Hawaiian Poi – one, two or three fingers

What does the above fingers have in regards to Poi you ask? The one, two or three finger dip refers to the consistency of Poi and how many fingers you’ll actually need to scoop it out (If eating pure Hawaiian style with your fingers). Poi in general can range from more fluid to a doughy type of consistency. An acquired taste for many visitors, it is a staple and favorite dish for Hawaiians to be eaten with salty dishes like fish, seafood, meats and other mixed plate specials.

Hawaiian Poi

A little history on Poi

Polynesians considered Poi a sacred dish and the taro plant which contains the spirit of Haloha who was the child of two Hawaiian gods. Haloha means “long stalk,” “long breath” and “long life,” and is the breath of life and Haloa is worshipped daily with chanting, hula and festivals. 

All disputes between family members must stop at the table when poi is being served so it doesn’t create any disrespect to the spirit of Haloha. The taro plant is versatile with most of the plant edible, it is only the Hawaiians that mash the main bulb into a pulp to make poi out of it and also ferment it into a process that creates sour poi. Although poi is traditionally made by hand, today’s methods are made in large scale machines that can create over 1,000 pounds of poi in less than six minutes instead of the typical labor-intensive process of mashing the pulp to a creamy texture.

Why try eating Poi in Hawaii?

The popular starchy food matches all the other traditional Hawaiian food in place of eating rice and is the food of choice with the salty and savory Hawaiian dishes of Kalua pork, lau lau and squid luau which warrants a nice starch to combine with the different flavors and ingredients.

A little history on Poi

What is Poi and how it is made?

Of all the handfuls of traditional Hawaiian foods that are predominant in the culture, Poi stands above as the main starch and binder to the rest of these traditional foods. Poi is made traditionally from taro plants and more specifically the root bulb. The bulb is first peeled and then cooked and later mashed into a paste with water added until it forms to a desired consistency and personal taste. The finished results are a blueish gray paste that can be eaten fresh or allowed to ferment. The large green leaves are also cooked and called Luau and used as a vegetable. The term luau was eventually used for the gatherings or events where these dishes were consumed.

At the fresh poi stage, it is considered sweet or it is allowed to ferment a few more days until it develops into a sour poi taste. The sweet poi is combined with sugar into a dessert type of dish, while the sour poi is eaten with other traditional favorite foods like Kailua pork, Lomi-lomi salmon, poke, smoked meats and other salted fish.

Poi is also a healthy and nutritious food that is low in fat, high on Vitamins B, A and Calcium, digestive enzymes, other good nutrients and complex carbohydrates. Poi has also been used as a milk substitute and given to young babies to enfants as an easy to eat and digest.

What is Poi and how it is made?

Taste of Poi – an acquired taste

Even though many consider poi be bland to taste like a wall paper., most should try eating poi and combined with any salty foods and treated like a starchy food. When you replace bread, rice or potatoes with Poi, the health benefits are tremendous as one of the healthiest foods you can eat and helps to keep cholesterol levels down and even fantastic as a weight reduction food.

Poi is the perfect and healthy starch that is a good complement to the many traditional Hawaiian foods or even local comfort food made on the islands.

Taste of Poi - an acquired taste

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Hawaii chocolate making and tour

Hawaiian style banana bread

Farmers markets in Hawaii

Avocado season in Hawaii

Mango season in Hawaii

Pineapple season in Hawaii

Have you ever tried Hawaiian Poi?

Have you ever tried Hawaiian Poi?

Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on Poi. I hope you are inspired to plan a visit and enjoy the amazing cuisine of Hawaii. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.

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  1. Hawaiian Food - This Hawaii Life - […] spices grown on the islands. Popular Hawaiian dishes includes Hawaiian Poke, Lau Lau, Kalua Pork, Poi, purple sweet potato,…

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.