Hawaii is a cultural melting pot and this is perhaps most evident in the variety of amazing cuisine you’ll find throughout the islands. There are however a handful of foods that are uniquely Hawaiian, and one of them is Poi.
Hawaiian poi is a purple pudding like dish that you’ll find everywhere from our grocery stores to food trucks. Poi falls in to one of three categories; “one-finger”, “two-finger”, or three-finger, which refers to its consistency and how many fingers you’ll need to scoop and eat it. Poi can range from quite fluid, to thick and doughy and it is true staple food here in Hawaii.
Made from the root of the Taro plant, poi was a commodity for Hawaii’s early settlers. After it’s cooked, the taro root or corn as it is also known is mashed in to a paste and water is added until the desired consistency is achieved. When Hawaiian poi is fresh, it is considered sweet poi that then ferments over the course of several days in to what is known as sour poi. Sweet poi is often eaten with a sprinkling of sugar, while sour poi is enjoyed with lomi-lomi salmon, poke, salted fish, and other smoked meats. High in Vitamins A, B, calcium, valuable digestive enzymes, and a host of other nutrients, poi is equally as nutritious as it is delicious. In fact, poi has been used as a source of sustenance for infants with severe food / milk allergies because it is so nutritious and easy to digest.
Poi has an interesting history in Hawaii as the early Polynesian settlers considered it a sacred dish. The Taro plant is believed to contain the spirit of Haola; the child of two Hawaiian gods. When a bowl of poi was served, all disputes among family members and dinner guests were expected to come to an immediate halt so as not to disrespect Haola’s spirit. In 1911, the Board of Health believed poi was responsible for a cholera outbreak which resulted in the Poi Prohibition. All batches had to be destroyed and the sale of poi was prohibited. Because poi was a staple food for most Hawaiian families, the government began to distribute free poi throughout the islands until the creation of the poi bill which regulated its production.
Poi is an acquired taste for some, but generations of Hawaiian people can’t be wrong! As with all of Hawaii’s other delicious foods, we encourage you to be adventurous and give it a try! To read some of our other “Taste of Hawaii” posts, click the following links.
We had a wonderful time at Sail Away and I recommended Hawaii Hideaway to dozens of people. You were a delight to work with and I will definitely use you again the next time we rent a home in the islands.
Like a Dream
Bliss doesn’t even describe our experience. It was almost like a dream. We are ready to do this again with Hawaii Hideaways – you guys are the best. Everything was perfect!!!
Outstanding Experience From Beginning to End
It was in an outstanding experience from beginning to end, I would work with Hawaii hideaways again in the future unquestionably. Sunny Madeiros was terrific with her recommendations of everything from leisure activities to restaurants and even equipment rentals.
Coral Gables, FL
Perfect Combination of Elegance and Comfort
First time to Maui (and Hawaii). This is a spectacular setting and the home is a perfect combination of elegance and comfort. I could stay on the lanai all day long and be happy. Of course there’s a ton of fun activities, but it was great to have Gull Cottage as our base to come back to!
Arlington Heights, IL
You’re Going to Want to Stay
Our family spent a splendid week in Kauai in early 2017, basing ourselves out of the Touching Green house. It’s in a great location, has everything you need, and is just lovely. The pictures don’t do it justice. You’re going to want to stay!
New Rochelle, NY
A Treasured Memory For Life
We had a wonderful time in Kauai! We remained in awe at the unimaginable beauty, both of the rental home, as well as Kauai itself. It will be a treasured memory for life. I hope we can come back and make more memories.