For Hawaiians, taro is more than an edible plant. It's an ancestor to all Hawaiian people.
According to legend, the taro plant is the elder brother of mankind. Watered by the tears of goddess of Ho'ohokukalani, the plant nourished the people, and, in turn, the people cared for the taro. It only make sense that taro, or kalo in Hawaiian, is an essential ingredient in the islands' cuisine.
The plant's leaves, called lu'au, are the key ingredient in laulau, a traditional dish that features chunks of meat (usually pork) wrapped in the leaves and steamed. Done right, the result blends fatty, salty, and rich meaty flavors together in simple but perfect balance. And for those who love Hawaiian food, well-prepared laulau is the most satisfying kind of soul food, the type of dish that can connect a diner not only to a personal memory, but also to a deep cultural history.