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Top 5 favorite must-have Hawaii foods: HAWAII Magazine Facebook poll results

No. 4

kalua pig 

The Hawaiian word kalua means “to bake in a ground oven.” Traditionally, kalua pig was baked in an imu lined with hot stones. The whole pig was seasoned with sea salt, placed in the imu, then covered with banana leaves to seal in the flavor. These days it’s a bit difficult to find imu-cooked kalua pork outside of a luau or Hawaiian restaurant licensed to practice the traditional cooking method. Much of the kalua pork sold commercially is slow smoked, above ground. Still, the basic recipe is essentially the same — pork shoulder butt, salt-rubbed, smoked then shredded and served piping hot with plenty of sides — rice, poi, lomi salmon or poke. At its best, kalua pig is tender and juicy, and steeped in a lightly smoky, lightly salted flavor. 

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