A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains. This month, we dive into the trendy tidal wave of poke shops, which continue to pop up around the Triangle.
9573 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville
Dive into this: Rainbow Salmon with edamame, mango, crab salad, red onion, avocado and cilantro in ponzu sauce.
Not into raw fish? The Unagi Bowl (eel, crab salad, edamame, scallions, seaweed salad and pickled radish, tossed in unagi sauce) is a winning alternative with a Japanese accent.
One Fish Two Fish
370-140 E. Main St., Carrboro
Dive into this: The Muliwai Bowl is a kaleidoscope of Faroe Island salmon, wasabi peas, radish, avocado and cucumber, tossed in a citrusy Yuzu Kosho sauce and served over jasmine rice.
Not into raw fish? Try Huli Huli Chicken with mango and cashews over coconut sticky rice. Treat yourself to a Hawaiian-style shave ice for dessert.
Pho & Poke House
2616 Erwin Road, Suite 207, Durham
Dive into this: Mix and match your way to a customized poke bowl starting with a base (white or brown rice, or spring mix), then add a protein (six seafood options plus chicken and tofu), sides, toppings and sauces (plenty of possibilities) to your liking.
Not into raw fish? Take a hint from the restaurant’s name and go for a bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup.
2604 Hillsborough St., Raleigh
Dive into this: First, decide whether you want a small, medium or large bowl. Then it gets more complicated as you choose from five base options, eight proteins, and a bewildering variety of mix-ins, toppings and sauces.
Not into raw fish? How about a tortilla chip base? Add shrimp, corn, cilantro, jalapeños, spicy mayo and Sriracha, and you’ve come closer to an order of nachos than you ever thought possible at a poke bar.
6613 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh
Dive into this: Gotta go with one of the house specialty poke burritos — which, in case you’re new to this variation, are rolled not in a flour tortilla but in sushi rice and nori like the world’s largest sushi hand roll.
Not into raw fish? Try the E.A.V. Special: shrimp tempura, crab salad, spring mix, carrots, cucumber, eel sauce and Sriracha.
8107 Creedmoor Road, Suite 110, Raleigh
Dive into this: The signature Yellowtail Bowl dresses up its namesake fish with a spicy-sweet medley that includes jalapeños, cilantro, mango, cucumber and Sriracha, served over sushi rice and topped with furikake spice blend and crispy garlic bits.
Not into raw fish? How about a noodle bowl? Options include ramen, pho, yakisoba and wonton noodle soup with Chinese style barbecue pork, shrimp and baby bok choy.
Two locations: 810 Ninth St, Durham; and 9924 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville
919-937-9966 (Durham); 234-0914 (Morrisville)
Dive into this: The Kindness Bowl (tuna, salmon, cucumber, mango, masago and crispy shallots; add watermelon radish for extra crunch) is sure to mellow your mood.
Not into raw fish? The Veggie Bowl is a colorful cornucopia of sweet potato, tofu, edamame, avocado and local microgreens tossed in miso ginger sauce.
And making a splash soon at a location near you. . .
▪ The first North Carolina location of Pokéworks, part of rapidly growing chain, is slated to open this fall in downtown Durham’s One City Center, followed by a Raleigh location in 2019. pokeworks.com
▪ Icey Poke recently opened in Fuquay-Varina, according to Triangle Food Guy’s blog. In addition to poke, it serves Thai rolled ice cream. Find Icey Poke on Facebook.