Original Bowl’s poke: A fresh take for sushi-lovers

Original Bowl’s poke  A fresh take for sushi-lovers
(Photos: Zeid Odeh)
Poke bowls — savory sushi rice topped with seafood, vegetables, and sauces and consumed using chopsticks — are like sushi rolls, just in bowl form.
اضافة اعلان
Recently, I was hit with a poke craving, and as I browsed the net searching for a good restaurant, I came across Original Bowl.

What got my mouth watering was the description on their website: “From China, Korea, Thailand, and beyond, our menu honors traditional recipes while using only the highest quality and sustainable ingredients.”

I decided to try the restaurant out, excited to not only satisfy my craving for a poke bowl, but also to dip into different cuisines.

A note on sustainable diningBefore I jump into this journey of an Asian culinary adventure, as a food and beverage professional, I want to highlight the term “sustainability”, used by Original Bowl to describe a pillar of their values.

In the food world, “sustainability” is linked directly to not using plastic. However, it goes much deeper than paper straws and cardboard cutlery. Most food items we consume in Jordan are not considered sustainable because of our high imports of meats and seafood. Yes, certain types of cattle and fish are farmed locally, but when was the last time you heard of Jordanian Salmon? The process of transporting food items means a massive carbon footprint with all the traveling the product has to do to reach the consumer.

Sustainability in Jordan is quite difficult because, beyond animal products, we do not farm a wide variety of ingredients. While the produce available to us at markets is increasing in array, the question is whether those fruits and vegetables are locally grown or imported.

Beyond this country-wide question of sustainability, I found the amount of plastic used for Original Bowl’s end products shocking given their stated values. While I would turn a blind eye to the food aspect given the context, the packaging should have at least matched those values.

Countless companies can provide chic cardboard or recycled packaging that is not doing the same environmental damage as plastic. Sure, sustainable items might cost a little bit more, but it is a small price to pay to stick with the values that a company holds.

The appetizersMoving on to the food experience of Original Bowl — I ordered the spring rolls, the crab bomb, California poke, volcano poke, and 12 pieces of sushi.

Starting with the spring rolls, they were relatively small for the price, but flavor-wise they hit the spot, especially with the addition of Original Bowl’s sweet and sour dip.

The crab bomb — crab sticks made into a ball and deep-fried — had an excessively wet texture. I would have added another component inside the ball, perhaps some togarashi spice and breadcrumbs, and coated the ball with tempura batter. The incorporation of some vegetables within would have added a nice crunch.

The kani salad, which is now very popular even in restaurants serving different international cuisines, needed a little kick. Sliced mangoes and some diced red chili would have given a delightful twist to the typical kani salad. Also, on a technical note, the vegetables should have been julienned — the inconsistency of the cut prevented the carrots from bending properly and made the bite a bit too crunchy.

The pokeAfter nibbling my way through the appetizers, I wanted to focus on the main reason I ordered in the first place: the poke. The bowl I had ordered featured a nice variety of items and an appropriate quantity of food. The seafood smelled fresh, and the addition of ginger on top was a plus for me.

Sprinkling a little soy sauce on the dish and giving the medley a mix is all it takes to eat a poke bowl. I tried adding some spicy mayo that was served with another item to the rice and seafood, and it brought all the flavors together in a beautiful medley; possibly, it would be good to keep spicy mayo as one of the poke ingredients for added flavor.

It can get tricky to let the main ingredients speak for themselves without overpowering them with soy sauce, even though drenching the dish in soy sauce could save you from a too-dry experience. Because of this, I recommend exploring other sauces, including the spicy mayo or a ponzu sauce, to bring some variety and class to the poke experience.

In six words: Average food experience with great poke
What I liked: The poke bowl
What I did not like: The crab balls
Restaurant best for: Friend gatherings, takeout
Cost for one: JD12
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Read more Good Food
Jordan News