Today, we will be taking a departure from our usual blog posts to shout out one of our brothers in the food truck business: Da Poke Man. Now some of y’all must be thinking why we would boost on our own blog someone who sells practically the same product as we do? Well, the answer is that the food truck community, especially in the Bay Area, is more tight-knit than you think!
Ray Serrano, owner and CEO of Da Poke Man, is practically an institution when it comes to Hawaiian cuisine here in the Bay Area. The methodical way he makes his poke and other Hawaiian specialties has earned him a legion of loyal followers that would show up in his food trucks. Not satisfied with that, he went another step further and now serves the thousands of attendees right at the home of the San Francisco Giants: Oracle Park.
But beyond the accolades he has created for himself in the culinary field, Ray has been big on giving back to the communities he calls home. Last December, Da Poke Man has partnered with Ohana United to provide meals to those financially affected by the pandemic. Also wanting to promote better health in his community through sports and active recreation, he has also sponsored his own softball team in San Bruno. Lastly, he has also sponsored a child scholar in the Philippines through the Project Pearls
initiative and has even encouraged his followers on social media to join him and sponsor a child as well.
Be sure to show him some love on social media - @da_poke_man on Instagram and check out his
schedule at www.dapokeman.com!
We are a country known for it’s diverse cuisine. One need not travel to Tokyo to taste the best Japanese Curry; or visit Athens for some good Taramasalata. San Francisco alone boasts of different kitchens serving the finest and most authentic dishes. While this is true, food is only the second best thing about our nation (at least that’s what I think).
Our diversity is what makes this country great and strong. My parents hail from small towns in central Philippines. They were recruited to come to the United States for their skills. My mom was a young midwife when she migrated. She met my dad, who was then the architect for the medical facility she was working at. I know that most, if not all of us, are related or closely acquainted with immigrants. Our roots may not be originally from here but our culture, beliefs and traditions have been deeply interwoven in our daily lives, and have become silently embedded in the society we now proudly belong to.
All of our lives matter but BLM speaks out against the police brutality and systemic racism that caused the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor, as well as the thousands of violent incidents that happen to Black people that aren’t recorded, aren’t reported or aren’t afforded the outrage they deserve. *Black lives Matter*. Regardless of age, color or gender, our actions contribute to the greatness or demise of our nation. We need to see past the physical differences and connect instead with the intentions of the heart and purity of the soul.
Our country is is best known for embracing diversity, and allowing our differences to thrive. Our sympathy to the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and other victims of injustice, prejudice, and discrimination.
With several states easing their COVID lockdowns, things are starting to look brighter again. While social
distancing and mandatory face mask rules are still set in place, people are going out again. This is
excellent news for businesses who took a severe hit in the past few months. Most businesses used their
time in lockdown conservatively, limiting or shutting down their operations altogether. This is more than
understandable as these folks want to make sure that they and their employees have a business to
return to once the lockdown is over. Some businesses, however, went above and beyond what’s
expected of them and made generous contributions to the community that has been supporting them
This blog will feature some of the food trucks that gave back to the Bay Area that has loved and
supported them during these trying times.
Senor Sisig (@senorsig)
Senor Sisig is as Bay Area as it gets. Having been serving the Bay Area their amazing Filipino-Mexican
delicacies for a decade now, Senor Sisig has established themselves as an institution in the food truck
industry. Recently, they opened their first brick and mortar store in Valencia Street, which was met with
much anticipation by their numerous followers. Not so long after they opened their store, COVID hit and
this severely hit food businesses everywhere – including Senor Sisig. Feeling a deep-seated commitment
to the community that has always been there for them, Senor Sisig has stayed very active in their
outreach programs these past few months. From providing meals to hundreds of frontliners in different
Bay Area cities to empowering POC communities in Oakland, Senor Sisig has shown why they are one of
the most respected players in the game right now. Mabuhay at Salamat!
La Santa Torta
Tell us we’re not the only ones who teared up a bit when they saw that post from La Santa Torta. We
love their birria, but now we can’t help but love them even more. This simple act of genuine generosity
even when businesses are struggling to stay afloat has made them viral. Eater SF, a prominent Bay Area-
based food blog, even featured them on their website.
El Sur Empanadas (@elsursf)
No, we weren’t describing their food. We were describing the people that make up El Sur – San
Francisco’s go-to place for authentic handmade Argentinian empanadas. Their café would always have
people lining up and during Presidio Sundays, their truck would always sell out well before 4 PM. And for
good reason. Their empanadas are always served warm and their ingredients always fresh. They have
been featured prominently in several periodicals and articles, earning constant praise from several food
bloggers in the SF Chronicle, SF Weekly, and 7x7 Bay Area. In honor of the service and sacrifice our
medical frontliners have been doing, they delivered boxes upon boxes of their empanadas to them.
Muchas Gracias, El Sur!
If any of you know any other Bay Area food businesses that have been amazingly generous during these
trying times, make sure to let them know that their efforts for the community are noticed and
appreciated. Let’s all hold on to each other, 6 feet apart. Mahalo, Bay Area.
Welcome to Day... How many days has it been since the quarantine started again? If you’re having trouble figuring out what day it is already, you’re not alone.
In our last blog post, we outlined some things you can do while you’re in quarantine. Here at Bonito Poke, we call them #Quaranthings. Okay, that was bad. We’re sorry.
Anyway! For our blog post this week, we will be talking about something that is more practical: produce storage! Even before the quarantine rule was imposed, your favorite poke truck has already been well acquainted with best practices on how to store the different produce you can find in your favorite poke bowl! With everyone staying at home and grocery runs only done when absolutely necessary, it is important you guys know how to store your produce as well. We’ll be giving you a few tips to further the lifespan of your produce.
We’ll start with leafy greens! Us Californians have a healthier diet than most Americans. That said, leafy greens are a staple at our dinner table. To further the lifespan of your leafy greens, which include lettuce, bok choy, kale, cabbage, and spinach, rinse them as soon as you get home. After you do this, wrap them in a paper towel and store them in a sealed plastic bag or container.
For asparagus, this staple should be stored in the fridge too. Following the same principle with leafy greens, we want to keep this tasty vegetable most and fresh. To do this with asparagus, wrap its long stalk with a damp paper towel.
Root crops time! This is very important since a lot of our staple produce are root crops. These include but aren’t limited to squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and pumpkins! These fellas should be stored in a cool, dark, DRY, area. Moisture will cause shoots to spring up from your root crop – we don’t want this.
For our last produce hack, this involves freezing your vegetables. In case you bought hella vegetables and you can’t eat them within a reasonable amount of time, freezing your vegetables will extend their lifespan significantly. Most vegetables need to be blanched first before being frozen. This prevents it from getting freezer burns. Cut the veggie you want to freeze into pieces, boil them for 1- 2 minutes, then immediately drench it in cold water to stop the cooking process. Although this works for many various produce, this storing method is not recommended for artichokes, eggplant, lettuce, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and radishes.
With President Trump extending the “stay at home” guidelines until the end of April,
it looks like all of us are going to have get used to being quarantined. That doesn’t
mean it has to be ghastly boring, though. In light of this, your Bonito Poke family
has compiled some things you and your family can do during your stay together!
*Finish a jigsaw puzzle. Nope, not those small ones. Go for those huge 5,000-
piece ones! You have all the time in the world anyway.
*Pick up a new language. Remember when you were so busy at work that
you’ve put off learning French or German for your upcoming trip to Europe?
Yeah, us too. (Also, learning a new language, even just the basics, is always a
useful hard skill!) Duolingo, a language learning app, is helps a lot!
*Catch up on your Netflix to-watch list. Netflix (and other streaming service
providers) have been churning out new content faster than usual. That bodes
good news for you, o quarantined one! Steve’s recommends anything that you
find pleasing to watch. Renz recommends the new season of Westworld on HBO
and Better Call Saul on AMC. Bryan recommends binging on Youtube
*Watch Start Wars, Harry Potter, rewatch the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
*Get fit. Personal health has been put off by some of us because of our busy
schedules. It isn’t enough that you eat right by grabbing your daily bowl of
Bonito Poke (ayyy), you also need to exercise. Now, you can’t use that late
afternoon meeting as an excuse as to why you didn’t hit the gym. Granted,
gyms are closed right now. But indoor exercising has never been easier with
YouTube and the internet on your side. Or you know, call your personal trainer
over. Just tell him to maintain a distance of 6 feet from you.
*Read, read, read. We can’t stress this enough. Pick up a novel. Pick up your
grad school reading. Pick up a cookbook. Read articles online. Use this time to
grow your knowledge!
*Keep a journal or a diary. We lost track of what day it is sometime last week.
Time is but a concept now. Ground yourself by keeping tabs on what
happened each day. Decompress by recording what you felt by the end of the
day. It will help you get through this; we promise!
Support your local businesses. Okay, this might be a bit of a stretch, but hear
us out. A lot of your favorite restaurants and businesses are still open,
including us. Help us bring some normalcy in to your days by ordering from
us the meals you’d order during your lunch break. Fiesta Bowl with extra
spicy aioli? Cali Bowl with extra crab salad? Is your mouth watering yet?
Tell us how you’re spending your quarantine season in the comments section below!
It’s official. The US is now the designated epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,
overtaking China. As of March 26, the US has now 85,268 cases across all 50 states.
While this is definitely a bad thing, it is only natural for the number of confirmed
cases to rise as more people get tested.
If some people weren’t taking this virus seriously before, they definitely should now.
Basic guidelines on sanitation like proper hand washing are promulgated extensively.
Furthermore, a lockdown order across California saw all non-essential businesses
shutter their doors. Restaurants and eateries, declared as essential by the US
government, can still operate provided they do take-outs or deliveries. With the
number of cases in the US still projected to rise, it would be a safe assumption to
say that this lockdown order will go on for several more weeks. A lot of businesses
cannot weather this. Some have already closed down permanently, saving
themselves the heartbreak waiting for them at the end of the tunnel.
That is not true for all though. Some are still optimistic, hoping that they get
through these trying times. Restaurants and eateries across The Bay have quickly
created delivery and take-out systems that weren’t present before to cater and
serve the customers and friends they have known through the years. Bonito Poke
has launched its online ordering and anyone can start ordering online and pick up orders starting this Saturday (3/27/2020) from 11:30am to 6:30pm at the 701 Valencia st, San Francisco, CA.
With The Rona (as the young kids would like to call this pandemic) still on the loose,
it looks like we’re in this for the long haul. But we’re weathering through this
Stay safe, fishfam.
As of March 19, Governor Newsom announced that California is under lockdown. That means all non-essential business are to be closed, while essential businesses can keep running. Under that “essential business” umbrella is Food and Agriculture. That includes restaurants and other food establishments.
We are still able to serve our clientele in these trying times, but we are limited to pickups and deliveries. While Bonito Poke has always been a food truck business, we understand that for us to be able to continue serving the community we have been a part of for the past three years, we must adapt.
And adapt we did.
We have worked tirelessly with our partner Sleek to be able to provide you a platform where you can easily order the bowls you have been missing these past few days. We made the user interface as straightforward as possible to give you the best ordering experience. We even did our best to replicate the flexibility that you have come to love when ordering from our truck! Payment is done on-site too and you will be given the option to pick it up on our temporary location at 701 Valencia St, San Francisco or have it delivered to your doorstep, free of charge! Do note that we are currently limiting our deliveries to San Francisco residents only. The site will be up starting March 21, and our Food Truck service hours are 11:30AM to 7:30PM and our Delivery service are 11:30am-5:30pm. Just click on the Button link below to order.
We miss serving all of you in person. In the meantime, however, we’ll have to make do with this. Until then, stay safe and we hope to deliver our kick ass bowls to you all soon.
Your Bonito Poke family
To all our loyal customers, friends, and family
Before anything else, the Bonito Poke team and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us and helped us for the past 3 years. We would not be where we are right now without you.
These past few weeks have been tough for us. Hell, it’s been tough for everyone. Businesses have been ordered to close their doors until the end of the month, but we all know this could go beyond that.
Bonito Poke was born in the Bay Area and we loved serving every single one of you. From our regulars at 1st and Howard, to those who would come out to see us in OMCA, Presidio, Alameda, and Fort Mason, serving you has been a privilege.
And we would very much like to continue serving you in these trying times. You used to come to our truck, rain or shine, during better days. Let us come to you now in these trying times.
We’re in the process of creating a new platform for ordering food and we’ll offer free delivery services from 11AM-3PM, across San Francisco. This platform will be completed ASAP and everyone will be updated on our Instagram. We’re also offering E-gift cards which you can use for our delivery service and our food truck service, once we resume.
All storms pass. This one is no different.
When one thinks of spring, a vivid image of flowers blooming and the snow giving way to a greener scenery comes to mind. For restauranteurs and food vendors, spring is wonderful. It is much anticipated because winter is when business is at its slowest.
Well, things haven’t been going as planned...
The COVID-19 has rapidly transformed from a local problem in China to a full-blown pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization. Governments around the world are scrambling to contain the virus as the death toll piles up every day. Some countries such as China and Italy have even imposed drastic measures to prevent the disease from spreading further.
The United States isn’t exempt from the ravages of the coronavirus. Earlier this month, around 70 cases have been reported as the first wave and reports of the virus here in the US. Now, that number has ballooned to over 1,000. Prominent NBA player Rudy Gobert and his teammate Emmanuel Mudiay are the first confirmed cases in the sports world, while Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are COVID-19’s first Hollywood victims.
Aside from the obvious toll on people’s health, the virus is also decimating markets. Stock markets around the world are tumbling down while stores and shops around the world are experiencing their slowest days ever. Food businesses are hit extra hard with the whole coronavirus issue. People are staying indoors, either voluntarily or as mandated by the government. Whole offices, such as the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, are currently working remotely. This is a disaster in the making for the local food joints around offices since 60-70% of their daily revenue are from regulars who work in offices. To make matters even worse is that no one knows when this whole thing is going to blow over.
In these trying times, it is absolutely imperative that restaurants and other food vendors adapt to the situation. For example, now that a sizable amount of the population is now cooped up in apartments and houses, a scheduled daily meal delivery subscription service might be an attractive alternative for businesses who aren’t getting enough traffic now.
This isn’t the spring time we were all waiting for, but this is the spring time we have been given. Let’s all hope that resolution comes sooner rather than later.
From your Bonito Poke family, we hope everyone’s doing well and staying safe.
By Renz Regala
Poke has come a long way from its humble roots in the Aloha State. The dish, which literally translate to “to cut crosswise into pieces”,was traditionally prepared by local Hawaiian fishermen, who would season the cube cut-offs of their daily catch. Poke saw its popularity balloon in Hawaii in the 1960s, when it started to become more and more prominent and visible in local seafood markets and restaurants on the island. It is also interesting to note that prior to the shining of the local spotlight on poke in the 60s, poke was made using the small grey reef fish abundant in Hawaiian reefs. The much larger Yellowfin tuna would eventually replace the reef fish as the preferred protein of choice in traditional poke as the years went by.
While poke may be a local success in Hawaii as early as the 60s, it would not be almost half a century later that poke would start appearing on the mainland USA. The poke that reached the mainland US would look very different from the first variations of the dish. Traditional authentic poke was quite simple to prepare. The fish would be seasoned with salt, roasted crushed candlenuts (locally known as kukui), and limu seaweed. That’s it. As time went by however, the dish evolved as people of different ethnicities gave their own unique take on poke. For example, the Japanese added shoyu to marinate and cure the fish. This, interestingly enough, would become the norm as the years went by and as the dish reached the mainland.
Now, poke is found all over the United States and around the world in many different variations. Traditionalists would say the only acceptable protein for poke would either be ahi tuna or octopus. Now, one can find poke places that would serve salmon, shrimp, scallops, and even chicken on their bowls. The creativity of poke shops all over the country are in full display as they create unique bowls that draw inspiration from cuisines outside Hawaii, creating a new world of flavor altogether for their customers.
Poke has evolved significantly from its humble beginnings in Hawaii. No doubt, this wonderful dish will continue to do so as the US and the world become more and more acquainted and enamored with it.