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Hawaiian Fresh Seafood on the outskirts of Sorrento Valley

There are many reasons to find this fish market: most of them are raw

A medium (two scoop) poke bowl featuring garlic salmon poke and ahi poke with oyster sauce
A medium (two scoop) poke bowl featuring garlic salmon poke and ahi poke with oyster sauce

At the time a friend first recommended a local fish market serving straight-off-the-boat poke and sashimi, it didn’t seem likely the tip would lead me to a Sorrento Valley industrial park. But here I was, navigating hallways through the gray block of a building that is home to Hawaiian Fresh Seafood.

Place

The Market at HFS

6491 Weathers Place, San Diego

That’s the name of the wholesale fishing business that moved here from Oahu a short while back, along with the company of boats it uses to fish tuna and other Pacific delights from the waters between here and there. The Market at HFS is what the operation calls its retail food operation, a small kitchen and glass counters loaded with pristine cuts of fish, plus chafing dishes filled with a rotating selection of Hawaii-style pokes.

Which leaves me feeling like a kid in a candy store, except the candy is made from glistening cubes of raw tuna and salmon.

There is a little more to the place than poke. On the way in, I snag a tray of salmon sashimi from the grab-and-go cooler at the back of the shop. The cooler also features tubs of seaweed salad, Portuguese sausage, cans of ready-made Kalua pork, jars of kimchi, and a house-made smoked ahi tuna spread. But there’s no denying the exquisite value of this salmon: thirteen slices of delicate yet buttery fish for under 14 bucks! That much fish would cost twice the amount event at a modestly-priced sushi restaurant.

The San Diego home of formerly Honolulu-based fishing outfit, Hawaiian Fresh Seafood

At the counter, you’ll find menu options for fried fish, baked fish, blackened fish, and seafood tacos, but it’s the poke I’ve come to see. A glance at the Market’s website revealed the potential for difficult decisions. In addition to ahi and salmon pokes, the shop sometimes offers albacore, wahoo, and yellowtail options and conjures distinctive flavors including wasabi, furikake, and sesame. There are pokes inspired by California rolls, meaning they include imitation crab and avocado, and others incorporating kimchi.

A grab-and-go tray of salmon sashimi for a good value — roughly a dollar per piece

For me, the standard bearer would be the Hawaiian (green and sweet onions, chili peppers, seaweed, sesame oil, and roasted kukui nut), but the way prices are structured encourage tasting more than one. A $12 small poke bowl includes rice or salad plus one scoop of poke. A $15 bowl features two different scoops, while a $17 plate nets you three scoops.

The Market at HFS seafood counter

With only tuna and salmon pokes available this visit, I opted for a two-scoop combination of garlic salmon and Pearl Harbor ahi pokes — the latter getting an umami boost courtesy of oyster sauce. These turned out to be pretty generous scoops, topped with dried seaweed, and I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t add that third scoop for only two dollars more.

Fresh tuna from its own fishing fleet is what makes HFS poke tick.

However, I did order more poke, by the pound, to take home. The poke options run upwards of $19 a pound, meaning I got a nice half pound tub of shoyu ahi poke for just over 11 bucks. That proved to be my favorite, simply combining soy and sesame flavors, along with the combination of green and sweet white onions that I seek out whenever I get to visit the islands.

A visit to east Sorranto — almost Mira Mesa — can’t quite replicate the joy of devouring poke following a surf in idyllic, warm waters, but The Market at HFS undoubtedly offers some of the finest quality poke in San Diego. The sashimi grade values it offers more than justifies the twenty-minute side trip off your freeway commute. And, for those who demand something like this be closer to the coast, stay tuned: according to the Hawaiian Fresh Seafood website, the small outfit will soon be opening a poke counter at Liberty Station.

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A medium (two scoop) poke bowl featuring garlic salmon poke and ahi poke with oyster sauce
A medium (two scoop) poke bowl featuring garlic salmon poke and ahi poke with oyster sauce

At the time a friend first recommended a local fish market serving straight-off-the-boat poke and sashimi, it didn’t seem likely the tip would lead me to a Sorrento Valley industrial park. But here I was, navigating hallways through the gray block of a building that is home to Hawaiian Fresh Seafood.

Place

The Market at HFS

6491 Weathers Place, San Diego

That’s the name of the wholesale fishing business that moved here from Oahu a short while back, along with the company of boats it uses to fish tuna and other Pacific delights from the waters between here and there. The Market at HFS is what the operation calls its retail food operation, a small kitchen and glass counters loaded with pristine cuts of fish, plus chafing dishes filled with a rotating selection of Hawaii-style pokes.

Which leaves me feeling like a kid in a candy store, except the candy is made from glistening cubes of raw tuna and salmon.

There is a little more to the place than poke. On the way in, I snag a tray of salmon sashimi from the grab-and-go cooler at the back of the shop. The cooler also features tubs of seaweed salad, Portuguese sausage, cans of ready-made Kalua pork, jars of kimchi, and a house-made smoked ahi tuna spread. But there’s no denying the exquisite value of this salmon: thirteen slices of delicate yet buttery fish for under 14 bucks! That much fish would cost twice the amount event at a modestly-priced sushi restaurant.

The San Diego home of formerly Honolulu-based fishing outfit, Hawaiian Fresh Seafood

At the counter, you’ll find menu options for fried fish, baked fish, blackened fish, and seafood tacos, but it’s the poke I’ve come to see. A glance at the Market’s website revealed the potential for difficult decisions. In addition to ahi and salmon pokes, the shop sometimes offers albacore, wahoo, and yellowtail options and conjures distinctive flavors including wasabi, furikake, and sesame. There are pokes inspired by California rolls, meaning they include imitation crab and avocado, and others incorporating kimchi.

A grab-and-go tray of salmon sashimi for a good value — roughly a dollar per piece

For me, the standard bearer would be the Hawaiian (green and sweet onions, chili peppers, seaweed, sesame oil, and roasted kukui nut), but the way prices are structured encourage tasting more than one. A $12 small poke bowl includes rice or salad plus one scoop of poke. A $15 bowl features two different scoops, while a $17 plate nets you three scoops.

The Market at HFS seafood counter

With only tuna and salmon pokes available this visit, I opted for a two-scoop combination of garlic salmon and Pearl Harbor ahi pokes — the latter getting an umami boost courtesy of oyster sauce. These turned out to be pretty generous scoops, topped with dried seaweed, and I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t add that third scoop for only two dollars more.

Fresh tuna from its own fishing fleet is what makes HFS poke tick.

However, I did order more poke, by the pound, to take home. The poke options run upwards of $19 a pound, meaning I got a nice half pound tub of shoyu ahi poke for just over 11 bucks. That proved to be my favorite, simply combining soy and sesame flavors, along with the combination of green and sweet white onions that I seek out whenever I get to visit the islands.

A visit to east Sorranto — almost Mira Mesa — can’t quite replicate the joy of devouring poke following a surf in idyllic, warm waters, but The Market at HFS undoubtedly offers some of the finest quality poke in San Diego. The sashimi grade values it offers more than justifies the twenty-minute side trip off your freeway commute. And, for those who demand something like this be closer to the coast, stay tuned: according to the Hawaiian Fresh Seafood website, the small outfit will soon be opening a poke counter at Liberty Station.

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