Gary Niu, the owner of Yummy Poki saw an opportunity and took it. With poke bowls becoming so popular, he saw that there was no restaurant in Smyrna offering the tasty treat and opened one off of Old Nashville Highway.
Poke is a healthy blend of sushi rice (aka sticky rice), fresh crunch vegetable, raw diced fish, and sauce. Yummy Poki also offers sushi and ramen bowls, as well as an assortment of other Asian dishes.
The favorite poke bowl with customers has been the Poke Signature. It offers tuna, salmon, crab, cucumber, edamame, mango, Masago, and seaweed salad over steamed white rice covered with a special sauce and served with a green salad. They offer a California Poke, which is much like the classic sushi roll that carries the same name with crab, tuna, cucumber, avocado, tomato, seaweed salad, shredded Nori, and chili pepper served over steamed rice with their special sauce. And vegetarians will enjoy the Vegetarian Lover. If you can’t find a poke bowl that interests you, try building your own.
*photos from Yummy Poki Facebook Page
If you build your own, it begins with picking a size — medium, large, or a burrito. A base comes next. The base can be white rice, brown rice, or sushi rice with roasted seaweed. Next comes a protein followed by mix-ins like mango, jalapeno, avocado, tomato, pineapple, and corn. Top it off with a sauce, then cover it with a bit of crunch. Some of the sauce options include Sweet Wasabi, Spicy Mayo, Ponzu or Sesame Ginger. Toppings of choice might be Sesame seeds, Tempura Flakes, or Scallions, to name a few.
The ramen bowls are equally popular. Niu says that it would be hard to choose one that customers like the best, as he sees them all being ordered. However, his number one sushi roll is the Yummy Roll. It is a shrimp tempura roll with crab meat served on the top. He also enjoys creating unique flavors, like the deep-fried Cajun Roll and the grilled Nashville Roll.
“We try new poke bowls all the time,” said Niu. “Every month we try new sushi rolls. We will add new things that our customers like, and remove ones that they do not like from the menu.” He sees every day as a learning process. “We may not do enough at the beginning, but we will do better and better until everyone likes it.”
Originally from Fujian Provence in China, Niu came to the United States in 2008 to be near family who have lived in Murfreesboro for 20 years. He cooked for Chef Wangs, the popular buffet, for ten years. But he lives in Smyrna, and he knew there were people in the city looking for good Asian food.
901 Rock Springs Road
Yummy Poki Facebook Page
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.