I recently had the thought that I might be a great partner in crime to Anthony Bourdain. I accidentally said the thought out loud, a friend overheard and told me to keep dreaming. In an attempt to crush my hopes and dreams even further she asked why I thought that, so I put forward the argument that I’d try any food, anywhere, anytime. As long as other people actually consume It, there would be no questions asked. I searched through my hardrive and the first dish that sprung to mind was Lau Lau in Hawaii.
She was intrigued as Lau Lau sounds quite exotic. It looks exotic too. When I first saw it on our plate along side Kalau Pig and rice I avoided it. I was being cautious; the taste of the Kalau pig (shredded, perfectly seasoned and slow cooked pork) was tremendous and I didn’t want to ruin it if that was not the case with the Lau Lau. Once I’d had enough of the pig I went for it. My goodness! It was even better.
I went through the serving and still could not pinpoint what exactly I had eaten. The thing about Lau Lau is that once you break down the dish all the mystery dissipates and you just think, well, yea, no wonder it’s so good. Lau Lau is butterfish and pork wrapped in taro leaves and then steamed. It seems easy on paper but I wouldn’t dare try to replicate it. There is a balance of sweet and salty I could never achieve, and an addictive richness coming from the pork belly that I’d love a taste of right now. It’s 6:30am on a Tuesday.
We had our first rounds of Lau Lau and Kalua Pig at Waiahole Poi Factory in Kaneohe, and to be honest I have a feeling no one else does it quite as good. You will not find a tastier plate of food for $10.50. As cliche as it sounds, it really is a must do in Honolulu, if only for the culture of it all.
Now… who can get me in touch with Anthony’s people so I can score a TV show and have a reason to go back.
Waiahole Poi Factory
48-140 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744