Ah, laulau. This delectable dish has been a staple of Hawaii's cuisine for centuries, and is one of the most beloved dishes amongst locals and visitors alike. Preparing laulau is both an art and a science - and it's something that I find myself drawn to every time I step into the kitchen.


The main ingredients in laulau are pork, taro leaves, and butterfish - although other ingredients like salted fish, onions, and tomatoes can be added depending on your taste preference. The pork and fish are first combined and wrapped in the taro leaves, creating a savory filling that is then cooked in an underground oven known as an imu. The result is a succulent and tender morsel that melts in your mouth.

The key to achieving a perfect laulau is all in the wrapping. Every layer of the taro leaf must be carefully laid over the filling, ensuring that none of it escapes as it cooks. As an experienced chef, I find this process immensely satisfying; the seemingly-endless combinations of flavors and textures when you bite into the finished product make all the hard work worth it.

The smoky aroma of laulau wafting through the kitchen is one of my favorite things. It's like a reminder that I'm part of a tradition that's been around for centuries, and I take great pride in being able to whip up a delicious dinner for my family and friends.

After my laulau has cooked, I always let it cool down before serving. This gives me a chance to take one last look at my masterpiece - the colors of the greens and oranges of the filling and taro leaves, and the unmistakable flavor of the butterfish and pork combining to make something truly special.

Laulau is a timeless classic of Hawaii cuisine, and I'm so grateful to be able to enjoy it as part of my own culinary journey.

Laulau recipes

Amazing Laulau recipes sourced from the web.

The origin of Laulau

Laulau, a staple in the Hawaiian cuisine, is a dish that has been around for centuries. The origins of this traditional dish are rooted in an ancient Polynesian and Hawaiian culture, woven from many influences.

Ancient Polynesians were known for their excellent navigational skills, which allowed them to extend their culinary reach across vast distances of ocean and land. Over time, the Polynesians brought many traditions and dishes with them on their long voyages, one of which was a form of laulau. In its original form, it was made from pork and taro leaves, wrapped in ti leaves and steamed, but evolved over time to include fish and other ingredients.

It is believed that Hawaiian royalty became particularly enamored with laulau, due to its luxurious presentation, and as such, laulau began to take on a more intricate and elaborate form. The addition of salted butterfish, salmon, and green onions added more flavor and complexity to the dish. A specific cooking technique also emerged, which involved wrapping the ingredients with luamuanu leaves, banana leaves, or ti leaves and steaming them in an underground oven called an imu. This technique not only cooked the laulau quickly, but also aided in preserving the flavors of the various ingredients used.

While the exact origin of the dish is unknown, it has become a staple of Hawaiian cuisine. It is often served at parties, gatherings and special occasions as an honored guest, usually accompanied by poi and other local delicacies like poke and kalua pig. Nowadays, laulau has become an international sensation, with variations popping up everywhere from North America to Europe. No matter where it's served, laulau is always sure to be a crowd pleaser.

FAQs about Laulau

Is laulau healthy?

Laulau is a Hawaiian dish made with pork, fish, or chicken and taro leaves that are wrapped in ti leaves and cooked in an underground oven. While laulau can be nutritious and a good source of protein and minerals, it can also be high in fat and calories depending on the type of meat used. Therefore, it is important to consider the amount and type of meat used in order to make laulau a healthier option.

What does lau lau mean in Hawaiian?

Lau lau is an Hawaiian dish made from pork, seafood, and vegetables wrapped inside taro leaves and steamed. It literally means “leaves wrapped” in Hawaiian.

What is a Lau?

A Lau is a traditional drum and hand-held gong made of wood, brass, and/or other materials that is used in the traditional music of many cultures across the world. It is often used to accompany singing, dancing, and storytelling.

Where did laulau originate?

Laulau is a traditional dish of the Hawaiian islands that originates from Polynesia. It consists of meat wrapped in taro leaves and steamed or baked.

Types of Laulau

Ah, laulau. A beloved Polynesian dish with a long and rich history, renowned for its ability to transport its diners to the beautiful tropical climates of the Pacific Islands. It is a versatile recipe, capable of delighting palates with its heady combination of flavors and unique approach to cooking.

A Laulau feast might consist of a variety of different dishes. Depending on the particular recipe, ingredients can include meat, vegetables, fish, or even fruit. The dish itself is prepared by wrapping meat and vegetables in leaves, usually taro or luau leaves, before steaming or baking in an oven for several hours.

The resulting delicacy is surprisingly fragrant, possessing a distinct aroma emanating from the exotic leaves used in the cooking process. Its taste is similarly unparalleled, often described as having depth and complexity with notes of sweetness, saltiness, and a hint of smokiness.

The most common type of laulau is the Hawaii-style or kalua-style laulau, which consists of pork, taro leaves, and butterfish wrapped in ti leaves. This popular version of the dish has remained a staple of many Polynesian diets for centuries.

For those seeking something less traditional, there are several other types of laulau to explore. For instance, floral laulau includes the addition of a variety of flowers, such as Gardenia, Puakenikeni, and Pikake. The flowers bring a unique flavor and delicate fragrance to the dish. Similarly, savory laulau incorporates ingredients such as mushrooms, fish, and various spices.

Laulau is also a favorite amongst vegetarians and vegans, thanks to the fact that it can easily be made using only plant-based ingredients. Baked laulau is a popular vegetarian alternative, which contains no animal products whatsoever.

Whichever type of laulau you decide to try, rest assured you will be rewarded with an exquisite culinary experience unlike any other. So, if you are looking for a way to add an exotic twist to your meal, or simply wish to indulge in an appetizing traditional dish, look no further – the diverse array of laulau dishes are sure to delight.