“Are you gonna have poi?”

Probably the question we heard most before our trip. I honestly think that if it weren’t for The Food Network, very few people would know about this purple mush of ill repute. But really it’s not that bad.

TaroChips

Most people have either eaten or at least heard of taro in the form of chips. This source of chips and poi is actually a really interesting plant with an important culinary role in most tropical cultures. It’s toxic until processed and consuming the starchy stem in its raw form is apparently like eating fiberglass.

The box lunch below includes a serving of poi as well as a dish called laulau using the nutritious taro leaves. The poi is simply a neutral-flavored starch mainly intended to stretch out a meal – like white rice with Chinese food or West African fufu. The only negative i found was that the texture is a bit viscous. (Think puréed bananas without the flavor.) The laulau consisted of slow-cooked pork wrapped in taro leaves. I got to have a taste and i loved it. Not sure why i didn’t seek it out during the remainder of our week – probably cuz we were too focused on finding taco trucks.

LauLau

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