Kau Kau Kitchen
by Leilehua Yuen

Traditional Hawaiian Food

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In This Section

Kanu and Canoe
Fruits and Roots
Game and Fowl
Seafood
Vegetables
Beverages

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Damon Tucker and Rocky Mountain Oysters












Beverages

While the most common inu (beverage) of ancient Hawaiʻi was wai (water), wai niu (coconut water), ʻawa (kawakawa), and ualaʻawaʻawa also were enjoyed.

Water was preferably collected from punawai (freshwater springs), though people would also put ʻumeke, old canoes, or other containers as cisterns in caves which had a steady drip.

People in arid shoreline areas would get water from punaluʻu, freshwwater springs bubbling up under the shoreline waters.

In legend, high ranking chiefly people drank dew which collected in the leaves of plants.

During drought, and at sea, Hawaiian people could survive by drinking brackish water.

Wai niu, enjoyed from ancient times, continues to be highly regarded, and now even can be found canned in markets. The wai from young coconuts is especially refreshing - not as oily and sweet as from older coconuts, and mildly effervescent.

ʻAwa, from the piper methysticum, is somewhat intoxicating. It was, and continues to be, used in religious ceremony and medicinally. Recreational use has increased since the end of the 20th century.

Ualaʻawʻawa, sweet potato beer, was also enjoyed in ancient times. Some people say it was introduced by New Englanders, but there is also an ancient and strong tradition of sweet potato beer in Hawaiʻi.

Recipes

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