Top 5 favorite Hawaii plate lunch foodsby: Derek Paiva
posted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 09:49 AM
Oh, how you love kalua pig! With rice. With poi. With rice and poi. But especially on a Hawaiian plate lunch with hearty sides of rice, poi, lomi salmon, poke, maybe some chicken long rice or pipi kaula, and, for dessert, a cube of haupia. You crave it when you’re away from the Islands. It’s the first dish many of you have to eat right away when you return. We love it, too. The Hawaiian word kalua means “to bake in a ground oven.” Traditionally, kalua pig was baked in an imu (see #5 laulau), lined with hot stones. The whole pig was seasoned simply with sea salt, placed in the imu, then covered with banana leaves to seal in the flavor and heat from the stones. Imu-cooked kalua pig, in our opinion, is still the best tasting kalua pig. Sadly, these days it’s a bit more 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 for kalua pig is essentially the same—pork shoulder butt, salt-rubbed, smoked then shredded and served piping hot with apropos sides. At its best, kalua pig is tender and juicy, and steeped in a lightly smoky, lightly salted flavor.
Click on the links below for the Top 5 results of our previous HAWAII Magazine Facebook Ohana poll questions:
• Top 5 favorite Hawaii small towns
• Top 5 favorite Hawaii scenic lookouts
• Top 5 favorite Hawaii valleys
• Top 5 favorite Hawaii waterfalls
• Top 5 favorite scenic spots on Kauai
• Top 5 favorite Big Island scenic hiking trails
• Top 5 favorite Maui beaches for swimming
(Want to learn even more about Hawaii cuisine and get some recipes for local food favorites? Grab a copy of "From Kau Kau to Cuisine" or "Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands," from HAWAII Magazine sister company Watermark Publishing, in bookstores or by clicking here.)
Photos: Dawn Sakamoto (pg. 1, top; 5), Derek Paiva (pg. 1, bottom; 2; 4)
Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
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Top 5 favorite must-have Hawaii foods: HAWAII Magazine Facebook poll results