Patrons of popular poke bowl joint Aloha Poke had made a rather spine-tingling find last Thursday when a dead spider was found at the bottom of their shared meal.
And it’s not those dinky spiders that you might have trapped in cassette tape holders in your youth either. This was a sizeable eight-legged creepy crawly that was soaked with sauce and nestled deep enough for the patrons to only discover when they were almost done with eating.
The homegrown restaurant has since apologized for the incident and, according to a report on The Straits Times, their kitchen in Katong where the spider-soiled meal was prepared will be closed for two days for investigations and thorough cleaning.
In a viral post about the “Amazing Spiderman incident”, Siew Ping stated that she ordered a Standard Nalu salmon poke bowl through food delivery service Deliveroo around 9:30pm on May 10. She and her friend had been happily chowing down on their meal when they found the dead spider — a horrifying issue that was brought up to Aloha Poke.
Ping received an apology, a full refund for the meal and a $20 store credit (which she does not plan to use). Aloha Poke also explained that their salad supplier had received similar feedback.
Nonetheless, Ping acknowledged that her experience is most likely an isolated incident, but the fact that the “Not-So-Small Spidey” managed to find its way into the food, it warrants some attention. According to her, she submitted a report to the National Environment Agency (NEA).
“Perhaps spiders are not as bad as rats or roaches, however as Aloha Poke is handling raw food and that is susceptible to bacteria growth and contamination, their hygiene standards cannot be compromised at any time,” Ping wrote.
“Having a spider in the midst of their kitchen does say a lot about their vigilance.”
The web of intrigue
Aloha Poke is one of the first homegrown restaurants to kick-start the whole buzzy trend of poke bowls here, and it now has about seven outlets across the island, with one more opening soon at Takashimaya Shopping Centre. Their specialty is, obviously, poke — the customizable Hawaiian staple that comprises thick chunks of raw, marinated fish tossed over rice and topped with salad and dressing.
Poke bowls are supposed to be healthy, clean meals packed with delicious protein — but spiders were never part of the cuisine.
Recently, the brand partnered up with Deliveroo, whose Deliveroo Editions multi-restaurant kitchen in Katong prepares offerings by the likes of Aloha Poke, Kurry Korner and Blu Kouzina for faster deliveries.
“We are as horrified that such a large spider was found at the bottom of a customer’s bowl,” Aloha Poke co-founder John Chen told ST. Their kitchen in Katong scored the top rating for cleanliness by NEA, he says, with a pest control check carried out every month.
Regarding the restaurant’s ingredients, Chen affirmed that his staff takes additional steps to wash salads.
“Unfortunately, our existing measures were not fail-safe,” Chen said of the incident, deciding to close the Aloha kitchen for two days to conduct the appropriate investigations and cleaning.
Editor’s Note: Article amended to avoid misconstrued associations with Katong Kitchen, a hotel restaurant.