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A true taste of Hawaii

A La Carte

May 26, 2019

Story By: Caroline Wright |

Sweet Lady of Waiahole single scoop ($4.50)

The beautiful motto of Waiahole Poi Factory, “Hanai ike ai hanai ike aloha,” roughly translates as, “To nourish with food, to nourish with love.”

A visit to this humble place is an unforgettable experience. Located at the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Waiahole Valley Road, it’s a restaurant whose breathtaking view seasons every bite of its authentic homemade Hawaiian cuisine.

Kanaka Nui Plate ($18)

Poi is pounded by hand here every day, rain or shine, using traditional tools and techniques, and it’s available by the pound, or as a side with plate lunches. “The most popular is our classic Laulau Kalua Pig Combo Plate ($12),” says owner Liko Hoe. “All our full plates come with lomi salmon and haupia, and your choice of rice or poi.”

For a broader sampling of Hawaiian food, try the Kanaka Nui Plate ($18). “It includes a bit of everything: laulau, kalua pig, chicken long rice, lomi salmon, haupia, and rice or poi, and a choice of either beef or squid luau,” says Hoe.

Ho’io Salad ($3)

Add some greens to your plate with Ho‘io Salad ($3). Made with fern shoots harvested daily on the restaurant’s own farm, they’re blanched gently and dressed with tangy vinegar shoyu. “They have a nice crunchiness, almost like asparagus,” says Hoe.

And don’t miss the Sweet Lady of Waiahole ($4.50 for scoop; $6 for two scoops), made with warm kulolo and haupia ice cream. “Kulolo is almost like mochi,” explains Hoe. “It has a caramelized, well-cooked sugar flavor. That’s one a lot of people will travel for!”

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