We had the unique opportunity to live in Hawaii for a year and a half and it was there that we absolutely fell in love with poke!
This traditional Native Hawaiian cuisine consists of fresh raw fish that has been diced into large chunks and then seasoned. You’ll normally see Poke made from ahi (tuna), salmon, octopus, or various types of shellfish. And the most common seasoning in simple shoyu (soy sauce).
In Hawaii, you can find delicious Poke anywhere, even at the corner markets in town. But outside of Hawaii, good luck.
It’s not at all common and when you do find it, it’s generally way overpriced or the portions are tiny. Which is why we were absolutely shocked to find some of the best Poke outside of Hawaii in Vietnam!
Poke Saigon has 2 locations in District 1 in HCMC. They are both cute spaces that are perfect for a quick lunch. Their fish is amazingly fresh and their portions are massive! Don’t miss this one during your visit!
As mentioned previously, the ambiance of Poke Saigon is really darling. The restaurant is small but has large windows and a lot of natural light. Small wooden tables with padded benches and colorful pillows line the walls. And there are fun murals painted on the walls.
There is no cooking involved (other than the rice) so all of the ingredients are behind glass at the counter. So you can see everything you’re about to eat. It makes ordering really easy and the helpful staff can give you some recommendations as well if you’re stuck.
Don’t forget that neither Poke Saigon location is on the ground floor so it can be difficult to find them!
A chalkboard on the wall behind the bar of ingredients explains how to build your Poke bowl. You’ll start with a base which can be sushi rice, brown rice, salad, or half and half. Then you choose which cut of fish you want – salmon, ahi tuna, spicy tuna, or shrimp. Then you pick your sauce and your toppings which include daikon, mango, avocado, pineapple, and more!
They will fill a bowl up to the brim with delicious fish and a ton of extra toppings. You’ll leave feeling full and happy. And everything is relatively healthy!
Whereas Poke is generally sold by weight, the pricing structure at Poke Saigon is really simple. You’ll pay 150,000 VND (~$6.50 USD) for 2 scoops of fish and all the other toppings, and an additional 30,000 VND if you want one extra scoop of fish.
It’s far less expensive than any Poke restaurants that you’ll find in the US.
We would definitely recommend stopping at Poke Saigon during your trip to Ho Chi Minh City, as long as you love raw fish.
Start with a half and half base of brown rice and salad, and opt for the ahi tuna or spicy tuna (which is essentially the same thing, just mixed with spicy mayo). Then load up on all of the fruit and veggies that you love!
Location 1: Second floor, 42 Nguyễn Huệ, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Location 2: First Floor, 42 Bis Ly Tu Trong, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam