Poke shops popping up across Southern California

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Beyond pumpkin spice, Hawaiian poke is the latest food craze to hit Southern California with local eateries creating a wide variety of poke possibilities.

Wendy Goodman likes poke. No, not Gumby's pal but rather the Hawaiian fish salad.

"I think it's healthy, and I think that's why it's catching on," Goodman said.

At her local Whole Foods Market there's even a "Poke of the Day" at the pub and fish counter, and a poke buffet where you can customize it with fruit, veggies, and other toppings.

As some fear the raw fish taste, they let you try before you buy.

In Santa Monica, Perry Danne discovered his new lunch spot after seeing a daily crowd.

"I just see the line. Every day, it's like out the door so I'm like, 'Well, I've got to try this place,'" Danne said. "I've been here about every day for two weeks."

From Pasadena to Venice, poke places are popping up all over Southern California with crazy variety to the concept.

Traditionally, poke is marinated raw ahi tuna salad. But at Sweetfin Poke, co-owner Seth Cohen offers other options for those concerned about mercury.

"We do offer snapper and salmon which are a lot lower in mercury," Cohen said.

In order for it to be a good meal, you have to know how to order. First, watch rice portions. Your protein should be about four to eight ounces depending on your size and energy level, and as always pile on that produce.

Edamame, roasted shishito peppers, cucumber, kale, kelp noodles and crispy onions are some of the choices at this Santa Monica spot, and most people like some carbs with that.

"What we actually serve is something called bamboo rice. It's a rice that's milled with a bamboo plant, so it's really high in chlorophyll and has a green tint to it," Cohen said.

If you order poke properly, you'll get a balance of healthy protein, good fats, fiber and loads of nutrients that many find extremely satisfying.

"It's healthier, it's more affordable, it's more customizable and it's also portable. People love to take it to go," Cohen said.

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foodfood coachfishtrendstaying healthySanta MonicaLos Angeles County
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