Eat Poi Properly: With Your Fingers!
Taste It, Make It

Taste It, Make It
Poi is a Hawaiian food staple made from the taro root that is often referred to as the "heartbeat of Hawai'i." You can't say you have experienced Hawaiian culture without trying poi and eating it the real Hawaiian way--with your fingers. In this activity you will attend Kona Village Luau to taste poi the proper way, and then tour Waipi'o Valley and see how taro is cultivated and pounded into poi.


Make sure to arrive at the Kona Village Luau by 6:30pm to see the kalua pig lifted from the imu. As you are entertained by the Polynesian revue, try traditional foods such as poi. Poi has sacred meaning for Hawaiians: when it is present on the table no one is allowed to speak in anger.

The correct way to eat poi is to dip two fingers (the index and middle finger) held tightly together into the bowl, stir twice, and then lift to the mouth. Even Captain Cook wrote of the poi-eating experience. You may feel odd at first, like a toddler playing with your food, but you'll soon realize that you're simply eating poi the proper way. Kids think it's great fun!

The next day drive to Waipi'o valley lookout to observe the lush taro fields. Taros are starchy roots that have very little taste and that will remind you of potato. Taro is the main ingredient in poi. Check community schedules for poi pounding demonstrations.

You'll be amazed at the number of varied products and menu items available with taro as an ingredient. Often these items will have a purple tint. Keep a list of all different taro products you encounter on your vacation. The one with the longest list wins!


Eating poi like a Hawaiian is a great way to engage in island culture and learn about Hawaii’s proud history and traditions. After eating poi and realizing how important it is to the traditional Hawaiian diet, you can see why taro cultivation is so vital to Hawaiian life. Taro is not easy to come by outside of the Pacific islands, but if you feel adventurous when you get home, see if you can locate some at a specialty or ethnic food store, and try pounding your own poi for a Hawaiian inspired feast or luau.

Supplies & Materials

-pen or pencil
-hearty appetite

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My Trip

est. visit time: 0.0 hrs

Best Audience

Age: Children (4-8yrs), Pre-teen (9-12yrs), Teen, Adult
Duration: 30-45 minutes
Cognitive Level: 1-3 Grade, 4-6 Grade, 7-8 Grade, 9-12 Grade
Activity Level: Low
Attention Span: Low
When to do it: During Your Trip, On Location

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