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Markets & Stores

Tuna Poke @ Santo Market Island Deli | San Jose Japantown

Melanie Wong | Dec 19, 201509:13 PM    

Taking note of the poke shops cropping up, looks like Hawaiian-inspired seafood poke is the up and coming trend. This week I ignored the newcomers and went old school visiting Santo Market (since 1946) to try the tuna poke. It's available in shoyu or spicy versions. A poke bowl (with hot rice, furikake and cucumber salad) is $9.99. Or poke can be purchased in bulk for $16.99 per pound. I bought a scant half-pint container of each type, weighing a little over a half-pound apiece, to have at home with my own steamed rice. Eyeballing the poke bowls that eat-in customers were eating, one of my containers had nearly double the portion of a bowl.

Both tuna poke styles were very good, as good as the better places in the islands. The tuna's cut into 1/2" cubes, not mashed or diced too small, and trimmed well. I did not run into any gristle, skin or blood lines. The shoyu version is spiked with sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, a bit of well-plucked bean sprouts, and crunchy limu seaweed, as well as something magical that takes you back to the tropics. The spicy one has a creamy marinade (mayonnaise?) and medium-hot spicing with a lot of chopped scallions. It got better overnight, smoothing out the brashness of the heat and infusing more of the alium's flavor. I definitely needed steamed rice to counteract the salt of the shoyu one and the heat of the spicy poke.

I picked up a six-pack of Island Sun lilikoi to complete my Hawaiian meal. I also got a pint of Ba-chan's takuan which taste quite fresh and are less salty than commercial versions.

What else do 'hounds recommend here?

Santo Market
245 E Taylor St
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone:(408) 295-5406
http://santomarket.com/
https://www.facebook.com/santomarket/

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