With the weather transitioning to warmer days, many folks, myself included, are turning to room temperature/chilled items, like poké for lunch. And today we were getting our fix at Pokey Okey’s downtown location.
This is their newest shop and the only one to offer in house dining, coffee, and spam snacks (more on that later). The original location is in Richmond, with Burnaby being their subsequent.
One thing I appreciate about Pokey Okey is their expansion out of just poké. Serving the numerous employees of downtown, looking for a fast lunch; they offer rice and noodle bowls with chicken, beef, and pork opinions; on top of their namesake staple.
One such limited edition example is their Coconut Truffle Udon. 100% vegan, and 100% something I would crave for and order again. Thick udon noodles in a creamy coconut truffle sauce, topped with button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and plenty of green onions. Finished off with fried shallots for crunch. I have never had noodles so creamy and lush. This is a great representation of what vegan food can be. The light coconut milk, balances out the rich truffle that adds body. I cannot emphasize how well done this is, must try.
Another fully cooked bowl option is their Homestyle Ginger Pork Bowl. Thin cuts of pork, bean sprouts, kimchi, ramen egg, seaweed, mayo, and sesame seeds. This is a safe and comforting choice. I just could have done with a heavier coating of sauce, as the meat was on the dry side; and its pale grey hue could have used a thorough char. But outside of that the bowl was harmonious with plenty of taste and textures, most notable was the combination of crispy beansprouts and juicy radish cubes. The mayonnaise did well to bring it all together and the shredded seaweed topping a nice finisher. But sadly it does not hold up after a reheat. It needed more sauce to inject more moisture for softer bites.
And if you are looking for a smaller snack, only available at the downtown Vancouver location, you can nibble on one of their spam musubi. This is the classic spam rice snack that includes seasoned rice, Nori; and one of Pokey Okey’s perfectly prepared softer boiled ramen eggs. This eggs are prepared with a more gelatinous yolk centre, this offers you the oozy yolk you like, but in a more practical application for this travel ready snack. And you can make it a combo by adding on a side of miso soup.
But if you are going to stop by, you have to try one of their poke bowls. I find that comparatively, Pokey Okey’s line up of ingredients is one of the fullest, which includes some pretty unique offerings, exclusive to them. Each option is listed on their glass counter shield and labeled whimsically by an illustration made animated with eyes and facial expressions. Scallop salad, sweet corn, pulled pork, coconut shrimp, and tempura flakes just to name a few.
You can customize you own perfect bowl starting with your choice of white rice, brown, or a spring mix of leafy greens. From there you pick 4 vegetable options, up to 3 protein options (at an additional charge), how many and much sauce from their 7 varied bottles, and as much dried crunchy toppings you want. Your imagination and how much extra you want to pay is your limitation.
Here we had to opt in for the torched salmon belly, scallops, and ramen egg for extra indulgence. They sat perfectly positioned over our white rice, edamame, seaweed salad, crab salad, and the kimchi radish mix. The salmon belly was torched crispy to the perfect caramelization. Everything works, but if it doesn’t and you hate it, you can only blame yourself.
But if the idea of making that many choices for one meal overwhelms you (like it often does me), then fall back to one of their 5 signature poke bowls. Predetermined perfection, already road tested for customer approval.
This is their most popular red bowl with spicy tuna, spicy salmon, flying fish roe, seaweed salad, kimchi radish, purple cabbage, fried onion, seaweed flakes, and spicy mayo sauce. Slightly spicy and plenty creamy, with a good amount of seafood to chew through. It also has a good ratio of rice to toppings. I would and could recommend. My guest went so bold as to say that this was his new favourite poke place after trying this bowl.
In conclusion, this is definitely one of the better Vancouver poke options out there. Plenty of character and flavour in all their offerings: from their extensive topping list to their cute ingredient characters, that they need to sell as sticker packs.
Pokey Okey Hornby
995 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 3G5