls and sushi rolls to local fine food grocery stores and hospitality services. But you can also get their goods right from the source, at their humble store front located in East Vancouver. There, they are also known for their savvy mural. A memento from previous owners, redone in the image of the new owner’s love of hip hop. A Japanese garden with 90’s and 00’s rappers painted in, a nod to the restaurant’s excellent playlist offering you classic and new beats.

Before we sat down to eat, I was treated to the unboxing of the fish. I witnessed the opening of the styrofoam shipping box and the reveal of several whole fish kept frozen on ice. Definitely a first for me, and it spoke well to the quality of the seafood to come.

We got our stomachs warmed up, literally with their “Aburi salmon bowl”. A great way to enjoy the great flavour of poke, but a little warmed up for the colder weather. It was warm yet cool, crunchy and crispy, yet chewy. A whole slew of ingredients gathered together for a bombardment of flavour and textures that kept you interested bite after bite. Seaweed, cucumber, edamame, crab meat, tobiko, tempura, and plenty of salmon. All coated in a spicy mayo aioli and their feature sauce. To date this is my favourite version of poke. It pops with a really good fish and vegetable to rice ratio. I didn’t have to ration bits of salmon with spoonfuls of rice.

We followed that up with the feature. Today we had our Chirashi bowl curated for us, but typically it is a choose your own adventure. You pay per piece and only for that which you want. The first I have ever heard of. It is nice to not have to eat the filler fish or egg pieces first, and only then slowly work your way to what you actually want from a sashimi rice bowl. Here you want everything you get because you specifically asked for it.

Our bowl included Sockeye salmon, tuna, octopus, shima aji, madai, hokkaido scallop, local hamachi, Japanese hamachi, and blue fin tuna belly (otoro). We were advised to start with the less fattier cuts of fish and work our way to the richer morsels of tuna, hamachi, and otoro. You could tell the difference between the hamachi imported from Japan, versus what was sourced more locally for less. Just like how you can tell it was the otoro you were biting into, with its buttery finish and satisfying after taste.

And now you can get your very own “Riz” customizable Chirashi bowl today. I would advise just getting the blue fin tuna and making it the best bowl ever. Although be aware, the availability of your favourite fish will be on rotation, with different catches being imported weekly.

But despite the catch of the day, at “Riz” you are guaranteed quality, they pride themselves on bringing downtown Vancouver quality raw seafood to the East Side, and into their comfortable setting. Fast food that doesn’t cut corners, offered at prices close to cost. The bowl we had would be considered a super deluxe bowl, priced at around $20-$30. Whereas at other restaurants offering similar quality of fish you would be charged $30-50 for 6 pieces.

We followed our feast of deluxe sashimi with a handsome nigiri platter featuring Hokkaido scallops, local spot prawn, and shima aji and madai from Japan. The imported fish was gentle, perfectly nestled on a bed of sushi rice. And as a fun contrast the crustaceans were sauced up for a sweet and salty finish.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Quality fish on par with any that you’d find in Vancouver, but conveniently in East Vancouver, for those who don’t want to travel downtown. Great fish based entrees like poke, sushi, and now chirashi available at reasonable prices, fast and easy in an unpretentious setting. Don’t deny your cravings.


2887 East Broadway, Vancouver BC

Riz, big bowl poke challenge

Today I was at “Riz sushi and poke bar” to pit myself against Vancouver’s latest eating challenge. This one is high steaks with high rewards, and it is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Disclaimer: When it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

Situated on East Broadway, on the corner of Renfrew Street; you only need to spot “Mr. Sub”, the long standing sandwich on the corner, to locate “Riz” as their neighbour. The name “Riz” speaks to the rice that unifies the two main staples that make up their menu: sushi and poke. This is assumed by the rice kernel mascot marking their spot. But this was the name that the current owners inherited. Their predecessor was also a sushi restauranteur. In fact they kept a lot of what was already established, including the decor and Yelp reviews, but with some minor adjustments, they were able to make it their own.

Their Japanese zen garden mural is one of a kind. The addition of hip hop’s elite speaks to the owner’s previous life as club promoters and their appreciation for the music. An affinity I shared, giving me much appreciation for the scene before me. Here, Drake sat on the roof of a building, much like off his album: “Views”. The Wu Tang Clan left their mark, carving their trademark “W” on to a post the bridge. The “Dog Father” guarded said bridge. Eminem could be seen fishing, with Biggie Smalls wading in the water; bobbing beside Tu Pac, resting on a pool noodle. Most notable was Kayne making out with Kayne, as Jay-Z stared jaw gaping.

As for their Yelp reviews, that required a lot more work. They inherited the lower rating from previous managemeny and have been working their way from 2 to 3 stars, slowly. Their placemats had DJ Khaled asking you to give them a hand.

New “Riz” was formally just a catering business, supplying sushi and party platters to local grocers like “Meinhardt” and “Nesters”, local hotels, and plenty of television and movie sets. They have been doing this for two years, until they expanded their venture to the include a restaurant, which opened in January of 2018. This was something the community had been asking for, those who remembered it back went they went to high school in the area, and craved for that taste of nostalgia. Eventually they want to take their business in the direction of grab and go corner stores, like those in Asia. Pre-made meals and cup noodles for those looking for more connivence in their life.



Once again I was here for their “Big Poke Bowl Challenge”, the first poke eating challenge to hit Vancouver. It officially starts on April 25th, 2018 and wraps up on May 31st, so be sure to check them out during this limited run.


To skip the reading and watch me and @athenasweets be the very first people in the city to team and take on this challenge, check out my latest video on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

The goal is to devour a 10 pound bowl of fresh seafood, vegetable, and rice in under 30 minutes. But thankfully this is a team challenge, so bring your hungriest friend to undertake this daunting trial with you. It will cost you $120 to attempt it, and win or lose you both get a lot of premium poke for only $60 each. But if you do finish you get two $60 gift cards, which pretty much covers the cost of the challenge. And your names get entered into a draw to win a trip for two to Vegas, travel and expenses paid for. (There are some black out days, but a free trip is a free trip.)

A regular bowl of poke with 2 scoops of either tuna or salmon is $10.50, 3 scoops run at $13.00. Therefore you are pretty much getting 14 regular bowls for the price of 10. (We did the math, because I am all about that value.) Despite being able to mix your types of fish in a regular bowl of poke, in order to keep it simple you can only choose to have your two pounds of fish in either salon, tuna, or ahi for the challenge.

Being able to watch the big bowl being crafted before my eyes, and being able to go at it, I can tell you first hand how great the ratio of fish and veg to rice this was. The biggest gripe of mine when it comes to poke is the lack of topping for all the filler rice they provide. At “Riz”, big or small bowl, this is one thing they are conscious of. Here, you will never be left with a mound of un-sauced and un-eaten white sushi rice. It is also worth noting that the big bowl is ideal for catering and parties. It probably feeds a good 20 people, and you can customize it however you like (if you are just taking out or ordering normally).

The “Giant bowl challenge” version consists of crab, cucumber, edamame, wakame (seaweed salad), pickled ginger, 2lbs of either salmon or tuna, masago (fish roe), fried shallot & garlic, and your choice of sauce. The picture above is it before the sauces and toppings are added, with them the scale would have read 10lbs.

As for how it tasted, it was delicious, a serving of poke I would gladly revisit. Great fresh flavours coming together. I just advise mixing it thoroughly, less you eat all the salmon in the first few bites, or stumble onto a mouthful of pickled ginger. But I won’t go into any detail about how the challenge went, and instead, invite you to check out my video above.

For those looking for more manageable servings. “Riz” also offers a delicious aburi poke. The first I have ever heard of and had. Sushi rice, cucumber, edamame, wakame, crab salad, 3 scoops of salmon, yuzu citrus ponzu tempura crunch, and masago. As you can see, they lightly torch the raw salmon, covered in a spicy miso and habanero aioli. The result is a wonderfully flavoured rice bowl. Creamy and slightly warm with the thick coating of sauces, coupled with spiced tones and refreshing vegetable. This is the one I would stop for on my way home from work (it is on my route, and relatively healthier than most of the stuff I am known to consume).

I also fully recommend their “Onsen egg” as a nice appetizer. It was the perfect side to our poke. Having it is like completing a burger with a side of fries. Here, it is fish over rice with a soft boiled egg in a light daikon broth.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
If a chance to eat an enormous amount of food and win a contest for it, is not reason enough to visit; then come for their deliciously seasoned and incredibly taste aburi poke bowl, the only one in the city, that I know of. “Win the challenge and a trip to Vegas, or win your next potluck!” Don’t deny your cravings.


2887 East Broadway, Vancouver BC
Riz Sushi Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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