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Taro – A Hawaiian Staple

Posted on November 25, 2014

This week, thousands of Americans will look forward to indulging in Thanksgiving staples such as turkey with stuffing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Food is often tied to such deeply rooted traditions and kalo (taro) is no different in the Hawaiian culture.

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

While most are familiar with its traditional preparation (poi), there is much to be said about the significance of and role this starchy staple played in Hawaii history and the efforts being made to perpetuate the customs that were started by Hawaiian ancestors.

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Poi, which is featured at many luau and local parties in the islands, is traditionally made by first baking the taro corm in an imu (underground oven). The plant is then peeled and scraped to ensure only the cleanest part of the kalo is being used. The plant is pounded on a board using kuiai pohaku (stone) and also thinned with water. If packaged or served while in its pounded but more lumpy, undiluted state, it is referred to as paiai.

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Taro is incorporated into a variety of dishes and treats including squid luau, mochi, taro chips, and decadent kulolo – a pudding-like dessert made from mashed taro corms and grated coconut meat or coconut milk. Simply stroll through a farmers’ market and try samples of taro-based dishes and desserts offered by local vendors.

Interested in learning more about this Hawaiian staple? Where better than on a taro farm! Be sure to plan a visit to these taro farms throughout Hawaii:

- by So Much More Hawaii Staff

1 Comment »

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