Tag Archives: Kauai🌴

Poi-making session on Kauai’s north shore

Heavily inundated with recent torrential rains, the island of Kauai is now mucking through the mud in efforts to clean up the mess and get back to normal. Particularly hard hit was Hanalei in the northern part of the island. It was there about a year and a half ago that we spent one fine morning at Waipa Foundation for ‘Poi Day’. Never heard of poi? Try wiki. Under the supervision of staff members, we participated in the process of making poi from kalo (taro root).

It’s about time I shared these images. As of this date, the foundation’s website currently states that it is not able to receive visitors or new volunteers for Poi Day. Check the following link for more info: waipafoundation.org/community_poi

Poi day at Waipa

Cooked taro corms get a hands-on treatment to remove the tough outer skin. It seems like an easy enough thing to do, but handling the large, and often still hot tubers can be awkward.

Poi day at Waipa

We were showed a very straightforward method of peeling that our supervisor summed up as texting: grasp the taro with both hands and using your thumbs, rub off the skins as if you were texting a message!

Poi day at Waipa

The cleaned taro root is then cut in smaller sections to fit into a large food grinder.

Poi day at Waipa

We were literally up to our elbows in kalo. Buckets of it to clean, to cut up, and then back again. This was certainly no tourist activity, and I hope this post doesn’t come across as one. I’d say that the atmosphere was relaxed but everyone was focused on getting all of the kalo processed in time for lunch (free!) that comes afterwards.

Poi day at Waipa

Ground poi is then portioned, weighed, and readied for distribution.

Dried akule and poi dinner

After a long day (and a long drive since we were staying on the opposite end of the island), we were able to get a taste of all that effort from the complimentary bag of poi that was given us. Supper at the beach: dried akule, salad with fishcake, and poi!

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Kauai skies, nene, and a neon green gecko

Sunset in Kekaha
Kekaha shoreline in November

Currently in the chestnut forest. The 35°F cold is absolutely nothing compared to what some U.S. states, no, make that regions, are feeling, but today’s overcast skies are enough to bring on a little bit of wish I was back in Hawaii right now. Well okay, the near 90° heat plus humidity was rough on the days without tradewinds, but watching the sun slowly sink into the ocean with the island of Niihau on the horizon is nothing less than magical. And the golden hour at sunrise holds its own special kind of beauty.

Sunrise in Waipa
Aloha kakahiaka from Waipa, Hanalei

In between the golden hours, the warmth of the sun entice Gold Dust Day Geckos out from their hiding spot. Slighter bigger than the common house geckos, and way cuter than the brown and green anole lizards that look like they’re always giving you the stink eye, the neon green geckos are actually an invasive species to the islands. No one seems to mind though if they decide to become permanent squatters on the property.

Gold dust day gecko

Speaking of squatters, this pair of nene geese act as police radar along the road to Kilauea Lighthouse. They’ve come a long way since being put on the endangered species list, and maybe for that reason is why drivers are cautious where these birds are known to habitate.

Nene geese at Kilauea

The Kauai Bus stops at the neighborhood center in Kilauea, so we walked the 2-mile round trip to the lighthouse entry gate (the lighthouse was closed on Monday).

Nene at Hanalei taro fields
Nene at taro fields in Hanalei

Nene at Kilauea lighthouse
Nene at Kilauea Lighthouse parking

Back in the chestnut forest, it’s still 35°F outdoors with the possible chance of snow this week. If the skies clear at all it’ll be more sunsets like this. Hurry up Christmas!

Somewhere in the world morning begins

50 shades of poke

Ishihara market poke

An essential, if not fundamental part of Hawaii’s local cuisine, poke (pronounced poh-keh), or seasoned raw fish salad, was all we thought about 24/7 on Kauai. Oh yes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, it didn’t matter what time of day, we got our fill of seafood and then some if you factor in the sushi and sashimi that we picked up at every opportunity.

Ishihara market pokeIshihara market poke

Now I know this post will sound like I’m playing favorites but the best poke on the westside of Kauai is at Ishihara Market in Waimea. Both raw and cooked, made with ahi tuna, octopus, sea snails, crab, shrimp, mussels, hamachi and baby octopus. And not only poke, but they’re also a one stop shop for ready-to-go, prepackaged meals, fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, a great assortment of single beers and 6-packs, snacks, freshly brewed coffee, and at the time of our visit, a great assortment of Talenti gelato.

Lomi tako and hokkigai poke breakfast w/inarizushi & coffee

Thanksgiving Day: breakfast on the last day. Lomi tako, hokkigai poke, cone sushi, coffee.

Poke lunch w/kalua cabbage, 2-scoops rice, mac salad

Lunch plate: kalua cabbage, 2 scoops rice, mac salad and ahi poke, $15.

Poke dinner pupus

Dinner pupus: ahi, tako, and wasabi poke. Repeat the following day.

Poke Gorilla Bowl

Last but not least, there’s also the option of poke bowls (poke over rice). Just gotta love this Gorilla Poke Bowl ($16) from Makai Sushi in Kukui’ula Market, Koloa. It has ahi, ono, salmon, avocado, cucumber, sweet Maui onion on rice with wasabi aioli, unagi sauce and tobiko.