KTA Super Stores makes fresh poke varieties in Hilo, Hawaii

KTA Super Stores have been locally owned and operated since 1916 on the Big Island of Hawaii. I have a ton of childhood memories at this supermarket in my hometown of Hilo, HI. After my family moved to the mainland, my grandpa was always excited to see his grandchildren over the summer. My grandpa would make a trip to KTA to pick up a carton of Meadow Gold Guava Juice and Miko Pupu Rockets. These items would be waiting for me in the refrigerator after he picked us up from the airport. As we grew older, we made our own trips to KTA to stock up on our local favorites from Portuguese sausage, Punalu’u breads, bento, and poke. Put on a pot of sticky rice before you go to the market so you can start chowing down when you get home.

KTA has a large selection of different pokes to choose from and are sold by the pound. The base flavoring is usually shoyu (soy sauce), sesame seed oil, and Hawaiian salt. Here are some of our favorites:

Hokki Gai (surf clam) Poke is chunked clam mixed with sesame seeds, ogo (seaweed), green onions. The clams are so sweet and slightly briny. The ogo adds a slight crunchy texture. The green onion adds a refreshing flavor. Rating: 5/5

Marlin Poke is chunked swordfish mixed with ogo, minced garlic, sesame, and chili pepper flakes. Swordfish is a meaty fish with an assertive flavor. The garlic and chili pepper tame it down to bring sweetness out of the fish. The ogo adds a slightly briny flavor to tie it all together. Rating: 4/5

Spicy Tuna Poke is chunked tuna mixed with tobiko (fish roe), green onion, and diced onion in a spicy mayo. Similar to what you would find in a spicy tuna roll in a sushi bar. The difference is that this is chunked rather than minced so texturally you’ll have the soft tuna chunks and the crisp, pungent diced onion. The tobiko bursts in your mouth with sweet briny goodness. Rating: 5/5

Tako Poke is tako (octopus) mixed with ogo, minced garlic, and chili pepper flakes. The tako is sliced and acts like a sponge, absorbing all of the flavors, yet retaining the sweet tako flavor. The ogo’s slightly crunchy texture contrasts nicely with the tender tako. Rating: 4.5/5

Wakame Salad is a good side dish to poke or to put your poke on instead of rice. KTA seasons it perfectly with a balance of sweet, sour, and salty flavors. You have the natural briny flavor from the seaweed itself and then the sweet sour flavor of rice vinegar. I could eat a whole plate of this! Rating: 5/5

If you’re looking for quick eats, KTA has an abundance of choices. Poke No Ka Oi!

For more information:
50 E Puainako St
Hilo, HI 96720
Hours: Daily from 5:30am to 12:00am