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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Hub City Eats: Pokénori

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By: Bali Channa & Andrew Copeland, contributing writers; Omar K. Elmore, senior writer

Hub City Eats is Old Gold & Black’s new food column, offering two different takes on restaurants in the Spartanburg area. Bali Channa ’20 hails from Boiling Springs, S.C., and is a strict vegetarian, having never eaten meat in her life; she considers herself an expert on managing an herbivorous lifestyle. Drew Copeland ’19, who is of African American, Hawaiian and Thai descent, is a proud carnivore from Inman, S.C., and self-proclaimed foodie, enjoying the cuisine of different cultures.

Pokénori opened downtown this summer on North Church Street and is only a 15-minute walk from campus. Combining Hawaiian and Japanese cuisines, the family-owned restaurant offers a unique experience to its patrons.

Customers can choose to either combine ingredients into a bowl or roll them into a sushi burrito. Channa elected for the bowl while Copeland, who had never been to Pokénori before the trip, opted for the burrito.

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Bali

“I eat here all the time. It’s my go-to. I told the manager they need a loyalty program for people like me.

I got the brown rice bowl with tofu, cabbage, carrots, corn, jalapeño, onion, edamame, spicy ginger, sweet gochu sauce, avocado, sesame and wanton crisps. You can load up on non-protein ingredients without the price changing. And it’s very easy to eat healthily here.

I really appreciate this place because there are so many options for those that don’t eat meat. I can eat something different every time I come instead of being limited to a couple of options.

This bowl is delicious. There is so much flavor here that you don’t get anywhere else. The sweet gochu sauce, for instance, is a Korean condiment that is simply hard to find in Spartanburg. And getting the crunchy wanton crisps adds a great texture to the meal.”

Drew

“I ordered the sushi burrito roll with chicken, shrimp tempura, lettuce, cilantro, green onions, seaweed salad, ginger, cucumber, sesame seed, mango and sweet gochu sauce.

I watched the sushi roll slide out of the machine and knew I was in for a treat. And you can get two proteins mixed together, it’s such a good deal.

I had been craving sushi and, though I was skeptical of the idea of Pokénori, it more than fulfills that craving.

This is my first time eating Pokénori and it will definitely become a staple in my routine. The fresh ingredients surprised me and I love the ingredient selection. Particularly, I’m a huge fan of seaweed salad but can never get it unless my mom cooks with it. I grew up on Hawaiian food so the seaweed and mango reminded me of some home-cooked meals.

The set-up is so unique. There is nothing like this in Spartanburg and that’s a good thing. They’re definitely on my radar now. I have a volleyball game to catch after we finish eating but when that’s over, I’m grabbing some of my boys and coming back for seconds.”

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