What Is Poke Sauce? (Origins, Taste + More)

Hawaii has tons of unique and delicious dishes that are bursting with flavor, and many Hawaiian dishes are growing in popularity.

One Hawaiian recipe you might be curious about is poke sauce. I looked up the facts, and here is what I discovered!

What Is Poke Sauce?

Poke sauce is a type of sauce that is used to go with poke bowls, a seafood-based rice bowl that originated in Hawaii. There are various recipes for poke sauce, but most poke sauces will have a soy sauce base. Moreover, poke sauce can have a multitude of flavors, which include salty, sweet, savory, and spicy.

Do you want to find out more about poke sauce? Check out the rest of the article to learn more!

Poke sauce is a type of sauce that is used to pour over a poke bowl, which is a type of dish that involves raw fish, rice, and other ingredients.

Poke is a Hawaiian word that means to slice or cut and poke bowls are called that because poke bowls have sliced seafood, but other sliced ingredients may be added to poke bowls.

Normally, poke sauce accompanies poke bowls, hence why poke sauce is called poke sauce.

Are There Different Kinds of Poke Sauce?

There are different kinds of poke sauce because people can easily make their own recipes of poke sauce with their unique spins.

However, there is also store-bought poke sauce available that you can use to have ready-made poke sauce.

For instance, Kikkoman sells a poke sauce that has soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, lemon juice, seaweed powder, and capsicum extract, creating a flavorful poke sauce.

One of the most popular recipes for homemade poke sauce is ponzu sauce, which includes citrus, soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, and red chilies.

You can easily tweak any recipe for poke sauce to create one that suits your tastes, so the varieties of poke sauce are endless.

What Does Poke Sauce Taste Like?

How poke sauce tastes will depend on the exact kind of poke sauce you get since there are different types of poke sauce.

Normally, poke sauce is a mixture of savory and slightly salty flavors, and your poke sauce can also have sweet and spicy tastes depending on what is in your poke sauce.

Where Is Poke Sauce From?

Poke sauce was made in Hawaii since poke sauce was made to accompany poke bowls, hence why they have the same origins.

While a poke bowl looks like a Japanese dish because poke bowls include raw fish, seaweed, and rice, poke bowls are a proudly Polynesian dish because Polynesian islands also have access to these ingredients.

How Is Poke Sauce Made?

Poke sauce is normally made by mixing several condiments and spices to create a sauce.

How poke sauce is exactly made will greatly vary since each manufacturer and recipe will have different ways of creating poke sauce.

However, some core ingredients are considered “essential” when making poke sauce.

Classic poke sauces will have a soy sauce base since poke bowls go with a seafood bowl so soy sauce best compliments most poke bowls.

Most poke sauces will also include lime or lemon juice, sesame oil, and a type of spice, which can be black pepper.

Of course, there are no limits as to what you can add to a poke sauce because many people add finely chopped chili, sugar, ginger, mayonnaise, and much more.

How Do You Use Poke Sauce?

How Do You Use Poke Sauce?

Poke sauce is normally poured over a poke bowl to season the food, similar to how you would dip sushi into soy sauce.

However, you can use poke sauce in other recipes that are not related to poke bowls.

For instance, you can use poke sauce as a fun dip for sushi and sashimi if you want a more unique twist.

Moreover, you can also use poke sauce in recipes that call for soy sauce given that your poke sauce’s base is soy sauce.

However, it is important to remember that poke sauce tends to contain other ingredients, so you may have a different flavor in your recipe when you use poke sauce to substitute soy sauce.

Can You Buy Poke Sauce?

You can buy poke sauce in many groceries and online because major brands like Kikkoman have created sauces specially made for poke bowls.

Does Poke Sauce Have Gluten?

Most poke sauces do contain gluten since many poke sauce recipes will use soy sauce that contains wheat, making poke sauce not gluten-free.

However, you can get certain brands, like Kikkoman Gluten-Free Poke Sauce, that have poke sauce that is free of gluten.

Moreover, you can make your own gluten-free poke sauce by simply switching out any soy sauce in the recipe with a gluten-free soy sauce and avoiding any gluten-containing ingredients.

Is Poke Sauce The Same As Eel Sauce?

Poke sauce is not the same as eel sauce because they have different ingredients and ways to make each sauce.

For instance, poke sauce recipes can greatly vary but poke sauce usually creates a thin, soy sauce-based sauce.

On the other hand, the recipe for eel sauce is fairly standard, and eel sauce is much thicker and darker than poke sauce.

What Is A Good Substitute For Poke Sauce?

One of the best substitutes for poke sauce is to simply make your own poke sauce with the ingredients you already have.

You can make a simple poke sauce if you have soy sauce, sesame oil, and spice you like such as chilies and black pepper.

If you want a quick replacement for poke sauce, you can use regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and tamari soy sauce as an easy substitute for poke sauce.

Take a look at our related articles to learn if soy sauce is used in Vietnamese food, teriyaki sauce versus soy sauce, and what soy sauce is used for.


Poke sauce is a type of sauce made to accompany poke bowls, which are a popular Hawaiian seafood dish.

There are many variations of poke sauce because you can easily add other ingredients into poke sauce to change the flavor.

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