Consider yourself lucky if you get to eat poke on your next Hawaii vacation. There’s been an ahi shortage recently that boosted prices of the popular luau appetizer. The fresh fish, that’s usually cubed and seasoned, now costs about $16 a pound, as compared to $8 when there wasn’t a gap in the food chain.

For tourists, this could mean paying more for the poke menu item at restaurants and possibly more for a luau ticket. Poke is a must for any luau, as the traditional feast represents an important chunk of the Hawaiian culture: food. Not having poke at a luau is like not having pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.

The price depends heavily on how the poke’s prepared. I went to Foodland the other day to compare prices of poke. It’s about $14.99 per pound for ahi limu poke, which is poke with a seaweed seasoning. The most expensive poke ($17.99 per pound) was the spicy flavored one. At this rate, it’s going to be up there with escargot – becoming a really expensive island delicacy.

You won’t only find poke at luau festivities but also at parties serving platters of pupu (appetizers). This year, our Super Bowl Sunday spread was missing this particular fish dish, as sort of our protest to the ridiculously high poke prices. Luckily, however, one of our neighbors saved the day when he dropped off some homemade poke! Even his family refused to buy poke from the store.

If you do get the chance to try it, though, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity. It may take a little more out of your wallets, but it’ll be worth it in the end, as it’s yet another way to experience Hawaii with your taste buds!


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