Tako Poke

Octopus (or Tako) or He'e). Photo taken in 1980)

When Ms. Mar said she was going to tell me a story about making taco, my mouth started watering. I’m always ready for a good beef, chicken or fish taco. But then she said, “no, not taco . . . tako.” What the heck is tako? Well, I was about to find out.

Language lesson. Tako is Japanese for octopus and the Hawaiians call it He’e.

It seems that once Ms. Mar and Mr. C got their sport diving certificate, they would go out diving whenever they had a chance. Since they didn’t have a boat, all of their dives would be from the shore. One of the better places to dive was off the rocks in an area called Portlock in Hawaii Kai, on Oahu. There is a shelf of rock going into the ocean that allows fairly easy access to the water (you just have to time it with the waves so you don’t get slammed into the side of the rocks).

Mr. C brought along his dive spear to look for dinner. Along the sandy bottom of the ocean, his eagle eye spotted bubbles coming up from the sand. He thrust his spear into the sand and started pulling something up. Ms. Mar just watched in amazement. She hadn’t seen anything in the sand.  The spear started bending from the weight as the biggest octopus either of them had ever seen emerged. As they headed back towards Portlock with their trophy in hand, Ms. Mar kept looking around. After all, what deep sea creatures eat octopus . . . SHARKS!!! But, they made it back to shore safely with the octopus in tow. Now the question begs . . . what do you do with an octopus. Mr. C’s big idea was to make tako poke. The next question is . . . what is tako poke and how do you make it. A stop at a local grocery store on the way home brought them that answer. Just ask a local Japanese woman in the seafood section and you have your answer.

Ms. Mar getting ready to clean octopus

Being the man of the house, Mr. C left it up to Ms. Mar to clean the octopus (tako). The first thing you have to do is turn the head inside out and cut out the ink sack, beak and innards. And the answer to your next question is yes, the head turns inside out. That done, the next step is to clean all the slime off the octopus. You know how slimy things get when they’ve been under water for a while.  Slime or no slime, as far as I’m concerned, anything from the ocean is good to eat and is fair game. If I could wear a face mask that fit my adorable face, I would be Count Puss-N-Boots of the Deep. Johnny Depp has nothing over moi (how do you spell me in French). Nothing would be safe in the ocean. I say, “off with its head and party till we drop.” Sorry . . . I get carried away when I talk about fish. Continuing. The he’e was prepared, eaten, and parts were frozen because the entire Tako/He’e was big to start. Tako Poke (click here for a recipe) is a pupu (or hors’dourve).

Tako Poke (photo from Bing)


I know if we (my brothers and I) were there, we could have save them the trouble. I love octopus on a shell. No, wait! Am I thinking of crabs or lobsters? Whatever, I love seafood since I’m the Sophisticated Kat, Tuxedo!


This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. nitzus

    i love chuka tako too, which we usually had as a topping for out sushi meal. btw, i cannot resist to smile upon reading the last paragraph, definitely witty!

  2. Xandré Verkes

    Wow… interesting!!! Someday I’ll have to give it a try!!! 🙂 **

  3. spookmoor

    I never had the faintest idea about any of this. Not sure I would be able to eat it, but, if it tastes anything like squid then I would love it.

    1. I think it’s a little chewier then squid and it’s the ingredients you mix it with that makes it taste good. I like it.

      1. spookmoor

        Yes, that can often be the case. I wouldn’t order it but might like a bite from someone else’s first. Then I could make up my own mind as don’t really like trying out something completely new to me blind, so to speak.

  4. thefibitz

    Love poke, esp tako and ahi poke. Aloha!

  5. niasunset

    Dear Maralee, first of all I want to Thank you for your beautiful words on my last post today. You are so nice.

    Do you know, I watched once how they clean this octopus… I think it was in Rhodes Island… I don’t know maybe I am impressed so much and then I never ate them… 🙂
    I remembered this again… This should be amazing… and I don’t have any idea how its taste… But you did nice photographs and writing too. Thank you,
    with my love, nia

  6. Malou

    Loved this post! I got reminded of how my husband and I ended up with this huge squid for dinner which the boatmen caught with a dive spear. They cooked it with lots of coconut milk and chillies. 😉

  7. Nancy Hayes

    This brought back memories of my Dad and his friends hunting for flounders in similar situations and the octopus would always appear and wrap their tentacles around someone’s arm. I think I would enjoy eating them if someone prepared them for me; but don’t think I could go through the cleaning process.

  8. Alex Khoo

    Wow! Nice one! I started drooling a little!

    1. Thanks. I haven’t had poke in a while. I guess I’ll have to make a trip to Hawaii soon.

      1. Alex Khoo

        So envious of you! I can’t wait to get the chance to go there again!

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