Introducing Hawaiian cuisine to my kids and getting them to “try” it was a task in itself two years ago. Today, my kids will ask to eat Lau Lau and Kalua Pig at least once a week, because according to Jaf “it just tastes so good”! Lau Lau, a traditional Hawaiian dish, is made with taro leaves, salted butterfish, and either pork, beef, or chicken and is usually steamed on a stove or in an “imu“. Kalua Pig is made by slowly roasting a pig in an imu (underground pit, which is an underground oven). Traditional kalua pig is seasoned only with salt, allowing the flavors of the pig and the vegetation it is buried with to mingle, creating a very rich, smoky flavor which many local kids from Hawaii find very enjoyable. LouLou ordered a Lau Lau plate for dinner and Jaf wanted Kalua Pig.
Both plates come with Lomi Salmon (fresh tomato and salmon salad), Poi (made from the fermented root of the taro, which has been baked and pounded into a paste-like consistency), pipikaula (Hawaiian beef jerky) and haupia, a dessert.
At first, getting them to eat the lau lau was a challenge since they both decided they don’t like their “pork” wrapped in spinach (it’s not spinach, it’s taro leaves BTW). My daughter loves to dissect her food, first trying to figure out what’s inside before eating it – I love watching her identify what she’s about to consume with great curiosity. Both of them love poi so getting them to eat that was a piece of cake. Mr. Jaf says “I love poi because you can eat it with a fork, spoon, chopstick or finger”. It’s an acquired taste, but young kids – especially toddlers love it (add sugar to make it even more tasty).
I didn’t even have to ask them to finish their plates, it was all gone before we knew it. Here are the restaurants that we frequently dine at on the island, all of which are kid-friendly. Helena’s Hawaiian Food 1240 N School St Honolulu, HI 96817 (808) 845-8044 **Kid Friendly, Accepts Credit Cards, Casual Attire, Good for Groups, No Outdoor Seating Highway Inn – Waipahu 94-226 Leoku St Waipahu, HI 96797 (808) 677-4345 **Kid Friendly, Good for Groups, Accepts Credit Cards, Casual Attire, No Outdoor Seating Highway Inn – Kakaako 680 Ala Moana Blvd, Ste 105 Honolulu, HI 96813 (808) 954-4955 **Kid Friendly, Good for Groups, Accepts Credit Cards, Casual Attire, No Outdoor Seating Ono Hawaiian Foods 726 Kapahulu Ave Honolulu, HI 96816 (808) 737-2275 **Kid Friendly, No Credit Cards, Casual Attire, No Outdoor Seating
*Hawaiian food can be a bit salty, so make sure there’s lots of water for your “keiki” to drink.