Over the last several weeks, we’ve been going over a lot of deserts: Haupia, Chocolate Haupia Pie, and Banana Guava Pie. All of these desserts are delicious, and certainly worth making to accompany dinners, serve as a perfect potluck contribution, or be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.

We won’t be talking about desserts today, but we will be talking about one of my absolute favorite Hawaiian dishes: Lau Lau.





Lau Lau is a made by combining chicken, pork, and fish, and wrapping these meats in taro leaves before cooking them. It makes for a fabulous main course. It’s tasty, filling, and unique enough to impress just about anyone you play host to. Additionally, one of the best things about Lau Lau is that it goes great along side practically anything. It works well with rice, potatoes, macaroni salad, egg salad, garden salad, and more! It’s also very, very easy to prepare. All you need is meat, leaves, and salt in the following proportions.

30 luau leaves (taro leaves)
6 large ti leaves
6 boneless chicken thighs
1 lb belly pork boneless pork chops, cut into six pieces
¼ lb salted butterfish, cut into six pieces (You can use other types of fish if you like.)
1½ teaspoons sea salt

You’ll also need either toothpicks or rubber bands to seal the leaves. I prefer rubber bands.




1. Wash all luau and ti leaves, removing any stems or fibrous parts.

2. Layer 5 luau leaves on top of each other in an X formation.

3. Place one piece of pork, chicken, and fish in the center of the X.

4. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt.

5. Wrap to form a bundle.

6. Place the bundle on the end of a ti leaf and wrap tightly. Fasten using rubber bands or toothpicks. Repeat steps until all bundles are made.

7. After making the six bundles, place them in a steamer, put the steamer on simmer, and steam for 6 hours.



Making the Lau Lau this way tends to yield the best results. It ensures that the meat will be cooked, tender, and that it will retain its flavor. Some people, however, don’t have a steamer or 6 hours in a day to devote to making dinner. Luckily for these people, there’s an alternative method of preparation that still yields delicious results.

Alternative method:

For this method, you’ll need everything used in the previous recipe, minus the ti leaves. You’ll also need aluminum foil.

You’ll start by either steaming the luau leaves or placing them briefly in simmering water.  Once the leaves are softened, remove from either steam or simmering water and complete steps 2-5. At this point, instead of wrapping the bundles in ti leaves, wrap them in aluminum foil. Place the foil-wrapped bundles on a tray and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.






It’s important that you only cook the leaves long enough to soften them. You will still want them to be bright green.



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Whichever method you end up using, the end result should look something like this once you open it up:






You can find the original recipe here: https://www.polynesia.com/hawaiian-lau-lau.html

Let me know how your Lau Lau turns out and any tips or tricks to share. Enjoy!

Kalbi ribs with kalbi glaze from Pounders restaurant. Click to view menu. Hukilau Marketplace.



Author Bio

I’m Peter. I grew up in Seattle, but have been living in Hawaii and Japan for the last 4 years.

I love traveling; I love learning about different cultures; I love food, and I love my wife.

We’re hoping to go to Korea next year, and graduate school the year after that.

My life’s the best kind of dream, the one you don’t have to wake up from.