Downtown Edmonton’s vibrant 104th Street will soon savour tastes of the Hawaiian islands as ‘ONO POKE CO. announces the opening of their new restaurant located at 10142 104 Street. Just steps away from the ICE District, this is the first eatery led by culinary up and comer, Chef Lawrence Hui and is scheduled to open Saturday, June 3 at 11:00am.

Hui, a graduate of NAIT’s culinary program spent time on the stunning island of Maui, learning about the Hawaiian culture and its culinary origins from acclaimed chefs. The Westin Nanea (Chef Ikaika Manaku), Ka’anapali Beach Hotel (Chef Tom Muromoto), Hula Grill (Chef Charlie Owen) and Roy’s Ka’anapali (Chef Jesse Anacleto) played host to Chef Hui.

“I love bold flavours, unique textures and exotic ingredients that excite the palate.” says Hui, “Hawaiian cuisine is truly unparalleled and after learning its history from Ka’anapali’s most beloved chefs, I know Edmonton has an appetite for this. There are so many synergies between Maui and Edmonton in terms of their cultural diversity and values surrounding family and community.”

Poke (pronounced poh-kay) means “to cut” and can be described as a raw fish salad seasoned with Japanese and Asian flavours. Traditionally made with cubed Ahi Tuna,  Shoyu (soy sauce), sesame oil and green onions – modern day versions can feature proteins including octopus, beef and scallops – while seasoned with chilies, spicy mayonnaise, fish eggs, dried seaweed and nuts. Poke can be served on its own as an appetizer or snack and often as an entree on a bed of rice with vegetable garnish.

Chef Hui’s umami-packed dishes boast well-balanced flavour profiles influenced by the ethnic diversity of Hawaii’s people. Inspired by island eats, guests will recognize nods to Filipino, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Puerto Rican cuisines.

‘ONO POKE CO.’s menu highlights six signature dishes showcasing Ahi tuna, Albacore tuna, Atlantic salmon, a vegetarian option featuring beets, and a spicy braised rendition of pulled Kalua pork. Each are hand cut and marinated daily, placed on a choice of seasoned rice, quinoa or mixed greens, dressed in an assortment of fresh and pickled vegetables, then topped with a crave-inducing crunch. Find Chef Hui’s version of Hawaiian Chili Water – a condiment found all over the islands made with a secret recipe using chilies, garlic, ginger, water and vinegar – on every table and for purchase.

For those on the go, a selection of poke and sides including homemade kim chi, Shoyu Japchae and baked taro chips are available for takeout. Next month, a counter producing snow-like Hawaiian shave ice drizzled with housemade flavoured syrups will offer a sweet ending to any meal or a refreshing snack.

“I’m so humbled by the generosity of Maui’s culinary pros.” says Chef Hui, “These amazing chefs invited me into their kitchens, homes and hearts. I hope to give Edmontonians a taste of Hawaii…One that will make my new mentors proud.”

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Devoted to bringing authentic Hawaiian poke to the Alberta prairies, ‘Ono Poke Co. is based on Chef Lawrence Hui’s love for seafood and quest to honour Hawaii’s diverse culinary roots and ethnic fusions.  Inspired by a visit to Maui and mentorships with Ka’anapali Beach’s most seasoned chefs, Hui created a bold menu showcasing fresh seafood, housemade marinades, sauces, locally sourced vegetables and exotic Asian garnishes.

“Visit us once and become Ohana – Hawaiian for family. Everyone is welcome to our table, it’s the Aloha Spirit.”