Posts Tagged ‘Elmer Guzman’

Poke Paradise – Experiencing the Best Poke Around Hawaii – Part I

January 1, 2010
 Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

I gotta admit… One of the perks of working on these “best of” pieces is the eating. I’m lucky enough to grind some of the most onolicious foods Hawaii’s got to offer and live to write about it. This month, I’m covering one of my all-time favorite snack/food/pupu/whatever-you-wanna-call-it: Poke! Aurite!

According to Wikipedia, poke (pronounced poh-kay) is “a raw fish salad served as an appetizer or main course in Hawaiian cuisine. Poke is Hawaiian for ‘section’ or ‘to slice or cut’.”

The expert in local kine poke is local kine chef Sam Choy. In his new book, simply named “Poke” he shares some history: “In the old days, the whole slice would be eaten, skin, bones, and all. Inedible portions were picked or spat out. When the raw fish was ‘prepared,’ it meant the fish was mashed (lomi), or other ingredients were added to it, mostly salt and savories like ‘opihi, lobster, sea urchin roe, kukui nut relish, and different kinds of limu (seaweed) – manauea, lipe`epe`e, kohu, lipoa, etc.”

Buy This Book from

Growing up as a second generation Japanese-American, raw fish and seafood has always been a part of my life, so poke was a natural and, frankly, easy transition for my taste buds. In high school, I worked in the seafood department at my neighborhood market and became somewhat known for my poke concoctions. I remember customers asking if I made the poke that day, and, if I said, “No, I just came in,” they would frown and walk away. I took that as a great compliment.

My goal with this article is simple: Give props to the local establishments, big and small, who are doing poke right, right here in Hawaii. I’m proud to be from Hawaii, and feel that it’s almost my duty as a local boy to spread the word about those who are doing their part to perpetuate the rich culture that is poke.

Yama’s Fish Market
Yama’s is a small fish market I used to frequent during my old school UH days, back when they were near Poha Lane. Now, they’re right down the road on Young Street and is almost always a pumpin’!

Yama's Fish Market Sign
Yama’s Fish Market Sign

Though their Hawaiian plate lunches are pretty mean, my main focus whenever I go to Yama’s is their Ahi Masago Poke. It’s to die for! Trust.

Ahi Masago Poke - just made for me! - $11.95/pound
Ahi Masago Poke – just made for me! – $11.95/pound

Masago is already an escape from the norm of “standard” poke ingredients, but furikake on top of that? Combine that with green onions, sesame seeds (which may be part of the furikake), shoyu maybe?, and choke sesame seed oil, and you getcho self one winnah!

Yama's Ahi Masago Poke up close
Yama’s Ahi Masago Poke up close

I’ve been trying to reach Yama’s Fish Market’s President Brian Yamamoto for a soundbite, but da buggah is hard to reach. If you’re out there Brian, holla, and I’ll add your quote here.

(UPDATE! Mr. Yamamoto emailed me, thanking me for the plug. Mahaloz!)

Until then, go give the Ahi Masago Poke from Yama’s a try, but be sure to save some for me kay? 🙂

Yama’s Fish Market
2332 Young Street
Honolulu, HI 96826 (map)
(808) 941-9994
Mon-Sat: 9am-7pm
Sun: 9am-5pm
(Holiday Hours)

Golden Mart
Not too many people know about this hidden gem in Mililani, but it’s quickly become one of my all-time favorite places to get my poke fix on (like Donkey Kong).

Outside Golden Mart in Mililani
Outside Golden Mart in Mililani

Located in a small strip mall on the Mililani Golf Course side of Kamehameha Highway (across Mililani Shopping Center), Golden Mart sells what you’d traditionally find at a local mini mart like snacks, beer and cigarettes. How they separate themselves from the pack however, is their mouth-watering selection of hot foods, boiled peanuts, and poke.

Three popular pokes from Golden Mart: Creamy Wasabi Ahi, Spicy Tuna and the Golden Mart Special
Three popular pokes from Golden Mart: Creamy Wasabi Ahi, Spicy Tuna and the Golden Mart Special

Employee Cori, and owner Julie Miyatake, who doubles as a USPS employee, both agree that Fridays are the best days to come if you’re looking for poke as the entire display case is filled with the different varieties they carry. My personal favorites are the Creamy Wasabi Ahi Poke…

Creamy Wasabi Ahi Poke in the display case
Creamy Wasabi Ahi Poke in the display case

Creamy Wasabi Ahi Poke up close - $10.99/pound
Creamy Wasabi Ahi Poke up close – $10.99/pound

… and the Golden Mart Special.

Golden Mart Special with the special sauce on the side -$9.99/pound
Golden Mart Special with the special sauce on the side -$9.99/pound

Golden Mart Special with the special sauce inside
Golden Mart Special with the special sauce inside

Although, I’m not a fan of wasabi (I don’t even use it on my sashimi/sushi), the Creamy Wasabi Ahi Poke brok’ da mout’! How they make it is still a mystery, but if I had to guess, I’d say the tobiko-like topping (they’re green!) is filled with (or marinated in?) wasabi flavoring, while the rest of the poke is mixed with mayo (and wasabi?) in a creamy ahi sorta way. 😛

The Golden Mart Special’s lure is the Golden Mart special sauce, hands down. Filled with a concoction of liquids including shoyu, sesame seed oil and other mysterious ingredients that I’d pay to know 😛 , this sauce is what keeps ’em comin’ back. You can’t even get the special sauce (other than paying for it separately) if you don’t order the Golden Mart Special!

For good measure (and since I’ve got the photo 😉 ), here’s also a shot of Golden Mart’s Spicy Tuna poke for kicks… another winnah!

Spicy Tuna Poke
Spicy Tuna Poke

Golden Mart
95-119 Kamehameha Highway
Mililani, HI, 96789 (map)
(808) 625-2442‎

While, we’re in the Mililani area, let’s visit the place that Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ Guy Fieri recently visited: Poke Stop.

Poke Stop
Chef Elmer Guzman, a graduate of the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts program, has trained under Alan Wong, worked as a sous chef under Emeril Lagasse, and was the Executive Chef at Sam Choy’s Diamond Head Restaurant before opening his two Poke Stop locations (one in Waipahu and one in Mililani Mauka).

In addition to serving up “gourmet food at plate lunch prices” (their catch phrase), Guzman and company offer a bevy of poke to live up to their namesake. Some of their “must tries” are the Sweet Onion Ahi poke, the Blackened Ahi poke, the Furikake Salmon poke, the Ginger Scallion Shrimp poke, “Da Works” Oio poke, and my personal favorite, the Spicy Creamy Ahi poke.

Spicy Creamy Ahi Poke - $10.95/pound
Spicy Creamy Ahi Poke – $10.95/pound

Poke Stop – Waipahu
94-050 Farrington Highway, E-4
Waipahu, HI, 96797 (map)
(808) 676-8100

Poke Stop – Mililani Mauka
95-1840 Meheula Parkway
Mililani, HI, 96789 (link on Google maps is inaccurate. Should be here.)
(808) 626-3400

And, to my neighbor island bruthas and sistahs, no worries. I gotcho back! Here’s a little Honolulu love to The Fish Express in Lihue, Kauai.

The Fish Express
Very conveniently located on Kuhio Highway in Lihue, Kauai…

Outside The Fish Express in Lihue, Kauai
Outside The Fish Express in Lihue, Kauai

… I like to pick up a quarter pound or so on my way to Hamura’s Saimin. The cold saltiness of the fish matches perfectly with the hot saltiness of the saimin.

(Previously Frozen) Ahi Limu Poke from The Fish Express - $6.99/pound
(Previously Frozen) Ahi Limu Poke from The Fish Express – $6.99/pound

The Fish Express (Kauai)
3343 Kuhio Hwy. # 10
Lihue, HI 96766 (map)
(808) 245-9918
Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm
Sun: 10am-4pm

Alas, I’ve been tasked to make my poke for a New Year’s family gathering, so here’s a lil’ step by step action that will 1) help you if/when you make your own batch and 2) help to refresh my memory! LOL! Enjoy!

Diced/Cubed Ahi blocks with Hawaiian salt and green onions added (props to Ryan Moriguchi for reeling in the fish!)
Diced/Cubed Ahi blocks with Hawaiian salt and green onions added (props to Ryan Moriguchi for reeling in the fish!)

Inamona (kukui nut) added
Inamona (kukui nut) added

Limu Kohu/Ogo (seaweed) added
Limu Kohu/Ogo (seaweed) added

Close up of each portion greeting each other
Close up of each portion greeting each other

Everything mixed together with sesame seed oil and shoyu
Everything mixed together with sesame seed oil and shoyu

Though, I’d love to continue, I don’t think my stomach can take any more of this torture (it’s lunch time as I write this 😛 )! Besides, I need to save some poke shots for parts 2 and 3 (and 4?)! 😛

Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ve got in store: Tokkuri-tei, Tamashiro Market Inc., JJ’s Seafood, Pa`ina Café, Off the Wall, Safeway, Costco, and Sam’s Club. My “To Do” list includes: Ruger Market, Ono’s (Kapahulu), Fresh Catch, Masa & Joyce, Alicia’s Market, Tamura’s, and Tanioka’s.

If you have any hook-ups/connections to any of the places above, holla! I’d love to interview them! If you have any poke (dish) suggestions for the above as well, or new locations altogether, feel free to let me know in the comment area below!

Happy New Year y’all! Shoots!

 Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Last Minute Christmas Shopping? Duck Soup!

December 1, 2006

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Content for this article is very dated. Many links will not work.]

If you’re anything like me, your brain has not yet started to fathom the fact that Christmas is right around the corner. Still hazy from the turkey leftovers that seem to return in every form and fashion, you convince yourself that there’s still planny time to do your shopping.

The reality is that there isn’t. C-Day: Monday, December 25, 2006 is like, right around the corner! Holy Kris Kringle, Batman!

Lucky for you, The Ed is here to save you and your valued relationships yet again. Come with me as we explore a few, last minute Christmas shopping options for us berry belated individuals.

If you click the Marketplace button on this site, you’ll reach’s Marketplace, an online shopping site for chic Hawaii products. No tiki torches or geeky aloha print shirts here… Just hip apparel and entertainment goods dope enough to give as gifts to locals and locals-at-heart.

Powered by our friends at e808, the selection of truly “local” products is mind-boggling. You can purchase apparel from Kai Clothing, Maiden Hawaii and even exclusive stuff from the Duke Kahanamoku collection, among others.

Kai Clothing Special!
During the month of December, BUY 3 KAI CLOTHING TEES, GET THE 4TH FREE!
(Purchase 4 Kai Clothing tees, and within five business days, 1 tee will be refunded back to your credit card. You will receive an emailed credit receipt within five business days.):: BUY 3 GET THE 4TH FREE! ::

And what about local kine books like “The 50 Greatest Hawai`i Music Albums of All-Time,” “Israel Kamakawiwo’ole ‘IZ: The Songbook Collection’ Sheet Music,” “Eddie Would Go,” “Pidgin To Da Max,” or cookbooks from our great island chefs: Sam Choy, Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, Dave “DK” Kodama and Elmer Guzman.

Not enough? How about the cheapest local CDs around for $11.98!? You can find CDs from your island favorites like the Makaha Sons, Israel Kamakawiwoole, Jack Johnson, Jake Shimabukuro, Kealii Reichel, Kalapana, Natural Vibrations, Hapa, Keahiwai and more

How about DVDs from Rell Sunn, Israel Kamakawiwoole, Jake Shimabukuro, Augie T, Bu La’ia, Rap Reiplinger, Mel Cabang, Andy Bumatai and Da Braddahs or miscellaneous goodies like Coffees from Hawaii, Island Home and Kitchen products, Stickers & Things and Calendars from Kim Taylor Reece? Yep, these are all available from the comfort of your own home, but be sure to order early! With the Christmas rush, recommends ordering before the following dates in order to get your products delivered by Christmas:

Order by:

  • 12/15 via Priority Mail or
  • 12/18 via Express Mail



Oceanic Mall

Oceanic Mall
Don’t have a computer? Why not give the Oceanic Mall on Digital Channel 001 a whirl? Powered by Fulfillment Werks, the Oceanic Mall empowers you to browse products from popular merchants around the island through the magic of your digital cable enabled television.

Merchants like McCully Bicycle, Paradise Florists, SWAM (Shiroma’s Wine and More), Island Mall, Wholesale Unlimited and RainBowTique offer a bevy of products that you can browse through and ultimately order through a posted telephone number. Phase 2, with real time credit card transaction through your TV is currently scheduled for 2007. To get to the Oceanic Mall,

  1. Tune to Oceanic Digital Channel 001
  2. Select Marketplace
  3. Select Mall

Don’t have Digital Cable? Call (808) 643-2337 to order today.

Jan Nadamoto of Fulfillment Werks also suggests placing your order at least 2 weeks prior to Christmas in order to receive your products in time for the holidays.

——————————————————————————– Marketplace Marketplace
Similar to the Oceanic Mall on Channel 001, the Marketplace allows you to browse from the UH RainBowTique and Wholesale Unlimited product lines – using your Internet connected computer – and place orders using a posted telephone number. Secure, online ordering is scheduled to become available shortly after the Oceanic Mall version.

The Oceanic Food Court

The Oceanic Food Court (also in the Marketplace), however, is fully interactive as we speak. Just punch in a few details about your Oceanic Account or come here after logging into MyAccount and BAM! you’re added to the mix… with essence! Choose items from Cybee Restaurant’s or Flamingo Pearl City’s or Pizza Hut’s menu and have them delivered after placing your order online. But Ed, what does having food delivered to me have to do with my last minute Christmas shopping? Ah, details. Let’s just call it a Christmas present to yourself and move on shall we… ? 😉


Actually, that’s pretty much all I’ve got to report to you for this month regarding last minute Christmas shopping through Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s array of products and services. Well, you can always, as they say, give the gift of cable… which ranges from Digital Cable Service, Road Runner, Digital Phone, DVR, etc. Oceanic’s offers for the month of December are as follows FYI (find the complete details on these at

  • Order Road Runner or Digital Phone and get HBO and HBO On Demand for $7 more per month for the first 6 months.
  • Order Road Runner and get the First Month Free
  • Order Digital Phone and receive Free Installation and Your First Month Free
  • Order DVR Self-Install and get the First Month Free
  • Get DVR for $4.95 per month for 6 months.

Call 643-2337 to order any of the above for yourself or as gifts.


One last hint for you extremely late gift givers… Once you pass the cut-off dates mentioned above and start sweating in your shorts about what to do, why not give the electronic superstores a looksee. Many of them, like BestBuy and Circuit City, have In-Store pick-up options so you can browse for and place your order online, and then physically pick it up without having to go through the whole rigmarole of looking for the product at the store and standing in line to purchase it.

Good luck with your shopping folks… Which reminds me… I have to get crack-a-lackin’ on mine! Yikes! Have a happy holiday season with your friends and family gang. I’ll see you here again next year!