Saturday, April 23, 2011

Of Pig and Poi



You can not visit Hawaii and not sample traditional foods like Kalua pig and poi.  Food holds a significant place in Hawaiian culture and if you haven't tasted any traditional dishes, then you haven't really been to Hawaii.  All luaus or feasts, will supply lots of both of these staples. At the Kaua'i Grand Hyatt Resort, I witnessed an 185-pound pig being carried out for the traditional ceremony, above. The pig was covered in ti leaves and then wrapped in chicken wire before being buried in an imu or pit. Then it was roasted over hot coals for eight hours.



The meat is  so tender and moist that it doesn't really need to be cut so the hosts simply pull it off the bone. They offered me a quick taste but since I don't eat meat, I couldn't venture into hog territory but I made up for it with my poi consumption.



Poi is pounded taro root that looks like a lovely lavender pudding, above. The lavender roll  was also made with taro. The taro plant is so sacred to Hawaiian culture that it's considered an affront to argue once poi is served. According to Hawaiian custom, it's disrespectful to argue in front of an elder and as the living embodiment of Haloa, the ancient ancestor of the Hawaiian people, taro is technically the elder brother of all Hawaiians.  With this kind of significance, I was determined to like poi. However, it is definitely an acquired taste. Average poi tastes sour and the consistency is like paste. The first few times I tried it, I concentrated on the wonderful color (I've never disliked anything purple) and ignored the taste. And then I discovered the revelation of  Hanalei Poi.  Hanalei Poi is made fresh on Kaua'i and is  widely considered the best poi you can eat. I spooned it up and there was no sour taste, just slightly sweet, smooth goodness. I grabbed another bowl and absorbed the deliciousness all over again. My dinner mates smiled with approval but all I could think about was how I could get a tub through security to take home.

14 comments:

eileen said...

With all your posting about food, somehow I missed that you don't eat meat! Shame on me. I eat fish, but not meat, and end up skipping a lot of local delicacies because of that. I had some steamed poi-type thing at a restaurant on Easter Island not that long ago. Agree that it's an acquired taste!

Hawaii is far from the Carribean, glad to see work's not holding you back! :)

Fly Girl said...

Hey Eileen, it is easy to miss but not eating meat sometimes makes me miss interesting dishes. Yes, Hawaii isn't the Caribbean but it's still an island!

MinnieRunner said...

Wow, those are mouth watering! I'll bet they are really good.

BTW, I hope you can join my giveaway here --> http://myunrevealedthoughts.blogspot.com/2011/04/business-card-giveaway-from-prinly.html

Thanks and Happy Easter!

Fly Girl said...

Minnie, I know that pig roasts are popular in many countries, particularly the Phillipines. I'll check your giveaway out.

A Cuban In London said...

For a non-meat eater you do go the extra mile to make your photographs as succulent as the dishes themselves. :-)

Many thanks. Thatw as a feast. Of the eyes and mind.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, I'm afraid it doesn't look succulent to me but I'm glad it's a feast for your eyes.

MinnieRunner said...

Indeed FlyGirl, it is very popular. In fact, we always have one on New Year :)

Thanks! I do hope you could join my giveaway.

Fly Girl said...

Minnie, I'm making my way over now!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Very tasty. I know meat isn't your style, but you cover all dishes.

Fly Girl said...

Jean-Luc thanks. I try not to practice meat discrimination in my posts!

Bluegreen Kirk said...

Some people simply dont like pork but I am a fan and that pig looks great. Wish i could have had a plate. Make sure you bring some to the States. LOL

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

A very interesting post, well illustrated. I would also have to go for the vegetarian options, as I don't eat meat either...

Thomas said...

FlyGirl this so reminds me of being back home in SC and having pulled-pork. I cant believe you did this to me! The fruit looks good to but the am all for the meat.

Fly Girl said...

Kirk, ha! Don't think they'd let me through customs with a plate of pig...

Andrew, I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Thomas, I've seen those SC pig roasts and it does look like the pulled pork.