56-505 Kamehameha Highway; 293-9878. Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends.
Kahuku Superette makes a bold claim on a banner on the rustic storefront: Home of the Original Poke Bowl.
They didn’t call it a “bowl” back in 2002, but it was poke served atop rice in a small plastic bowl, said Harmon Lee, whose wife, Tina, is president of the company.
Back then a container of rice was $1, but the Lees started offering half the amount of rice for 50 cents in a container that could be topped with a customer’s poke of choice. The shop’s poke has been written up in the Wall Street Journal, among many media accounts.
A popular version was, and remains, shoyu poke made with a special homemade sauce, but other varieties such as ahi seasoned with Hawaiian salt and other garnishes, tako poke and lomi salmon are also fresh and tasty.
From the beginning the poke bowls were favorites of students from Kahuku High School, and that’s still true. If a kid comes in with only $3, Harmon Lee will add enough market-priced poke to reach about $2.75, so the kid-on-a-budget still can cover the tax at checkout, he said.