The Haraguchi family has been an agricultural institution on Kauai’s north shore for over 100 years, starting with rice, and later focusing on taro. During my visit to Hanalei, fifth-generation farmer Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama led a tour of her family’s labor-intensive taro fields and the historic Haraguchi Rice Mill before delivering us to Hanalei Taro & Juice Co., a roadside stand that serves plate lunches plus taro-driven specialties like smoothies and kulolo. Still, it was the Lau Lau that I’ll remember most from lunch.
They wrap either chicken thigh or pork with taro leaves and steam the meat in ti leaves. The resulting greens are nutrient rich and supple and keep the meat nice and moist. Spear fork tender chunks of fat-rimmed pork, and to enliven proceedings even more, grab a squeeze bottle of bright orange chile water, spiked with moderately spicy but still plenty-flavorful Hawaiian peppers. The plate also comes with two scoops of steamed white rice, a container of lomi lomi salmon, and a square of glutinous taro mochi cake, crafted from pounded mochi and flecked with earthy farm grown taro. This tour is rich with Hawaiian history and comes with a porcine punctuation mark.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.