Healthy Lunch Fix: Hong Kong’s Best Rice Bowls From Poke to Donburi

4 Mins Read

Bowls bowls bowls! Our new food obsession and a major healthy eating trend! We covered the best breakfast bowls in town, and now we want to sort out your mid-day meal. For a satisfying and delicious lunch, what could be better than nourishing rice and a protein of your choice? We are so lucky in Asia as many of the region’s cuisines have elevated the rice bowl to greatness- though most are far from healthy. Except the Japanese, that is.

The traditional donburi (the world originally means bowl in Japanese), a rice bowl topped with one or multiple types of sashimi and additions of fish roe, pickled ginger and wasabi,  is a popular dish on many lunchtime menus at Japanese restaurants. The Japanese may also have left their mark on the Hawaiian culinary world in the form of poke, a soy sauce and sea salt seasoned raw fish (usually yellow fin tuna) appetizer served with sesame seeds and chopped spring onion that clever modern minds have converted to a bowl dish with the addition of rice.

Why do we love the rice bowls? Let us count the ways:

  1. Rice is gluten-free so you won’t get a wheat belly.
  2. Protein is key to stave off an afternoon slump- that raw fish is prime brain food.
  3. Rice bowls are filling- mindless snacking is no longer a worry
  4. Brown rice, which is our recommended choice, is a slow burning complex carb, so no sugar rushes.
  5. The condiments turn a simple meal into a gourmet feast: think wasabi mayo, spicy soya and Korean gochujang.

Below are three awesome joints where you can grab a healthful bowl of goodness in between meetings or post lunch sweat sesh.

pololi rice bowl

Authentic Poke – Hawaiian Style Rice Bowls at Pololi

Pololi are Hong Kong’s poke (pronounced poe-kay) originals! They brought the Hawaiian tradition in late 2014 and have been a favourite on the Central healthy lunch circuit ever since. Today they have 3 shops: the Soho original at 35-39 Graham Street, a Sheung Wan one at 305-313 Queen’s Road Central and a Wan Chai store at 4 Swatow Street.

What’s the concept? Easy: you pick your base of lettuce, white or brown rice or mix 2, then you add 2 pokes of your choice from their massive selection of cubed ahi tuna (we love the Avocado Ahi Poke and the Spicy Tradition Ahi) or go for salmon yuzu or even Korean tako octopus. In addition, there are optional dressings you can add too. Most bowls will run you HKD 90, which is pretty decent for sashimi grade fish.

Can’t be bothered to go in person? Not to worry, will get Pololi to your desk no problem.

aloha tuna

Traditional Donburi – Classic Japanese at Don Buri Kings

This tiny and very new takeaway outpost in Sheung Wan located at Manhattan Avenue, 255 Queen’s Road Central serves up typical Japanese one dish lunches but it’s their don buri sashimi bowls we love. Go for a 3 Sashimi Don, Chirashi Don, Sake Don or Negitoro Don. Depending on what you pick, toppings include corn, chopped red onion, seaweed, fish roe and avocado. A Don Buri Kings bowl will run you between HKD 85 to 90 dollars.

Aloha tuna rice bowl

Fun Fusion – A Poke & Donburi Blend at Aloha

Over in Quarry Bay (20 Hoi Kwong Street), Aloha blends the poke approach with the Japanese sashimi approach and creates fusion-forward flavour combo toppings like the Fresh Thai (lime leaves and lemongrass), Go Greek (yogurt, cucumber and lemon), and Hot Korean (gochujang, red chili and sesame oil). Your base is a choice of Japanese sushi rice, whole grain brown rice, salad or organic quinoa, which we love. Another big plus? They have a veggie option: Tofu Avocado. Need it delivered? The kind folks at Food Panda can sort you out.

Images courtesy of Pololi Facebook (including lead photo) & Aloha Facebook



  • Sonalie Figueiras

    2021 Women of Power, 2019 GEN T Honoree, V Label Global Hero, 2 x TEDx Speaker: Serial social entrepreneur & trends forecaster Sonalie Figueiras is a sustainability expert, food futurist and eco-powerhouse who has been inspiring global audiences for over a decade with practical steps on how to fight climate change. Known as the Green Queen of Asia, she is the founder and Editor in Chief of the award-winning Green Queen - the region’s first impact media platform that educates millions of readers on the connection between health, sustainability and the environment and showcases future solutions. She is also the co-founder and CEO of organic sourcing platform Ekowarehouse and climate tech SaaS Source Green, which helps consumer brands quit plastic packaging thanks to proprietary plastic reduction software. In addition, Sonalie is a global keynote speaker and an advisor to multiple mission-driven startups and NGOs, and a venture partner to several VC funds.

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